Machado begins 4-game suspension

June 18th, 2016

BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado dropped his appeal of his four-game suspension for punching Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura, manager Buck Showalter announced after Saturday's 4-2 win over the Blue Jays, and he began serving his suspension Sunday.

Machado will be eligible to play again Friday against Tampa Bay. In the meantime, the 23-year-old will miss the series finale against Toronto, a makeup game at Texas and Baltimore's two-game series with San Diego.

On June 7, Machado charged the mound after Ventura drilled him in the back with a 99-mph fastball. The altercation led to the benches clearing, and the league suspended Machado four games for his role. While he won't have a chance to have his suspension reduced, since he dropped the appeal, he was able to control when he began serving the suspension.

"Me, Buck and Dan [Duquette], we all sat down together and came up with a situation to try to see what was best for the team, not to wait around and let this keep lingering," Machado said.

He also said he didn't get the sense that Major League Baseball was going to take any games off his suspension, even though Ventura's was reduced from nine games to eight.

"I think they were pretty strong on the four games, which I think is not right that he's going to be missing one start and I'm going to be missing four games," Machado said. "I think I'm more valuable as a player to my teammates than he is as a starter, and he's just gonna miss one for the incident he did? I mean, this whole problem started with him, so why do I get four and he gets one?"

The Orioles can't call up anyone to replace Machado during the four games, which means they will be playing with one fewer active man on their roster. Baltimore does benefit from having shortstop J.J. Hardy back from the disabled list, though, as Machado had moved from third to shortstop to fill in for him while he was out.

With Machado sidelined, utility man Ryan Flaherty will likely start at third base. Flaherty appeared in 37 games (28 starts) while Hardy was sidelined and is batting .219 this season. The Orioles also have Paul Janish, who has played 13 games at shortstop and third base this year.

"It's going to start somewhere, and it's going to be painful any way you do it," Showalter said. "It's almost like we lost a guy to the DL again, so somebody's going to have to step up. A good player doing good things, and we won't have him for four days because somebody hit him with a pitch."

Machado is in the midst of his best season yet, hitting .317 with 17 home runs, 27 doubles and 42 RBIs. His suspension will end his string of 229 straight games started, which was the longest active streak in the Majors by 99 games.

"Honestly, nobody is ever going to break Cal Ripken's record," Machado said. "He's the iron man, he'll always be the iron man. I don't think anybody ever will ever break that record. But it was cool that Buck gave me the opportunity to go out there every day and perform at an elite level."