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ANAHEIM – Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado issued an apology Monday to his own team and to the A’s for throwing his bat Sunday in a game against Oakland, which led to both benches clearing and his ejection.
Across the country, Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson had reporters crowded around him, looking for his reaction. It was tension between Donaldson and Machado on Friday at Camden Yards that led to the bad blood between the A’s and Orioles the rest of the series.
Donaldson was asked how the apology registered with him.
“It doesn’t … words are words,” Donaldson said before the A’s series opener against the Angels. “It takes a long time in this game to develop a strong reputation as a player. It takes a very short time to ruin it. The only way to get that back is to go out there and play and play the right way, and do things the right way. I’m not saying I haven’t messed up in my life and my career just as well. You learn from that. You learn from the experiences you have in the game and you move forward.”
Machado issued his apology to MASN Sports, the Orioles’ television network. According to the Baltimore Sun, he wasn’t made available to the rest of the media before Baltimore’s game Monday against the Boston Red Sox.
“I definitely had a nice rest at home and seeing the replay over and over again,” Machado said. “I definitely want to apologize. I want to apologize to all my teammates, my coaching staff, the entire Orioles organization and Oakland and to our fans for the way I acted and overreacted on that.”
Machado also apologized directly to A’s catcher Derek Norris in his interview. Twice on Sunday, Machado caught Norris in the head with his backswing. Many A’s were ticked that Machado did not as much as glance at Norris or inquire as to his well being while he was attended to at home plate. After Sunday’s game, Norris told reporters Machado’s behavior was “a disgrace to baseball.”
“I want to apologize to Derek,” Machado said. “That wasn’t intentional. I didn’t realize how hard I had hit him with the bat. I have a tough follow-through, a really long follow-through. At that point, with how the weekend was going, I didn’t think he would have cared about whether I had showed emotion for him.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin was glad to hear of Machado’s apology.
“Good for him,” Melvin said. “I would like us to put it behind us and focus on playing today. I know it’s a story and everybody wants comments from everybody about it. But we do have a big series starting today and we need to concentrate on that.”
Norris passed his concussion tests Sunday and said Monday that he’s feeling good. Melvin considers him available Monday night, though Stephen Vogt is starting behind the plate.
If Norris felt hostility toward Machado on Sunday, his tone seemed to soften Monday.
“It’s nice that he took the time to do something like that, but I didn’t need that. I thought just a simple baseball courtesy … when you catch a guy on the head a couple times, just to see if he’s doing all right is enough by me. But I thought he stepped up and showed maturity today.”
Machado thought Donaldson was overly aggressive with a tag on him Friday, which got the weekend drama started. Donaldson justified his actions by saying that the use of instant replay review necessitates players making sure they slap a tag on a player so a play won’t get overturned. As for Machado throwing his bat after the second of two inside pitches Sunday from A’s reliever Fernando Abad, Donaldson said:
“If he’s gonna play this game long enough … he’s gonna get thrown at. You take it like a man and go down to first base. If you have that big of a problem with it, you go out to the mound. That’s how I’ve been brought up in the game.”