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Machado homers on season's first pitch
Orioles top prospect also singles, steals a base in EL debut
04/05/2012 10:53 PM ET
Manny Machado played in 14 Grapefruit League games with the Orioles.
Manny Machado played in 14 Grapefruit League games with the Orioles. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)
Manny Machado wasted no time making an impression at the Double-A level.

The Orioles' No. 1 prospect sent the first pitch he saw as a member of the Bowie Baysox over the left-center field fence in Thursday night's season-opening 4-2 win over the Harrisburg Senators.

"It was just a good swing," Machado said of his one-out homer in the second inning. "I was taking advantage because I saw that [Robert Gilliam] was throwing a first-pitch fastball to everybody, so I just went up there and I knew he was going to throw me a fastball. I am 19 years old so, I know he's going to attack me. ... A lot of guys are going to come challenge me up here, so I just try to take advantage of it."

The Miami native also led off the fourth with a single and stole a base, finishing 2-for-4 in his Eastern League debut.

"Thank God, I went out there and had a good first start," Machado said. "That's a really good confidence-booster. I am just trying to go out there and just keep on doing what I am doing and just keep having fun."

Machado also got off to a quick start last season, batting .333 with five homers, a pair of triples, 21 RBIs and three steals in his first 24 games for Class A Delmarva. He was slowed by hip and knee injuries, finishing with a .257 average, 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 101 games that included a stint with Class A Advanced Frederick.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound shortstop was invited to Major League Spring Training as MLB.com's No. 6 overall prospect and went 4-for-21 with an RBI. In a Prospect Q&A with MiLB.com last month, he called the experience an educational one.

"Being around the big leagues at camp, around these guys, seeing how they work, it's totally different than how it is down there [in Minor League camp]," Machado said. "It's great to be up here and being around these guys and seeing how they get ready for a long season."

Another hot start this spring could lead to another promotion for the third overall pick in the 2010 Draft, who's already playing at his fifth level as a pro.

"There's no expectations for me," Machado said in March. "I'm trying to stay healthy and play a full season -- 142 games before 162. If I get the callup this year or two or three years or next year, we never know. It's in their hands -- the farm director and the Orioles -- and it's up to them. Whenever they think I'm ready, then that's when I'll get the call."

Orioles' No. 3 prospect Jonathan Schoop went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored in his own Double-A debut. Baysox starter Timothy Bascom, Baltimore's 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, struck out four and allowed three hits over six shutout innings.

Jeff Kobernus, the Nationals' No. 13 prospect, was 2-for-4 for Harrisburg.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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