Manny Machado apologizes for not running out ground ball

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Orioles shortstop Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Mariners. Machado didn’t run hard to first and was booed by Orioles fans at Camden Yards on his way back to the dugout, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported.

Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t happy with Machado, saying, “He’s better than that,” per Kubatko. Showalter added, “It’s a really bad presentation and he knows that.”

Machado has apologized for not running out the ground ball, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Machado said, “At the end of the day, there’s no excuse for not running it out. I take full responsibility for not running. I should have run hard. It looks bad. It looks bad for people who follow me, people who look up to me, and I fully apologize for letting people down, but next time, I’ll run. There’s no excuse for that.”

MLB.com doesn’t have a clip of the double play, but I went back and watched it through MLB.tv. James Paxton threw a 3-1, 98 MPH fastball beat right into the ground, up the middle. Second baseman Dee Gordon was positioned perfectly. The ball was in his glove and Machado was barely out of the batter’s box. That was more a function of how hard Machado hit the ground ball — 103.5 MPH, per Statcast — than his lack of effort. That’s a dead-to-rights double play ball. Even if Machado ran hard, it’s only not a double play if shortstop Jean Segura makes an errant throw, which, yes, can happen.

The Orioles are also completely out of contention with a 23-55 record. They won’t play a meaningful game until late September if they’re acting as potential spoilers for a playoff-hungry team. Machado, meanwhile, is a free agent after the season and could be headed to a contender by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. What if Machado pulls a hamstring busting his butt up the line in an attempt to prevent a double play in a meaningless game for a team 29.5 games out of first place? How many millions of dollars might he lose? The Orioles should wonder how his trade value might be affected in such a case. A player will get injured running the bases more often than his extra effort will turn an out into a hit or two outs into one out.

If I’m Manny Machado, I’m not putting in any extra effort than is necessary while playing for the Orioles this season. And if I’m Orioles GM Dan Duquette, I’m right there with him, telling him not to go the extra mile. This is a pretty simple calculus, leading to the undeniable conclusion that it’s just not worth the extra effort. It rarely is.

As for the kids watching Machado who might copy his lack of effort, former NBA player Charles Barkley said it best: “I’m not a role model. I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.