The Baltimore Orioles didn’t ease him in, per se.
Manny Machado was thrust into the major leagues Thursday.
The 20-year-old rookie made his big-league debut at third base — his natural position is short — while batting ninth against the Kansas City Royals.
His first major league hit was a fifth-inning triple to right-center field. He added a seventh-inning infield hit to finish 2-for-4 in the Orioles’ 8-2 loss to the Royals.
Defensively, Machado handled third base well. He’s done a good deal of work at third base with Class AA Bowie, despite appearing in just two games at the position in the minors.
The Orioles’ decision to promote Machado is telling.
First, it indicates how poor the club’s third basemen have played this season. Second, Machado’s promotion is indicative of the trust the organization has in the top prospect who has been compared to Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez since he was drafted third overall in 2010.
Finally, it shows the Orioles are willing to throw caution aside in order to win now.
The reliance on youth may not stop there. Righty Dylan Bundy, considered by most to be the best prospect in baseball, was promoted to Class AA Bowie as Machado departed for Baltimore. It’s possible Bundy could join the Orioles as a late boost at some point in September.