Machado rips RBI double after agreeing to $350M deal
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Manny Machado continues to be a very rich man. He also is still a very good hitter.
Machado ripped an RBI double on Sunday, the same day he agreed to a new $350 million, 11-year contract that will keep him with the San Diego Padres through 2033, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Machado must pass a physical before the deal is finalized.
Machado got a big cheer from Padres fans on a chilly afternoon in Arizona before a spring training game against the Diamondbacks. The third baseman struck out in his first at-bat before lacing a line-drive double off the base of the left-field wall in San Diego’s nine-run second inning of an 18-6 victory.
Machado finished 2 for 3 at the plate, adding a single in the third.
The 30-year-old slugger had said that after this season he planned to opt out of the $300 million, 10-year free agent deal he signed in 2019. With the $120 million he already has received, the new deal increases the free-spending Padres’ commitment to Machado to $470 million over 15 years.
Machado finished second in the NL MVP race last year. He’ll anchor a superstar-laden lineup that includes Xander Bogaerts, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr., who can return on April 20 from an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Machado batted .298 with 32 home runs and 102 RBIs last season.
BACK IN BLACK (AND ORANGE)
Michael Conforto saw his first game action in more than a year and went 1 for 3 as the San Francisco Giants’ designated hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. He singled his final time up.
“Felt good to be back. I definitely had some nerves. After the first at-bat most of them went away,” he said.
Conforto, who turns 30 on Wednesday, hadn’t played since Oct. 3, 2021, when he was with the New York Mets. He missed all of 2022 after having right shoulder surgery but signed a two-year, $36 million contract with the Giants in the offseason.
He said the plan is to DH for a couple of weeks, then play some outfield.
“Really what matters is getting to opening day healthy,” Conforto said. “But today was good.”
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge received several ovations from the crowd at Steinbrenner Field before his first game in pinstripes as the new team captain.
“I felt it with the intro, I felt it on defense, I felt it stepping up to the plate,” the reigning AL MVP said.
Judge was a free agent after last season but ended up signing a $360 million, nine-year contract with the Yankees. He also was named the team’s first captain since Hall of Famer Derek Jeter in 2014.
“He loves the game, and obviously being back here, to be able to put the uni on and go out, I think it was something he was looking forward to,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara received his NL Cy Young Award trophy on Sunday for the second time – and this time he has no reason to give it back.
“I want to keep it for the rest of my life,” Alcantara said. “I think that is for my mom.”
When the Baseball Writers’ Association of America originally presented Alcantara with the trophy at its January awards dinner, the plaque language dubbed both Alcantara and AL winner Justin Verlander the “most valuble” pitchers in their leagues, leaving out the second “a” in “valuable.”
The new plaque contains the more up-to-date “most outstanding” phrasing — and it’s spelled correctly.
Marlins owner Bruce Sherman presented the award to Alcantara at home plate before Miami’s spring training home opener against St. Louis.
“I didn’t expect that I was going to get my award today,” Alcantara said. “I thought I’d go outside and have fun with my teammates. But when I saw the surprise, it made my day today.”
RULES, RULES, RULES
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said Major League Baseball is providing updates — nearly in real time — on the rules changes package that is making this spring training unique.
The two major changes are a pitch clock and a limit on extreme infield shifts.
“They did a really nice job of sending out a memo this morning with all the things that took place yesterday and questions that players and managers that just had to be addressed in order that you can cover it with your staff and club as you feel appropriate,” Marmol said. “So we did that with our staff and brought two different points with our players because they’ve done a really good job of communication.”
The new rules already had an effect during Saturday’s first full day of games: Cal Conley of the Atlanta Braves thought he had just won the game with a two-out, bases-loaded walk. But umpire John Libka ruled that Conley wasn’t set in the box as the pitch clock wound under eight seconds.
He was ruled out. The game ended in a tie.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Sunday that Conley’s situation was part of a learning process.
“It’s baseball. You’re going to see something you’ve never seen before,” Snitker said. “All to the point where I said I’m glad we’re starting these things when we did. I’m glad we didn’t wait until March 15 or something where we can have a whole month of this, and hopefully in a few weeks that this thing is just normal.”
There were more hiccups on Sunday throughout the Cactus and Grapefruit League games, but most took the changes in stride.
Rockies reliever Daniel Bard was called for a ball after throwing a warmup pitch after the 30-second deadline heading into an inning. The 30-second mark before innings was also a source of confusion during the Cardinals-Marlins game. Two Cardinals pitchers were called for balls before the start of innings before, according to Marmol, the umpires gathered and realized they were interpreting the rule incorrectly.
“It’s spring training for everybody,” Marmol said. “Those things will get ironed out before we get out of here.”
According to Major League Baseball, there were 69 pitch-timer violations through the first 35 spring training games over the weekend — including 35 violations in 16 games Sunday.
SCHERZER FINE WITH CLOCK
New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer described pitching under the new major league rules as a “cat-and-mouse” game.
Contrary to previous years, Scherzer feels the pitcher finally has gained control.
In his first start of the Grapefruit League schedule, Scherzer was touched for a run in the second inning but struck out five while working the first two innings of the Mets’ 6-3 win over Washington.
“Really, the power the pitcher has now — I can totally dictate pace,” the three-time Cy Young Award winner said. “The rule change of the hitter having only one timeout changes the complete dynamic of the hitter-and-pitcher dynamic. Yeah, I love it.”
Washington’s Michael Chavis, the second hitter in the second inning, stepped out of the box when he felt Scherzer was taking too long. That was fine with Scherzer.
He held the ball for more than 10 seconds before delivering the next pitch as Chavis had to remain in the batter’s box, no matter the level of his impatience. The fact that Chavis ultimately singled to right was immaterial. Scherzer had imposed his will.
“It’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Scherzer said. “There’s rules and I’ll operate within whatever the rules are.”
TWINS ADD SANTANA
The Minnesota Twins claimed right-handed pitcher Dennis Santana off waivers from the Atlanta Braves.
The 26-year-old threw in 63 games, including one start, for the Texas Rangers last season, going 3-8 with a 5.22 ERA. To make room for Santana on the 40-man roster, the Twins put infielder Royce Lewis on the 60-day injured list.
Lewis is recovering from right knee surgery.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum, AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson and freelancers Chuck King, Mark Didtler, Jack Thompson and Rick Hummel contributed to this report.
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