Orioles third baseman Manny Machado announced Saturday that he dropped the appeal of his four-game suspension for charging the mound after being hit by a 99-mph fastball in the back by Kansas city Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura on June 7. The appeal hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.
Machado will begin serving his suspension Sunday, missing the series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. He will also sit out the Orioles' makeup game in Texas on Monday and their two-game home interleague series against San Diego Padres on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On the same day Machado dropped his appeal, Ventura's nine-game suspension was negotiated down by one game without an appeal hearing. At any point during the appeal process, players have the opportunity to withdraw their appeal or attempt to negotiate a more lenient punishment.
But Machado didn't like his chances for getting his suspension reduced. The sense was that the league office believed the sentence was already less severe than other similar penalties for charging the mound and fighting.
"I don't think they were trying to [negotiate with me]," Machado said. "I think MLB felt it was fair what they gave me and I don't think they were going to get it down, which is, I mean, it's their opinion against mine and I think we had a good case."
Machado was still frustrated that he will miss four games while Ventura -- who brushed Machado back twice in his previous at-bat on June 7 and has a history of instigating -- will miss just one start.
"I think they were pretty strong on the four games," Machado said. "Which I think is not right that he's going to be missing one start and I'm going to be missing four games. I think I'm more valuable as a player to my teammates than he is as a starter and he's just gonna miss one for the incident he did? I mean, this whole problem started with him, so why do I get four and he gets one? That's all up to MLB to figure out and why they did that situation.
"All I can say is I wish whoever is making those opinions could step in the batter's box and try to get hit by a 99-mph fastball – a couple times thrown at them. But, like I said, whatever happened, happened. It's in the past now and we're just going to go out there and just get back to playing some baseball and hopefully the team comes up with a couple big wins. We've got this process. It's done and over. I'll sit down for the four games and be ready to help this team get to the playoffs."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, speaking after the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday, was perturbed that Ventura's suspension was reduced.
"They've always been searching for a way to, figure out a way to make it equal for a pitcher and a position player, obviously," Showalter said. "This is all based on precedent and not what -- we being biased -- would consider fair. … I'll let you guys critique that. I'm trying to have enough money to finish up the garden.
"We would have tried to get every game less without him. That was not going to happen. … I think a lot of people feel like they gave him some leeway there by starting at four, from where some other ones have been."
By beginning his suspension Sunday, Machado will miss just one game against an American League East opponent -- Sunday's series finale against Toronto -- and will be able to play in both games of the Orioles' split doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 25.
While Machado serves his suspension, the Orioles will be down to 24 players on the active roster, which is why the team kept both utility infielders -- Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish -- through a flurry of roster moves before Saturday's game.
The Orioles optioned Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk after Friday's loss and then optioned left-hander T.J. McFarland to Norfolk before Saturday's game. Those moves made 25-man roster space to activate starting shortstop J.J. Hardy and right-hander Yovani Gallardo from the disabled list.
Machado beginning his suspension also coincides with the return of Hardy, who on Saturday made his first start since May 1. Machado had played shortstop in Hardy's absence.
The beginning of Machado's suspension also means that his consecutive-games streak of 229 games -- the longest active streak in baseball --- will end Sunday.
"Just the situation, how it ended," Machado said about his streak ending. "I'm getting penalized for something that someone else does. You are going to have to put it past us. I'll start a new streak Friday."
Machado was the only major leaguer to play in all 162 games last season. Asked what his streak meant to him, Machado said chasing history in terms of playing every day is fleeting, because in his eyes, no one will break Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.'s record streak of 2,632 games.
"Honestly, nobody is ever going to break Cal Ripken's record, so that's [not] in the back of my mind," Machado said. "That's nowhere in my mind. He's the Iron Man, he'll always be the Iron Man. I don't think anybody ever will ever break that record. But it was cool that Buck gave me the opportunity to go out there every day and perform at an elite level and go out there every day and play. It was something special that I did last year playing 162. I mean, I wore it after the season, I was a little drained. But it was fun. It was a heck of a ride. I'm just going to have to start a new one Friday."
Around the horn
The Orioles are 32-7 in games in which second baseman Jonathan Schoop homers in his career. ... Designated hitter Pedro Alvarez is hitting .316 (12-for-38) over 12 games in June after entering the month hitting just .194. ... Right-hander Mychal Givens had allowed four runs over his two outings before pitching two scoreless innings Saturday, logging his 11th scoreless multi-inning appearance of the season.