Orioles manager Buck Showalter took the high road when asked before Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the St. Louis Cardinals about New York Yankees star Aaron Judge's public recruitment of shortstop Manny Machado, and Major League Baseball's subsequent reprimand.
"I'm just glad they didn't catch Manny recruiting Judge," Showalter joked.
The Yankees' visit to Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday was occasion for the New York media to continue one of the longest-standing narratives in the game — that Machado's pending free agency will see him follow in the footsteps of his idol and mentor, Álex Rodríguez, and join up with the powerhouse in the Bronx.
Judge said Wednesday that he chatted with Machado on the field during batting practice.
"Before the game, I asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going," Judge told reporters, including NJ.com. "I asked him how he liked [moving from third base to] short. I told him, 'You'd look pretty good in pinstripes, too."
According to reports, Judge said Machado "just kind of laughed it off."
Later in the day, after Judge's comments gained steam, MLB released a statement to the New York Daily News: "We have been in contact with the Yankees. They communicated to us that Mr. Judge's off-the-cuff comments were not appropriate and not authorized by the club. They will speak to him to make sure that this does not happen again."
Judge told reporters Thursday morning that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman relayed that MLB is "sensitive to that kind of stuff."
The Orioles play once more this spring, and 19 times in the regular season.