Rich Thompson

Manny happy returns

Manny happy returns

When the Orioles promoted Manny Machado last August to play third base, they felt the 20-year-old's impact immediately. His defense solidified one of the club's weaknesses, and the stability he provided at the position was instrumental in the Orioles' first playoff appearance since 1997.

But this year, in Machado's first full season in the major leagues, the 2010 first-round pick has taken his game to another level, his name spoken in the same breath as past baseball wunderkinds Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Mickey Mantle. He already is mentioned along with some of the greatest homegrown Orioles — Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson.

And today,...