Machado getting back to normal

All-Star third baseman played his first game since knee surgery last year

Machado getting back to normal

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manny Machado has been saying since he arrived at camp this spring that he just wanted to get back to playing baseball.

On Wednesday, he finally got that chance.

Machado, who is coming off his second consecutive season-ending knee surgery, started his first game of any kind since August 11, 2014, in the O's home spring opener.

The All-Star third baseman committed an error in his first play back, sailing a throw wide of first base to start the second inning. But Machado made up for it with a nice backhanded play later in the game, making the grab in foul territory and throwing a bullet to first base to retire Hernan Perez.

"Manny needs to play in some games," manager Buck Showalter said. "You think about all the work he's done since he was able to go back on the field after the surgery. [Which is] the last time he really got to play a lot. [We want to] try to get as many reps for him as we can because physically it's not a challenge for him. He's in good shape."

Machado went 0-for-3 at the plate and played seven innings in the field. He was replaced by Jimmy Paredes for the top of the eighth.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.