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Jesse Yomtov


USA TODAY

Published 8:12 AM EST Nov 21, 2018

After a tumultuous postseason, Manny Machado is doing his best to answer lingering questions that hang over his free agency.

Machado was criticized during the National League Championship Series for not running out a ground ball, which he later explained by saying, “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line and slide to first base.”

With Machado on the open market for the first time in his career, critics have used the comment against him. In an interview with MLB.com published Wednesday, the 26-year-old clarified what he was trying to say at the time.

“When I was asked that question, I was definitely on the defensive, and I was wrong to answer it the way that I did, because looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant it,” Machado said.

“For me, I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye wash. There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.”

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The original “Johnny Hustle” line raised eyebrows, but it was taken a bit out of context. Machado admitted at the time that he should have run the ground ball out and that it looked “terrible.”

Machado can see how his comments were misinterpreted and plans to explain himself during meetings with potential suitors. 

“I know how I said it and how that came across, and it’s something I take responsibility for. I look forward to talking with each GM and owner that we meet with about that, or any other questions they have.”

It’s an issue that’s already come up, with Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner stating that Machado’s comments were “troubling” but the club would let him explain himself.

“If we’re interested in any player, to sit down with them face to face and ask him, ‘Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point? How do you justify it?'” Steinbrenner said.

“Because that ain’t going to sell where we play baseball.”

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