Manny Machado, Alex Rodriguez have a Miami connection

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado takes part Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado takes part in practice in Baltimore. (Oct. 6, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado, the 20-year-old from Miami who has burst on the scene as the Orioles' third baseman, idolizes another third baseman from Miami.

Alex Rodriguez.

"He was my favorite player growing up and I've always looked up to him since I've been playing baseball," Machado said Saturday night. "To be across the diamond and watching him play and we're going against each other . . . I'm looking forward to that and looking forward to playing against him in the playoffs."

Rodriguez said he has known Machado for a couple of years and exchanges text messages with him. "It's funny," Rodriguez said. "I came up idolizing Cal Ripken and now he's over there in the same position that Cal was at. There's some irony there. Manny's a great kid, he's a Miami kid. I wish him the best. Just not too much this series."

Machado, the third pick in the 2010 draft, hit .262 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 51 games for the Orioles. A shortstop in the minor leagues, he changed positions to help the Orioles after getting called up on Aug. 9.

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"He's just a great kid," Rodriguez said. "He's really got a great approach. He's got a very, very bright future and he's got a great attitude. What he's been able to do at 20 years old just makes me very proud of him."

Asked how they met, A-Rod said: "Miami. Miami's a small community and he came up liking baseball and reached out to me. Any time young players reach out, I'm always available to try and help as much as I can. We've been texting back and forth. He's been looking for some tips here and there. Try to help him out as much as possible."

Rodriguez does have some wisdom to dispense, given that he broke into the majors as an 18-year-old in 1994, two years after Machado was born. The tips must be working: Machado has wowed the Orioles with his baseball smarts as well as his considerable skills, including a rifle arm.

Said first baseman Mark Reynolds, "He's playing like he's a 20-year veteran."

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