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Manny Machado unsure how O’s fans will respond in Baltimore return

Manny Machado insists he’s “excited” to return to Baltimore for the first time since the Orioles traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, but the superstar slugger isn’t quite sure what kind of reception he’ll receive from the fans who cheered him on for six MLB seasons.

The San Diego Padres open a quick two-game series Tuesday night at Oriole Park, and Machado, who signed a $10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres this past offseason following a protracted free-agency odyssey, is looking forward to reconnecting with some old friends.

“I’m really excited to be back, I’m really excited to see a lot of familiar faces,” Machado said last week, via MLB.com. “I’m looking forward to seeing the home crowd that supported me for the last eight years. It’s going to be really fun to play in front of them again.”

The sentiments expressed by Machado are to be expected, and he echoed the same thoughts when discussing his return to Baltimore with The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli.

“I loved the fans,” Machado said. “It was unbelievable playing in front of those guys every single night and day. They were always there cheering us on. Whether we were sucking or balling out, it didn’t matter; they supported us through everything.”

How he’ll be welcomed by the fans who once cheered him on over the next two games, however, is another story. Machado, who has evolved into something of an MLB villain since the trade last season, is apprehensive about how he’ll be greeted in his old stomping grounds.

“I had the whole first half of my career there,” Machado said. “I feel like I grew up there. I’m just excited to be back, [to] play in front of that crowd again. Those fans always supported me throughout the first part of my career. I’m just excited to be back and be in the city of Baltimore.”