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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Orioles expect Manny Machado to play on Opening Day

By on 12/05/2013 05:00:00 PM

It was a grueling injury that took Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado out of the lineup just before the end of the 2013 season with Baltimore still alive in the postseason race. Machado suffered a tear in the patellofermoral ligament in his left knee while running out a ground ball against the Rays on September 23. He had surgery on October 14 to repair the damage.

Initial reports stated that he would need four to six weeks for recovery and that he would come to Spring Training on time in February ready for a full load. Those reports soon after had Machado taking approximately six months to return to the field, which would have had him start training in mid-April.

Earlier this week,'s Orioles beat writer Brittany Ghiroli reported on Machado's progress. Ghiroli said that Machado is "progressing favorably" in his rehabilitation efforts and that the timetable has now shrunk to five months. She also said that Orioles manager Buck Showalter expects to have Machado in his Opening Day lineup on Monday, March 31.

That five-month timetable would have Machado begin Spring Training soon after the rest of the team does but still give him time to condition and play in enough exhibition games to allow him to start at third base on Opening Day. Showalter discussed with about the five-month timetable for his 2013 Gold-Glove-winning third baseman. Said Showalter,
"We put a real safe date on it. I think he's got a real chance to make the start of the season. [He] needs to play in [spring] games by March 15 to make the season. Everything is going well. I know Dan [Duquette] was at the Gold Glove [ceremony]. He said he couldn't even tell [Machado] was limping. But so far, so good."
Machado led the American League in at bats and doubles in 2013. He hit .283/.314/.482 wth 14 HR and 71 RBI and made the A.L. All-Star team. Most impressively, he carried a WAR of 6.5 in his first full season in the Majors. Until his injury, he had not missed a single game since making his Major League debut in August of 2012.

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