Following another successful day of running the bases Thursday in Sarasota, Fla., Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will take another step toward returning to the team.
Machado is expected to begin sliding drills Friday, his final hurdle before he is able to play in extended spring training games, according to a club source.
This would be the first time Machado has tried sliding since offseason surgery to repair a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee. He was shut down during spring training because of a calf strain just before starting sliding drills.
If all goes well, Machado will begin playing extended spring training games Saturday. That will be the first time he has played in a game since the surgery; he has accumulated at-bats in simulated games in Sarasota.
He would play three to five extended spring games in Sarasota before the club sends him to a rehab assignment with a minor league affiliate. He will then have a 20-day window to get ready.
Orioles Manager Buck Showalter usually isn’t shy about mentioning the challenges of his team’s schedule.
But he said Wednesday that — despite a quick turnaround during the team’s four-game series in Boston as part of the annual Patriots’ Day festivities — it is an honor for the club to be part of a special day.
The Orioles and Boston Red Sox will play Monday at 11:05 a.m., the traditional start time on the day of the Boston Marathon, after playing a 7:05 game the night before.
It undoubtedly will be an emotional day in the city because it will mark the first Boston Marathon since two bombs exploded near the finish line last year, killing three and wounding 264.
“I think this year, especially with what that day means to our country, to Boston and to everybody . . . it’s an honor to be there,” Showalter said. “For what that day represents to Boston and all our country, we all consider it an honor to be lucky enough to have the schedule fall that way. I think we are all looking forward to paying the respect due.”
Sunday’s game was moved ahead one hour to account for the early start.
— Baltimore Sun