PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Even though Orioles third baseman Manny Machado’s left knee has been cleared of all restrictions following offseason surgery, a calf strain in the same leg is keeping the team’s 21-year-old all-star out of games.
The strain has prevented Machado from doing the necessary base-running drills to strengthen his leg, but Baltimore should know over the next few days whether an opening day return is realistic.
Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that he expected Machado to resume base-running drills within the next two days, maybe as early as Sunday. Machado hasn’t performed base-running drills in nearly two weeks.
“He’s told me that the [last] two days really did the calf well,” Showalter said. “I would bet he’d probably test that [Sunday]. He said the two days did it some good. He said he didn’t feel it at all. But until he runs on it, [you don’t know].”
Machado returned to camp Saturday after gaining full clearance on his knee following an appointment with Neal ElAttrache, the surgeon who repaired the torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his knee in October.
Machado was happy to get the news that his knee is healthy, but couldn’t say whether he believes he will be ready for opening day.
“I can’t answer that,” Machado said. “I have no idea. I’m just worried about the great news I got, which was I could get out there. That’s the only thing I could control. It’s a matter of how many at-bats I could get, when I can start playing. Today, I can’t go out there and play a game.”
Despite arriving at spring training a week late, which also pushed back his first spring start, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez became the second Orioles starting pitcher to record six full innings in a Grapefruit League outing, allowing two runs on five hits in a 3-3 10-inning tie with the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park.
“I felt really good,” said Jimenez, who threw 71 pitches (44 strikes). “The most important thing was, I was able to get into the sixth inning, got my pitch count up. I felt good. I threw a lot of strikes. Everything was good.” . . .
Left-hander Johan Santana, who is rehabbing from his second shoulder surgery in three years, threw off a half mound for the first time. He will have a work day early in the week and throw off a half mound one more time before moving to a full-mound bullpen session. . . .
Delmon Young had two hits on Saturday, including his first spring homer, and is 6 for 12 with two doubles and a homer over his past four games after starting the spring 4 for 24.
— Baltimore Sun