Machado postpones re-evaluation of knee
O's third baseman has not yet been able to run; not cleared to play in games
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Third baseman Manny Machado will not make the re-evaluation appointment for his surgically repaired left knee that was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, as he's been unable to run for the past few days, further questioning whether the 21-year-old will be ready to start the season.
"There's no sense in doing that [appointment] until he can really show them what he can do running," manager Buck Showalter said of Machado's final evaluation, which would give him the green light to play spring games. "So, that's got to get cleared up first, where he's back running again. And then [surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache] can completely clear [Machado] again.
Showalter said that Machado had mentioned that ElAttrache has a vacation home in Naples, Fla., and the club is attempting to set up a meeting in Florida rather than ElAttrache's office in California.
"Anything to avoid having to go to the West Coast," said Showalter. "But if that's what we have to do, then that's what we have to do.
Machado has been dealing with some scar tissue in his left knee, which has caused expected soreness. But with no timetable on when he will resume running, it's becoming increasingly less likely that Machado will be ready to suit up for Opening Day on March 31.
"I wouldn't say, 'Very, very difficult,'" Showalter said of Machado's chances to break camp. "Nolan Reimold is going to have 22 at-bats in two days [in Minor League camp]. In four days we can get Manny more plate appearances than guys over here are going to break camp with.
"So, certainly it looks like [Machado won't be ready]. [But] I'm not there yet. I'm not going to throw that wet blanket over that yet. I know Manny's not."
Showalter said there's no firm date by which Machado must be cleared to remain an option for Opening Day, and the skipper is taking the situation day by day at this point.
"I look at the medical boards, and at some point, I'll say to [head athletic trainer] Richie [Bancells], 'Is this a pipedream or not?'," Showalter said.
Showalter stressed that structurally, Machado's knee is fine, which is obviously the most important thing after a surgery like this. The club has said all along that they won't rush Machado, who won the Platinum Gold Glove for being the American League's best defender in his first full season. The goal is that once he's back, Machado will be an everyday player for the rest of the season.
"The way I understand it, [the current issue is] scar tissue that flared up and got a little sore, and we decided not to push it," Showalter said. "Which is what we talked about all along -- we are not going to push it to the point where it ends up being something [worse]. We want to resolve this.
"The trainers have talked to the doctors, you expect that [soreness]. [On] the surgery side, the knee and everything feels great. That's been the most encouraging part."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.