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Manny Machado postpones knee re-evaluation, status for opening day in jeopardy

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

For most of the winter, Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado was ahead of schedule in his recovery from October surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee. However, a flare up of scar tissue this week has presented some soreness and prevented him from running for five days, putting his status for opening day in question.

According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Machado was tentatively scheduled to have his knee re-evaluated on Tuesday with an eye towards getting clearance to play in spring games. However, manager Buck Showalter says that appointment will now be postponed until Machado is able to resume running and give doctors something to truly evaluate.

“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 he can completely clear him again. I heard from Manny [operating surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache has] got a vacation home in Naples, so we are trying to hook that up. Anything to avoid having to go to the west coast, but if that’s what we have to do that that’s what we have to do.”

Machado was injured on Sept. 23 when he stepped awkwardly on first base during a game at Tropicana Field. After gathering several opinions, Machado finally surgery about three weeks later. The typical recovery time is four-to-six months, which gave Machado the motivation to be ready for the start of spring training. He was certainly on the right track coming into this week, and he's still likely to get clearance well ahead of the six months, but it's looking more and more likely he'll have to miss a portion of April while getting into baseball shape.

At this point, this is considered a minor setback. And it may not be the worst thing in the world since it's clear Machado was pushing hard — perhaps too hard — to get on the field before opening day.

A little extra rest and some more relaxed time in camp with the goal strictly being knocking off the rust aren't the worst things in the world. But a guarantee he'll be as close to 100 percent as possible when he returns is definitely a good thing. That's what we're all rooting for, and if that means he's ready to return by opening day, we'll be pleasantly surprised just like Showalter and the Orioles.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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