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Manny Machado set to return to Orioles lineup after knee surgery

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Manny Machado, 21, is ready to be activated by the Baltimore Orioles following knee surgery. (AP)

The Baltimore Orioles are planning to activate Manny Machado from the disabled list Tuesday and, weather permitting, he could see his first action of 2014 after an ugly knee injury ended his stellar 2013 season.

Machado, 21, was having a breakout year for the Orioles in 2013, leading MLB in doubles, when he wrecked his knee, awkwardly stepping on first base trying after beating out a grounder. He'd been hitting .283/.314/.432 with 71 RBIs and playing great defense at third, getting an All-Star Game nod and becoming a fan favorite in just his first full season.

After a successfully surgery and a little bit of a setback in rehab — he had hoped to be back by opening day — Machado is just about ready for his season debut. Now he just needs Mother Nature to cooperate.

Rain is in the forecast for the most of the day in Baltimore, but if the Orioles can play their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night, then Machado will be activated. He just finished up a rehab assignment with the Orioles' Single-A club. The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina fills in the details:

Machado played three games with the Keys, going 8-for-12. He was supposed to play one more game Monday, but it was postponed because of rain.

The Orioles have a 20-day minor league rehab window before the need to activate Machado, but he has already compiled nearly 50 at-bats, including the 30-plus plate appearances he accumulated in simulated and extended spring games in Sarasota.

And during his brief time in Frederick, the concentration was on testing his knee in real-game situations -- such as cutting on plays at third, running the bases and sliding -- as opposed to judging his performance in competition.

Baltimore is 12-12 going into Tuesday's action, good enough for second place in the AL East, two and a half games behind the New York Yankees. The Orioles just lost slugger Chris Davis to the 15-day DL, so getting Machado back should be a welcome boost.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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