Noting that Machado won't get enough work in during the Grapefruit League season, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Sunday via MLB.com that he will start the season on the 15-day disabled list. Machado hasn't had any setbacks from his knee surgery Oct. 14; he just hasn't had enough time to get ready.
"I think that the thought of him starting the season on the active list is probably not realistic," Showalter said. "I don't think that's a big revelation to anybody, but it will probably be portrayed as such.
"We knew. He knew. He knows the level that he has to be at to perform in the big leagues, and we want to get it right the first time. He knows how much all of our guys mean to our club, so when we get him, we want to get him right. ... This isn't a failure by any stretch. I still think you're going to get him some time in April."
Machado will be eligible to come off the disabled list on April 6, but it seems likely that the third baseman is still several weeks away from returning.
Though it's disappointing to Machado, the team and fans, it's also obviously the right course of action. The fact that Machado was even considering being ready opening day, about 5 1/2 months after surgery, should be looked at as a plus. That means the surgery went well, the rehab has been going well and Machado probably will be good as new once he's playing again. The prudent thing is to avoid rushing him, to steer clear of any setbacks and to have him ready playing at the highest level. He is progressing toward that.
Ryan Flaherty appears to be the choice to start at third on opening day, though second base also is an option if the team doesn't take Jonathan Schoop north. Baltimore's trade for Steve Lombardozzi will help the team's depth at second base and third.
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