When spring training begins in Sarasota, Fla., the Orioles will have a handful of injury questions. The most pressing is Manny Machado.
Machado underwent left knee surgery on Oct. 14, and a four-six month recovery was predicted. A four or five month recovery would better, of course, but a six-month one would force the Orioles to start the season with someone else at third base.
He hurt the knee in Tampa Bay on Sept. 21, and the worst was feared. A day later, the Orioles felt he could avoid surgery, but after some other opinions, Machado decided to go ahead with the procedure.
There have been lots of positive reports on Machado’s progress and one photo with Alex Rodriguez at a recent Jay-Z concert.
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The Orioles will be conservative with Machado, and even if his recovery is deemed complete at the start of spring training, he probably won’t play in early spring games.
Their first game is on Feb. 28 at Tampa Bay, and Machado could miss the first two weeks of games and still have enough at-bats to be ready for the Mar. 31 opener.
Wei-Yin Chen also had knee surgery after the season. At the time, he was expected to be ready for spring training.
Dylan Bundy has begun light throwing. He had Tommy John surgery last June, and most likely won’t be ready to pitch until midseason.
The only position player the Orioles are concerned about is Nolan Reimold, who has had two neck surgeries in the last two years. They’re optimistic on his recovery, and he was re-signed last month.
Nick Markakis has reported an event-free winter. A healthy Markakis would be a welcome change. Last year, his offseason training was hampered by three surgeries in 2012, and his 2013 spring was interrupted by a neck injury.