Machado exits with knee injury (updated)

ST. PETERSBURG–  The struggling Orioles are expected to be without Manny Machado the remainder of the season as the third baseman exited Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Rays with a left knee injury that resulted in him being carted off the field.

“Manny’s pretty down, as you can imagine,” manager Buck Showalter said of the 21-year-old Machado, who had an X-Ray taken immediately at Tropicana Field and will have more tests, including an MRI, done in Baltimore Tuesday. “Somehow, they couldn’t get the [X-Ray] film developed here after they took the pictures. Doctors weigh in on something they shouldn’t be, quite frankly. I’ve heard some early prognosis, but I think they should wait until they get all the tests back. Everybody needs to be quick to paint something negatively.

“But Manny will play for the Baltimore Orioles again at a very high level and I’m real proud of him. Unfortunately, things happen when you’re playing a game at breakneck speed like these guys try to again today.”

Machado hit a one-out, seventh-inning single to second base and his left leg hit the first-base bag awkwardly and he immediately fell down to the ground writhing in pain. The Orioles’ trainers came out after first-base coach Wayne Kirby signaled and the 21-year-old Machado stayed on the ground, screaming in pain. The Rays’ team physician also came out to look over Machado, who was loaded onto a stretcher and wheeled off to a standing ovation from the crowd.

“I just hurt for him,” said Brian Roberts, who served at designated hitter and was able to come in in-between innings and give Machado a hug. “You don’t want to see it happen to anybody but when you see what kind of special player he is and special kid he is. But the great part is, he is 21 years old. You’ve got to find a bright spot in it as best  you can. You hate to hear people say – certainly the injured person hates to hear people say – he’ll come back and he’ll be fine and this and that. But they’re not the ones going through rehab and not the ones dealing with it.”

Roberts was part of an Oriole dugout, along with the Rays, that stood anxiously leaning against the railing in silence. One of the game’s most promising young players, Machado was named to the American League All-Star team in his first full season and has started all 156 of Baltimore’s games, giving the club Gold Glove-caliber defense and hitting an American League-leading 51 doubles. He owns a .283/.314/.432 line.

“That’s horrible. Baltimore has really ascended over the last couple years and he’s really been a cornerstone of that whole thing,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who speculated that Machado had possibly blown out his knee.  “I hate to see that. He’s a young man, tremendous talent. I don’t know him that well, but I think he’s got a great joy for the game also. So you hate to see that happen.”

While Showalter wasn’t willing to publicly end Machado’s season on Monday night, with six games remaining the Orioles –who suffered their fifth consecutive defeat—have their postseason hopes waning and the O’s skipper acknowledged getting their third baseman back “doesn’t look very promising.”

“I was first hoping that he had turned his ankle. Unfortunately, I had a pretty good angle of it,” Showalter said of the injury, which preceded Alexi Casilla’s head-on collision in the outfield.

“Certainly it hurts. It hurts, regardless of what it means for our team and our ability to win a game. That’s kind of secondary. That’s a guy who’s been with us, in the big leagues, for over a year and a half, it seems like. A season and a half. And Casi’s as good a teammate as you’ll ever have. Manny obviously has been a solid person for us as well as obviously having a great year. He’s having as good a year as you could possibly as for, especially for a young player.”

Machado, who was replaced by Casilla and then Danny Valencia, leaves the Orioles a sizable hole at third base and Showalter said he would discuss things with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette before determining if the club needs to add another infielder before Tuesday’s game.

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