Machado out six months

Manny Machado will miss Spring Training and almost certainly be delayed to start the 2014 regular season as the Orioles third baseman’s recovery timetable following Monday’s knee surgery is approximately six months.

Machado’s procedure to repair the torn medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) in his left knee went as expected according to performing surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles.  The 75 minute surgery included an arthroscopy and open reconstruction of the MPFL and a hamstring tendon was used to graft a replacement for the ruptured ligament.

Machado suffered the gruesome-looking knee injury and was carted off the field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sept 23, but the injury wasn’t as bad as originally expected with test results revealing no MCL or ACL damage. The injury to the MPFL is common in younger athletes and was considered good news given how bad the initial injury looked.

The 21-year-old Machado opted to undergo surgery after consulting with numerous doctors with his MRI results and any absence will be a big blow for Baltimore. Named to the All-Star team in his first full season, Machado played Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base and had an AL-leading 51 doubles in 2013.

The O’s primarily used Ryan Flaherty in his absence in the final week of the season, with Danny Valencia and top position player prospect Jonathan Schoop other potential options currently on the team’s 40-man roster. Given that Machado  –who started every game from his debut in 2012 until the injury– is projected right now to still play a bulk of the regular season, it’s unlikely the Orioles go out and get a full-time third baseman elsewhere, although they certainly could shop the market for a utility-type player who could give manager Buck Showalter another option.

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