Machado takes BP, ground balls (updated)

Manny Machado reported to camp on Sunday and took batting practice, which you can watch here: http://Instagram.com/p/kfABENBQBK/

Machado spent some time shagging balls in the outfield after that and took ground balls at third base along with shortstop J.J. Hardy. Machado, recovering from offseason knee surgery, has been cleared to run –but not cutting and doing corners– as well as to hit and field. He shifted from side to side and got on one knee at one point during the field session with third base coach Bobby Dickerson, which took place on the team’s turf field.

“We are following the doctors protocol,” manager Buck Showalter said of Machado’s rehab plan. “He is supposed to take ground balls straight on, hit, he can run straight on but we are not going side-to-side, we are not turning bases…most of this I’m going to rely on Manny. Because we are real close to the point where structurally he’s fine. He’s got one more sign-off I think by the doctors.”

That will come around mid-March and will go a long way in determining if Machado is ready to play in spring games. If that’s the case, he would be eligible to be ready for Opening Day. Any later than that would put that in question.

Typically, players always want to push the agenda. But Showalter didn’t seem worried about that too much with Machado.

“I don’t think Manny will do that,” he said. “I think he’s got the right amount of caution here, I do.”

“I think at some point whenever it is we are going to get, ok turn it loose. and his body will tell him and he will tell us…”

“My big thing, I do not want a setback,” Showalter said. “Shame on us. Or shame on Manny. It’s one of those things where he may say, ‘I’m ready to go.’ And [it’s] fine you got another two days. That’s what I don’t want to happen.”

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