Machado to make extended spring debut on Saturday

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado  will play in his first extended spring game on Saturday as the infielder takes a big step forward in his recovery from October’s left knee surgery.

Machado, who suffered a setback when he cut the bases in Spring Training, ran them for the second consecutive day on Friday and also slid successfully. It’s an encouraging sign in a long rehab for the 21-year-old infielder with the back-to-back phase of running a crucial step to him advancing to games. The plan is for Machado to play five innings at third base Saturday.

“He’s doing it right,” said manager Buck Showalter, who spoke with Machado earlier on Friday. “He’s obviously wanting to get there as soon as he can. It’s one of the things I told him today. [If] it takes five or six days down there before he’s ready to play [rehab] games, start that clock ticking, that’s fine. That’s why it’s important that he and we make that step to where that might be, a Minor League affiliate. I think he’s got between 17 and 20 plate appearances already.”

There are no extended games on Sunday but Showalter said the Orioles would create a game if necessary –joking he’d go down and pitch– with Machado playing in at least two or three games before heading out on a rehab assignment. Asked if Machado could go on rehab when the team goes to Toronto on Tuesday, Showalter said that may be pushing it although they will rely on Machado and how he feels.

“That’s hopeful,” Showalter said of mid next-week. “I’m just going to let it run its course. I’m not going to put any this day, that day exactly, and then there’s some unknown there. Just let him get through a few days at extended spring, and let’s see where we are.”

It’s likely Machado goes on rehab at some point next week and the 20-day rehab limit for position players is something the Os are hoping they don’t need to use. Machado has been doing baseball activities for months so there isn’t a mandated number of at-bats he needs before joining Baltimore.

“I think he’s been pretty frank with us, honest,” Showalter said. “I like when he seems to slow something down a little bit. It shows you some maturity. Having someone around him that knows what it’s like when it’s right because he’s not going to BS us. He’s not. He’s going to be real honest about this. He knows how important this is to his career.”

Machado will be watched by director of player development Brian Graham and minor league infield instructor Dave Anderson and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson will accompany him when he goes out on an assignment to one of the affiliates. 

Does where Machado play at his rehab games matter?

“To an extent,” Showalter said. “He’s not going to stay in [Class-A] Delmarva the whole time, I’ll tell you that. I don’t want to get into saying what level he’s going to be at…I know what Manny’s rehab there means to some of the affiliates. We’re going to do what’s best for him and the organization when the time comes. We just hope it comes after a few days in extended spring.”

Orioles at Red Sox Game 1 (lineups and Machado update)

Greetings from Fenway Park, where the Orioles will take on the Red Sox for a four-game wraparound series that ends with Monday’s Patriots Day game, which coincides with the one-year anniversary of the tragic Boston Marathon attacks.

*Manny Machado ran the bases again today and slid and will play in his first extended spring game, five innings at third base, on Saturday. There are no extended games on Sunday but manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles would create a game if necessary –joking he’d go down and pitch– with Machado playing in at least two or three games before heading out on a rehab assignment.

Asked if Machado could go on rehab when the team goes to Toronto on Tuesday, Showalter said that may be pushing it although they will rely on Machado and how he feels. It looks like it’s pretty likely to happen at some point next week and the 20-day rehab limit is something the Os are hoping they don’t need to use. Machado has been doing baseball activities for months and already has around 20 at-bats, according to Showalter. He will be watched by director of player development Brian Graham and minor league infield instructor Dave Anderson and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson will accompany Machado when he goes out on an assignment to one of the affiliates.

*Michael Almanzar played nine innings today in extended spring with no problems while Luis Ayala is slated to throw live batting practice on Saturday.

*Dylan Bundy had a 40-pitch side today, throwing just fastballs and change ups.

*Edgmer Escalona threw from 90 feet 25 times today. Francisco Peguero (wrist) took 25 dry swings and 25 off the tee as he continues to progress.

*Nolan Reimold, who was cleared for baseball activities yesterday, had 25 swings off the tee and played light toss.

*The pitching match-ups are as follows: Chris Tillman vs. John Lackey, Bud Noris vs. Felix Doubront, Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Jake Peavy and Wei-Yin Chen vs. Clay Buchholz.

*The Orioles starting rotation has pitched to a 1.71 ERA in the past five games, the best mark in the AL over that stretch.

*Baltimore is 33-25 over Boston since the start of the 2011 season. The 33 wins are the most by an AL East club over that stretch. Since the David Ortiz-Kevin Gregg brawl the Os are 15-9 at Fenway Park.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Delmon Young LF
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Jonathan Schoop 3B

Chris Tillman RHP

RED SOX LINEUP
Grady Sizemore LF
Daniel Nava Nava RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Mike Napoli DH
Mike Carp 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
A.J. Pierzynski C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt 3B

John Lackey RHP

Orioles vs. Rays Game 3

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Greetings from a very cold Camden Yards, where the grounds crew scraped ice off the field earlier this morning. The Orioles and Rays, after being postponed last night, are playing the series finale this afternoon with the series second game to be made up at a later date.

*Part of the reason the Orioles did not play a double header today is that both clubs are feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms. Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi was sent home on Monday and the Orioles sent both Evan Meek and Adam Jones home on Tuesday afternoon. Both Meek and Jones are back today –though clearly not 100 percent– and Jones was moved to designated hitter after originally being in at center field today.

*Bud Norris is also available in the bullpen as there’s a couple other guys who aren’t feeling well and manager Buck Showalter wants to make sure the team is covered. The rotation following Chris Tillman on Friday will be based off of whether Norris is used today or not.

The Orioles disinfected the whole locker room and shower area, including the pool sticks and ping pong paddles yesterday in hopes of ending this highly-contagious bug.

*Jackie Robinson Day is a day late for the Orioles and Rays, who will both wear No. 42 with yesterday’s rainout.

*Kevin Gausman lasted less than four innings in his start for Triple-A Norfolk last night and Showalter said he developed a blister on his pitching hand.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Nelson Cruz LF
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones DH
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
David Lough CF
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Miguel Gonzalez RHP

RAYS LINEUP
Ben Zobrist 2B
Wil Myers RF
Matt Joyce DH
Evan Longoria 3B
James Loney 1B
Desmond Jennings CF
David DeJesus LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Molina C
Jake Odorizzi RHP

Orioles, Rays PPD. Makeup date TBD

The Orioles and Rays game on Tuesday night was postponed due to inclement weather and the makeup date will be announced at a later time. Baltimore made the announcement to call the game shortly before 5:30 p.m. with heavy rain and cold temperatures sweeping the area all day and the two clubs will reschedule the contest later in the season.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter floated the idea of a straight doubleheader Wednesday but that did not come to fruition with the expectation that the club will officially announce a makeup date in the next day or so. One option is a mutual off day in June.

Tuesday’s postponement comes at a favorable time for both clubs with a bug going around in the Orioles clubhouse with hitting coach Jim Presley and Brian Matusz sick recently and Evan Meek and Adam Jones both sent home with flu-like symptoms on Tuesday afternoon. The Rays had also changed their scheduled starter from Jake Odorizzi, who was also sick and sent home Monday, to Brandon Gomes.

There was no immediate word on if Tuesday’s postponement would change either team’s rotation plans for Wednesday afternoon’s game. Miguel Gonzalez was slated to pitch Tuesday with Chris Tillman tabbed for Wednesday, but the Orioles could change things around now, particularly with Thursday’s looming off day.

Fans are encouraged to keep their tickets and parking information until the club announces the rescheduling plans.

The Jackie Robinson tribute jerseys, which the Orioles were scheduled to wear Tuesday, will now be worn at a later date.

Orioles vs. Rays Game 2 (Postponed_

The Orioles and Rays game has been officially postponed due to inclement weather.

*There’s was a bug going around in the Orioles clubhouse with hitting coach Jim Presley and Brian Matusz sick recently and Evan Meek and Adam Jones today. Jones and Meek were both sent home. The Rays had also changed their scheduled starter from Jake Odorizzi, who is also sick, to Brandon Gomes.

*Manny Machado came through his first day of sprints OK yesterday and worked up to three at 90 feet and three at 180 feet today.

*Dylan Bundy talked to manager Buck Showalter today and continues to progress well from Tommy John surgery. He is throwing his changeup and fastball with plans for him to throw the breaking ball, really the last step, in a bullpen later this week.

*Michael Almanzar (knee) played five innings in a simulated game today and is nearing a rehab assignment.

Machado sprints for the first time

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado ran six sprints at 90 feet on Monday at the team’s Spring Training complex, a big step of progress in his recovery from October’s left knee surgery.

Manager Buck Showalter said he exchanged texts with Machado and spoke with Minor League medical coordinator Dave Walker, who is in charge of his rehab down in Sarasota, Fla. and was encouraged with the report.

“He’s feeling good,” Showalter said of Machado, who also took four at-bats in a sim game. “I think they are going to 180 feet tomorrow, starting to run the bases a little bit more.”

The only thing Machado, who took at-bats off Johan Santana over the weekend, has yet to do is cut the bases and that’s something that caused a “little setback” the last time he did it. Machado will do that on Tuesday or “shortly thereafter” according to Showalter and the plan is to get him ready to play in two or three extended spring games before starting his clock on a rehab assignment.

“You want to make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself,” said Showalter, referring to the 20 days on rehab assignment given the position players. “I know where our minimum is with Spring Training, where our target is with at-bats and plate appearances. He’s been doing this, it’s a little different, he’s been doing this since end of January. So, it’s not your normal X number of plate appearances. I’ve got an idea. It’ll be interesting to see where he is a week from today.”

Machado, if needed, could have that rehab extended but it would have to be approved by the players union in the event that he had another setback. Obviously, that’s not a scenario the Orioles want to see come into play for the 21-year-old, who the club hasn’t put a formal timeline on but could be an option in early May.

“He did all the activities, infield batting practice, took some extra work, Dave said,” Showalter said of Machado’s Monday workout. “Then went and did the sprints.”

An All-Star in his first full season, Machado’s original timeline from surgery was six months, a mark he hit on Monday. The infielder had some issues with scar tissue flare up when he was cutting the bases in Spring Training and was shut down from running, mandated to just pool running, for a while before he was eased back in.

In Machado’s absence, Ryan Flaherty has primarily been the third baseman although J.J. Hardy’s recent back spasms moved Flaherty over and rookie Jonathan Schoop played some third as well.

“Brian Graham and Dave Anderson are going to head down there when [Machado] actually starts playing games in extended spring” Showalter said. “They’ve seen him right, wrong and they know what it takes to play at this level. So, I’ll leave that in their hands.”

Orioles vs. Rays Game 1

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles will take on the Tampa Bay Rays for the first of a three-game set that wraps up their current home stand.

*Manny Machado, cleared to run yesterday, ran six sprints at 90 feet today and will progress to 180 feet with the goal being to get him ready for extended spring games. He’d play in two or three of those before going out on a rehab assignment which can last up to 20 days. If Machado needs more time he would have to have a setback and take a few days off before starting another rehab assignment, but obviously the Orioles hope it doesn’t come to that.

The only thing left for Machado to do is cut the bases which was where he had problems before. He will continue to do sprints and do the bases sometime in the near future.

*Dylan Bundy threw 35 pitches in a bullpen today, mixing in some change ups and fastballs, and he will throw breaking balls soon.

*Nolan Reimold (neck) is still not doing baseball activities and not listed on the daily medical sheet Showalter gets.

RAYS LINEUP
Ben Zobrist 2B
Desmond Jennings CF
Logan Forsythe DH
Evan Longoria 3B
Wil Myers RF
James Loney 1B
Brandon Guyer LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Ryan Hanigan C

Chris Archer RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
Nelson Cruz DH
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
David Lough LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Orioles vs. Blue Jays Game 1 (updated)

Greetings from Camden Yards, where J.J. Hardy is again out of the starting lineup. David Lough is also not playing in left field, with Nelson Cruz getting the start.

*Hardy got an MRI on his back yesterday, which came back OK, and also an injection to help the area calm down. He said this afternoon he had already taken ground balls and felt a lot better, with the expectation being he will be used as needed off the bench.

Lough, who has been dealing with concussion symptoms that I wrote about on Wednesday, is also available off off the bench.

*Manny Machado will get some at-bats in extended spring on Saturday in a simulated game. It’s a new step for Machado, who will get two ABs off Johan Santana, although he is still not cleared to run. Machado can do everything but at this point. Santana was slated to throw live BP on Saturday, so this would be part of that.

*Dylan Bundy threw 35 pitches today in a bullpen session, still all fastballs, as he continues to progress.

*Zach Britton got back his velocity and is flourishing in his new role in the bullpen. You can read more on Britton here.

*Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Delmon Young DH
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Nelson Cruz LF
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Jonathan Schoop 3B

Chris Tillman RHP

BLUE JAYS LINEUP
Melky Cabrera LF
Maicer Izturis 2B
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Adam Lind 1B
Dioner Navarro C
Colby Rasmus CF
Brett Lawrie 3B
Ryan Goins SS

Dustin McGowan RHP

More on the David Lough situation

Outfielder David Lough left the team Tuesday to see two doctors in Baltimore Wednesday morning, returning in time for the team’s game against the Yankees after passing some concussion tests.

“It’s been a lingering thing, just kind of playing through it but they could tell I wasn’t right out there,” said Lough, who dealt with concussion-like symptoms in Spring Training. “I didn’t feel right so I spoke up and said something. And they said I needed to go run some tests and everything is fine now.”

Lough missed a week of camp in what was first called neck stiffness and he was put through a battery of tests before he was cleared to return to the field. He said following Wednesday’s 5-4 win, a game in which he entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, that he was feeling better and was told by the doctors this was something that would clear up on its own.

“It’s better now,” Lough said. “I think we all got it all taken care of, squared away. Back to normal.”

Lough was a possibility for the disabled list on Tuesday, which is why the Orioles had Jemile Weeks come up from Triple-A Norfolk in the event they had an extra roster spot. Weeks was sent out before Wednesday’s game started.

“We thought because he had similar symptoms that it might be something, because we had the same tests done in Sarasota, [Fla.],” said manager Buck Showalter prior to Wednesday’s game. “We wanted to let our guy see it and have him weigh in on it, and he concurred with what was in Sarasota.”

Showalter wasn’t aware of any specific trigger this time and wasn’t confident that things were completely resolved as far as Lough’s symptoms go.
“We’re not sure about that, but we’re sure a concussion’s not causing it,” he said. “A concussion has not caused it.”

Orioles @ Yankees Game 3 (updated with Lough)

Greetings from the Bronx, where the Orioles and Yankees will square off in the rubber match, with Masahiro Tanaka making his home opener.

*Jemile Weeks was here, and he will now be sent back to rejoin Triple-A Norfolk as outfielder David Lough is on his way back to New York following some concussion tests. Lough, who went through a battery of tests this spring, still wasn’t feeling right and was the only position player to not get into yesterday’s game. Weeks was here in case the O’s put Lough on the DL.

*Shortstop J.J. Hardy was as encouraged today as he has been and said he will come in on the team’s off day and workout with the goal being to start Friday.

*Bud Norris will be in the bullpen today with the team’s rotation for Toronto undecided. If Norris isn’t used, he will pitch in Toronto with Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez also slated to pitch, but the O’s are not sure of the days.

*Orioles center fielder Adam Jones made national news for his comments yesterday regarding the pair of fans who ran onto the field. Jones said he wished he could kick them with his metal spikes on and was incredibly vocal about baseball needing to crack down. You can read Jones’ follow-up comments on that here.

*Dylan Bundy threw 35 fastballs today in Sarasota, Fla. and Johan Santana will throw batting practice on Saturday.

*The Orioles have signed left-handed Anthony Vasquez, who will report to the team’s Double-A Bowie club after some time in extended spring. Vasquez last pitched in the Majors in 2011, appearing in seven games for the Mariners.

*Orioles.com is on Facebook and you can follow along by liking the page here.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Delmon Young DH
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Nelson Cruz LF
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Jonathan Schoop 3B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury DH
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann CA
Alfonso Soriano LF
Kelly Johnson 1B
Brian Roberts 2B
Yangervis Solarte 3B

Masahiro Tanaka RHP

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