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Manny Machado's DL news bittersweet for Jonathan Schoop

SARASOTA, Fla. – The news that Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will begin the season on the disabled list was bittersweet for top position player prospect Jonathan Schoop.

It opens the door for the 22-year-old Schoop to not only make the Orioles' Opening Day roster, but possibly be the starting second baseman when the club opens the season a week from today.

With Machado on the disabled list, Ryan Flaherty – who spent most of the spring competing for the starting second base job – will likely shift over to third base. That leaves Schoop and Jemile Weeks competing for the second base job.

Schoop and Machado are good friends and came up through the Orioles’ minor league system together.

"I can not talk for Manny, but for me, it's tough, and I think for him, too,” Schoop said. “Because I think you want to be there, but you cannot be there. It's an issue. It's kind of tough because you want to play baseball. All you want to do is go out there and play baseball, have fun with it. But sometimes, that's life, you've got to be ready, you've got to get stronger and take your time. And when you come back, make sure you come back and it's never going to happen again."

Machado, who had offseason surgery on his left knee in October, targeted an Opening Day return, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced Sunday that Machado will open the season on the DL.

Schoop knows the pain of being stunted by injuries. He’s struggled to remain healthy at times over the course of his minor league career. Last year, Schoop missed two months with a stress fracture in his lower back.

"I remember the first week was tough because right away the doctor told me I had to take two to three months off, it hurt because you want to go out there but you can't,” Schoop said. “Then the veteran guys come in and talk to you and say make sure when you come back, don't come back too early. Come back ready. Don't lie to yourself that you're ready when you're not ready. If you're going to come back, come back 100 percent. The first week was tough because you stood back and you did nothing. But you've got to pass through it, work hard and rehab and try to get better and stronger, too."

Schoop is batting .400 this spring (24-for-35) with two homers and seven RBIs. He hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 7-7, 10-inning tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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