Orioles third baseman Manny Machado returned to camp on Saturday having received full clearance on his surgically repaired left knee, but his return is still being slowed by a slight leg strain that has prevented him from returning to base-running drills.
“I got taken off restrictive on my knee, so that's good news,” Machado said Saturday morning. “We're just going to, at this point, take it day by day, how we've been doing. Obviously, haven't ran in a while, so I'll progressively continue doing that, get back to top speed, and after that, try to get into games. But just keep taking it day by day. Feel better and progressively get my speed back up."
“Everything looks fine. Knee looks great,” Machado added. “Nothing but good things. At this point I'll just get back out there running and getting back to top speed. And once I get there, I'll go ahead and continue doing whatever I've got to do."
Asked if he believed he could be ready for Opening Day, Machado was uncertain.
“I can’t answer that,” he said. “I have no idea. I’m just worried about the great news I got, which was I could get out there. That’s the only thing I could control. It’s a matter of how many at-bats I could get, when I can start playing. Today, I can’t go out there and play a game.
“I’m not ready. I’ve got to get my speed back up. Ride the wave, that’s how I think about it, ride the wave. The whole year has been up and down with the rehab, and then just different phases for everything, just like different waves coming into the ocean. Just ride on it, take it, see where it takes me, get back out there, which is the great news. I can get back out there and put on a uniform as soon as I can.”
Machado said he did not run for Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the surgeon who performed the surgery, during the appointment on Thursday in Los Angeles.
“Just checkup, checking the MRI,” Machado said. “[Head trainer] Richie [Bancells] sent over some running videos, so he looked over that. Overall, a regular checkup."
With the knee cleared, now the focus turns to getting his running up to 100 percent so he can return in games. He still hopes to play in a spring game.
“However long it takes me to run 100 percent,” Machado said. “I’m not going to go out there and jog to first base and run a 5.6, 5.9. I’m going to go out there and try to run a 3.9. So however long it takes me to get my top speed back to where I need to be, that’s where it is. It could be a day. It could be two days. It could be a month away. We don’t know how that is. The only good news is that my knee is fine and now I have to take care of the little strain I have, but that’s about it.”