TORONTO – Manny Machado will begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday at High-A Frederick, and the Orioles are looking at a possible return to the major leagues for the third baseman when the club plays a three-game series on the road against the Minnesota Twins next weekend.
Machado, who is making the final step in his recovery from offseason surgery on his left knee with the rehab assignment, still has several hurdles to cross. His progress will be reassessed after playing three games at Frederick on Friday through Sunday.
The Orioles have a 20-day window for the 21-year-old to remain on a minor league rehab assignment, but it appears that the Orioles likely won’t utilize that entire time.
After this weekend in Frederick, the Orioles likely will send Machado to a higher minor league affiliate, either Double-A Bowie or Triple-A Norfolk. But he might not spend much time with either team before rejoining the Orioles.
Machado, who flew north from Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday, has already had more than 30 at-bats playing in simulated and extended spring training games.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Thursday that Machado is scheduled to bat second Friday and play a full nine innings at third base for Frederick.
The Orioles will lean on vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, player development director Brian Graham and minor league infield coordinator Dave Anderson to monitor and gauge Machado's progress.
Meanwhile, a capacity crowd is expected at Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium on Friday for Machado’s first game.
About 70 percent of reserved seating was sold out as of Thursday morning, according to a team spokesman, and there is a limited amount of general admission seats still available as well. Gates for Friday’s game in Frederick open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. start.