Buck Showalter, Manny Machado

Buck Showalter is keeping a close eye on Manny Machado this spring, but he doesn't seem thrilled that a doctor is being quoted talking about the third baseman's status. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / February 16, 2014)

There is still no timetable on when third baseman Manny Machado will play in a game this spring, but the Orioles received reassurance Thursday that he’s on the right track with his surgically repaired left knee.

Showalter said athletic trainer Richie Bancells received word from surgeon Neal ElAttrache that Machado’s checkup in Los Angeles went well Thursday afternoon.

“Nothing's changed, but it’s good news to hear somebody else say what our training staff is saying,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

** Showalter wasn’t excited, however, that for the second time this year, ESPN.com had quotes from ElAttrache about Machado’s recovery before the information was relayed to Showalter and the club.

Obviously irked by the situation in his postgame interview, Showalter purposely didn’t mention ElAttrache by name, quipping: “I’ll let ESPN take care of that.”

** One of the more interesting things that came out of all of the Machado talk Thursday was Showalter's saying the club may keep him in minor league games for a while if he returns to playing soon. That’s partially to get him as many at-bats as he wants in one game. But there is another reason, too.

If he doesn’t play in a game in which admission is charged, the club can backdate a disabled list stint to the earliest time allowed. And that potentially could allow Machado to get back to the majors earlier than the 15th day after the Orioles’ regular-season starts, if he is deemed ready.

Bottom line: The Orioles won’t rush him back. He is too valuable.

** Nelson Cruz had two doubles Thursday and seems to be driving everything he hits. He is batting .346, and though he doesn’t have any homers yet, he does have six doubles. He really helps make this offense even more dangerous.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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