The severity of the injury is still unclear, and it's uncertain how much time Machado could miss, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he hopes the issue can resolve itself and considers Machado day-to-day.
“[Head trainer] Richie [Bancells] thinks he doesn’t see a whole lot there that makes you think it’s structural, but I’ll feel a whole lot better tomorrow if it manages itself,” Showalter said. “It’s the old day-to-day.”
Machado said he began to feel the tightness in his back during his final round of batting practice before Tuesday’s game. He went to receive treatment from team trainers, but said it kept locking up on him.
“Never had something like this before,” Machado said. “It was just better to sit it out and let somebody else take my place and help the team win.”
Machado said it was difficult to pull himself out of the game, but after trying to resolve the tightness, he told Showalter he wouldn’t be able to play just before lineup cards were to be exchanged.
“He walked over to me and said, ‘Skip, I don’t think I can go,’” Showalter said. “And I looked and said, ‘Are you serious?’ We were ready to take out the lineup card. Talk about pressure to come up with a lineup.”
Machado said: “It took a lot for me [to not play]. I was out there, and tried running more sprints to see if it was going to go away. But it kept getting tighter and tighter. I really didn't want to, but it was best for the team. In the situation I was at, I wasn't going to be able to be an elite player and help the team win. It was a better situation for me and the team.”
Machado said he didn’t expect to need X-rays, but he received an anti-inflammatory injection.
“We saw a doctor, and he said it just spasm'ed up a little bit,” Machado said. “Hopefully it gets better with some time. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. … Got a shot and we will see where we are at tomorrow.”
Machado, 22, missed the first 25 games of the season while recovering from offseason left knee surgery, but he has played in nearly every game since returning May 1. He did miss five games while serving a suspension for tossing a bat onto the field June 8.
The All-Star third baseman started the season slowly, but he has started to find his groove recently. In 40 games since May 31, he is hitting .307/.354/.523, raising his season average from .210 to .267.
He had reached base safely in a career-high 19 straight games before his streak was snapped with an 0-for-3 performance Monday. Machado was hitting .389/.436/.694 during that streak.