SARASOTA, Fla. - It wasn't a huge surprise. Manny Machado will start the season on the disabled list.
Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided on Sunday that Machado's recovery from left knee surgery was not yet complete and that it was best for the star third baseman to continue his rehab.
"The thought of him starting the season on the active list is not realistic," Showalter said.
Showalter said Machado will stay in Florida for extended spring games, and then when he's ready play in some games for High Class-A Frederick, Class-AA Bowie and Class-AAA Norfolk. He may also work out in Baltimore.
"This isn't a failure by any stretch. I think you're still going to get him sometime in April," Showalter said.
Machado underwent surgery in Los Angeles on Oct. 14 by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. A four-to-six month recovery was forecast.
"It's a long, long season. I think he's going to play a lot of games for us this year," Showalter said.
Machado flew west on Thursday for a reevaluation. By then, he hadn't run in nearly two weeks because of scar tissue in his knee and a balky left calf.
"If he'd come back and been completely pain-free, running ... I want that doubt completely gone," Showalter said.
In the interim, Showalter has to decide on a third baseman and perhaps a second baseman in Machado's absence. Ryan Flaherty, who had been playing second, could move to third. Jonathan Schoop or Jemile Weeks could start at second, or perhaps veteran Alex Gonzalez, who's on a minor-league contract, could play third.
Showalter didn't want to stop Machado from the hope of playing on March 31 when the Orioles open against Boston.
"We didn't want to throw a wet blanket on it because you don't want to underestimate the human body, especially Manny's," Showalter said. "If you told me going into spring this is where we'd be, with the surgical side, I'd be fine with it."
GAUSMAN STRONG: In what was likely his final start before being optioned to Norfolk, Kevin Gausman allowed a run on three hits in four innings as Baltimore played to a 7-7 10-inning tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates before 8,064 at Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday.
Gausman allowed his first three runners to reach, then clamped down on Pittsburgh. He struck out eight and walked two.
"It's not going to be perfect always in the season. It's good to get in those situations now so that when it comes this spring or this summer that I have that experience in those situations," Gausman said.
Flaherty, Schoop, Nick Markakis and Chris Davis homered for the Orioles.
AYALA'S BACK: The Orioles signed right-handed pitcher Luis Ayala to a minor-league contract on Sunday. Ayala was 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 65 games with Baltimore in 2012. He was traded to Atlanta last April for left-hander Chris Jones and released by the Washington Nationals this week.
Brett Wallace, released by the Houston Astros earlier this month, was also signed to a minor-league contract on Sunday. Wallace hit .242 in four seasons with the Astros.
He's mainly a first baseman, but also has played third.
Both Ayala and Wallace will report to minor league camp at Twin Lakes Park.
TWO GONE: Baltimore reassigned catcher Caleb Joseph to minor-league camp. Joseph will catch Wei-Yin Chen in a Triple-A game on Monday. Infielder David Adams, who was claimed on waivers from Cleveland on Saturday, was optioned to Norfolk. To make room for Adams on the roster, left-handed pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz was designated for assignment.
COMING UP: The Orioles host the Boston Red Sox on Monday. Brian Matusz starts against Jake Peavy. Rich Hill, Francisco Cordero, Andrew Miller and Drake Britton are also scheduled to pitch for Boston.
ODDS AND ENDS: Schoop and Henry Urrutia were among 10 members of the Arizona Fall League's Surprise Saguaros presented with championship rings before the game. The team was managed by Bowie's Gary Kendall and the pitching coach was Alan Mills, now at Delmarva. ... Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar was out with a sore knee after fouling a ball off on Saturday. ... Chris Tillman, who missed Friday's scheduled start with a virus, will pitch on Wednesday at Port Charlotte against Tampa Bay in the evening part of a split-squad. Miguel Gonzalez works the afternoon game at Fort Myers against Boston.