Carroll County Times

Focus for Machado shifts to return timetable

SARASOTA, Fla. - Manny Machado isn't sure when he'll be able to return to the Baltimore Orioles.

On Sunday, manager Buck Showalter said that Machado wouldn't start the season on the active roster.

"Obviously, I would have hoped to be ready for Opening Day, but it was just a longshot, just a hope. Now I'll just get ready, take some baserunning, go back out there and be part of the team," Machado said on Monday.

Machado had surgery on his left knee on Oct. 14. A 4-6 month recovery was forecast. He wanted to be ready for next Monday's opener with Boston, but refused to be ruled by that goal.

"I wasn't even thinking about it," Machado said. "Honestly, I didn't really care. I was just trying to get ready as fast as I can. Fortunately, we've been pretty good but not there yet."

The 21-year-old third baseman still hasn't resumed running because he's been slowed by a strained left calf muscle and scar tissue in his knee.

"Just keep doing the same things I've been doing. Nothing changes. Just because I got cleared, nothing changes. Go out there and keep doing what I'm doing, little by little, increasing things and hopefully get in games soon," Machado said.

Machado will remain in Florida when Baltimore leaves later this week. He'll play in some extended spring games, and then play in some rehab games for Frederick, Bowie and Norfolk. He doesn't know when.

"I have no idea. Honestly, I don't have an answer for you. I really don't know. Hopefully within the next two weeks, or maybe even more than that. It could be either there or not, we don't know yet," Machado said.

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that Machado needs about 50 at-bats before he's ready to face major league pitching.

"He needs to meet some of these thresholds with his running before he can play. And after he meets those thresholds running, he probably needs at least 50 at-bats to be prepared to compete in the major leagues. The calendar really drove the decision," Duquette said.

At the time of the surgery, Duquette said that if Machado missed the March 31 opener, it wouldn't be catastrophic.

"Opening Day would have been nice, but it's really driven by how Manny responds and meets these thresholds that he has to meet as he progresses back to being an everyday player," Duquette said.

LOMBARDOZZI IN, GONZALEZ OUT: When Alex Gonzalez was called into Showalter's office Monday morning, he thought he was being told he'd made the Baltimore Orioles roster. Instead, Gonzalez found that he was headed to the Detroit Tigers.

The Orioles traded Gonzalez to Detroit for infielder Steve Lombardozzi. The Tigers desperately needed a shortstop with Jose Iglesias sidelined indefinitely with fractures in his shins.

Lombardozzi, who is from Columbia, was traded from the Washington Nationals to Detroit last December in the trade that centered around Doug Fister. He can play second, third and left field. Last year, the 25-year-old Lombardozzi hit .259 with two home runs and 22 RBIs.

Duquette said that Machado's lack of availability for the opener did not factor in the trade.

"It was more about the depth of our infield. We could have taken Alex and put him on our 25-man roster and he could have played. We had a solution in camp. But I think the Tigers needed a shortstop more than we needed a veteran third baseman. We have some other options, players that can play third base other than Alex," Duquette said.

Lombardozzi prides himself on his versatility.

"The last couple of years, I've been moving around all through the infield. Obviously I played second all through the minors, so I'm most comfortable there, but the last couple of years I've had to bounce around and get comfortable at the other positions," Lombardozzi said.

To make room for Lombardozzi on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated catcher Johnny Monell for assignment.

ODDS AND ENDS: Baltimore's game with Boston was rained out after two innings. Brian Matusz did not allow a run. ...The Orioles play Minnesota in Fort Myers on Tuesday. Bud Norris starts against Kyle Gibson. ... Steve Bumbry was released from minor league camp. He's the son of former Baltimore outfielder Al Bumbry.