BALTIMORE-The news on Manny Machado's left knee was nowhere near as bad as some may have feared.
It isn't a torn ACL or MCL. In fact, there is no structural damage to either of those ligaments.
Machado, who injured the knee in the seventh inning Monday when running out an infield single, has a torn medial patellofemoral ligament and the Baltimore Orioles expect him to be ready for spring training.
As expected, Machado will not be able to play in the last six games of the season.
"It's the type of injury where you can treat it conservatively," Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said. "Our plan would be to treat it conservatively and see how Manny recovers from that."
Baltimore head trainer Richie Bancells said the medial patellofemoral ligament connects the patella and femur and that all of Machado's major ligaments are fine. The Orioles plan to take a conservative approach, which would not require surgery for Machado, as he will just get rest and rehab in the offseason.
Bancells said Machado will meet with team physician Dr. John Wilckens to see how the knee progresses. If it does well on the conservative path, Bancells said Machado could be ready to running and physical activity in six-to-eight weeks.
"If the conservative method works, he's ready for spring training," Bancells said.
Even before Wilckens examined Machado's MRI, which he underwent at 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, Orioles manager Buck Showalter was optimistic that his All-Star third baseman would be playing for the team early next season.
Now, it appears Machado is on track to be ready to report to Sarasota, Fla. with the rest of his teammates in March.
"Good news for the clubhouse, as much for the person as for the team," Showalter said. "They've all come to really respect Manny and the way he's carried himself this year and the way he's presented himself."
In his second season, and his first full season, the 21-year-old hit .283 with 14 home runs, 51 doubles, and 71 RBIs in 156 games, while playing phenomenal defense at third base. He started every game until Tuesday.
"I was relieved because it's a good report," Duquette said. "For Manny, he's a young guy. He's got a lot of his career ahead of him."
Showalter had said earlier in the day Tuesday that Machado's teammates had kept the third baseman in positive spirits.
"I think it scared him a lot," Showalter said. "The big thing is the support he's getting from his teammates has made him feel a lot better."
CASILLA UPDATE: Machado wasn't the only Orioles player hurt Monday, as Alexi Casilla collided with Nick Markakis and left after taking a blow to his head against Markakis' knee. Casilla underwent a CT-scan and was cleared to fly back with the team to Baltimore Monday night.
"We got real lucky with Casi, looking back on it," Showalter said. "He's a tough kid."
The Baltimore second baseman also injured his right thumb, which was heavily wrapped on Tuesday.
Casilla did not initially leave the game after the collision, but Showalter said he wishes he would have made Casilla exit immediately. But Showalter added that he was able to answer all the questions and seemed OK to play.
However, Showalter said when he went back out to check on him, Casilla had a different look in his eyes and Showalter decided to remove him.
"I still don't remember what happened," Casilla said. "I just remember I was in the clubhouse and I asked myself, 'What am I doing here?'"
Casilla remained with the team, but he may not play again in the club's final five games. He hit .214 with a homer, 10 RBIs, and nine stolen bases in 62 games in a reserve role.
OFFICIAL RELEASE: The Orioles officially released infielder/designated hitter Wilson Betemit Tuesday. Betemit had been designated for assignment by Baltimore on Sept. 16.