Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will have no restrictions in spring training as he returns from a second knee surgery in as many years. Still, he admits the wait for this moment has been a struggle.
“I see it like my first spring training,” Machado said Tuesday. “I’m that excited. I’m itching to be here. I’m looking forward to playing games again. I’m just exciting to get back out there. That’s my main concern, getting back out there and getting a feel for helping the team again. I’m ready for tomorrow and [to] get the show on the road.”
The Orioles won’t hold their first full-squad workout at the Ed Smith Stadium complex until Wednesday, but Machado has already been in Sarasota for several days.
“It’s just a matter of playing baseball now,” Machado said. “That’s the way I look at it. I’ve played baseball my entire life. I’ve been sidelined for so long, it kind of threw me off a little bit. So I’m excited to be back and be a part of the team and go out there and have fun with all these guys.
“It’s tough watching the team go to the playoffs and go as far as they did and come up short,” Machado added. “I think me, Wieters and Chris Davis would have helped the team. Definitely. It was tough watching the games. It’s not easy.”
Unlike last spring, when Machado did not play in exhibition games as he recovered from left knee surgery, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said Machado will get as many at-bats as he needs this spring, even playing Grapefruit League games on the road, which is a rarity for established players.
“I’ll take 'em,” Machado said. “I’ll take as many as I can get. I’m pumped for spring. I want to play some games. I want to go out there and play as much as I can. If I have to go on the road, I’ll go on the road and if I have to stay back I’ll stay back. No matter what, I’m just excited to play.
“I think everything has gone real smooth, knock on wood. I’m feeling really good. I’m trying to keep my strength up. It’s just time to go out there and play and keep doing what I’ve been doing and stay at it.”
Machado was asked about infielder Everth Cabrera, who played with Machado's friend and brother-in-law Yonder Alonso in San Deigo. Machado said he didn't know much about Cabrera, who is expected to arrive at Orioles camp Tuesday.
“I just know he’s a good player and he can help us and he’s here and I’m happy to have him,” Machado said.
Johnson dodges a scare with finger injury
Orioles right-hander Steve Johnson was scheduled to test his bruised right middle finger with a light throwing session on Tuesday.
Johnson, who injured the finger during fielding practice drills Sunday, was optimistic he’d be able to throw a bullpen session Wednesday.
“It’s going to be bruised for a couple days, so it’s going to be whatever I can handle,” Johnson said Tuesday morning with his finger in a cup of ice water. “If I can throw, I can throw and not do anything wrong to it. It’s just bruised. Something so dumb as putting your finger in the way, it could have hit any other way. … Just the right timing and you’re out a couple of days. I’m glad I’m not out any longer. It’s definitely a relief after the last couple years. It’s definitely good.”
Johnson, who rejoined the Orioles on a minor league deal this offseason, has struggled to remain healthy since his rookie year in 2012, when he went 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA. He opened last season on the disabled list and later missed 70 games with shoulder inflammation. In 2013, he missed 86 games with a left oblique strain and a right lat strain.
Joseph still a call away
Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph’s concentration is on the field this spring as he competes for a roster spot, but he is one ring away from being called away from a workout.
In fact, he already has been.
Joseph’s wife, Brooke, is due to deliver the couple’s first child on March 1, so Joseph could be called away at any time.
While Joseph is catching bullpens and participating in defensive drills, Orioles minor leagues catching coordinator Don Werner is holding Joseph's phone in a pocket.
The phone rang near the end of Sunday’s workout and Joseph missed his last round of batting practice to go to the hospital. He returned to camp the next day, saying the baby hadn’t been born yet but everything was fine.
No bullpen sessions are scheduled for today’s workout.