Even though reports on Manny Machado’s strained left wrist were better Friday, the Orioles third baseman missed his second straight game, and unless he makes marked progress over the next 48 hours, the team might have to place him on the 10-day disabled list.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Machado’s availability for Friday’s series opener against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium was “limited.” But it was clear that if the club is unsure whether Machado can play every day, they don’t want to interrupt his potential DL clock.
“Manny’s a little better, a little better,” Showalter said. “Still pretty sore.”
Both the Orioles and Machado have said he’s day-to-day after injuring the wrist and gashing his hand when Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s cleat spiked him Wednesday on a steal of third base. Machado missed the Orioles’ makeup game in Washington on Thursday, but was optimistic yet realistic in hoping he’d return soon.
As of now, a DL move would be retroactive to Thursday, meaning Machado would be eligible to return on June 18 when the Orioles wrap up a three-game interleague series against the St. Louis Cardinals at home.
“We’ll reach a point with Manny where [if] we don’t feel he can play every day, you really want to get [the DL stint] going," Showalter said. "It’s going to be OK tomorrow, and then it gets sore in a game when he plays. We’re reaching a point where we’re going to have to make a decision there, too.”
With no designated hitter available playing in a National League park Thursday, Chris Davis started at third base in place of Machado, but utility infielder Ruben Tejada started at third Friday and would appear in line to play third most nights in Machado’s absence.
But that takes away the team’s utility infielder, so if the Orioles placed Machado on the DL, utility men Paul Janish or Luis Sardinas would appear to be leading candidates to replace the star third baseman on the 25-man roster.
Asked how much time the Orioles have to decide whether Machado should go on the DL, Showalter said that decision is coming “more sooner than later.”
Castillo could return Saturday
Catcher Welington Castillo, currently on the DL with a testicular injury, accompanied the club to New York and then traveled roughly 75 miles to Trenton, N.J., to play in a minor league rehabilitation game for Double-A Bowie against the Trenton Thunder.
Castillo was scheduled to take batting practice with the Baysox, get three or four at-bats and catch six or seven innings, which Showalter said would be the final step before he can be activated from the disabled list. He is eligible to return Saturday.
“He had a car pick him up at 2 o’clock,” Showalter said. “I had to look up the address for him. … And if that goes well, that’s the last piece. If that goes well, he’ll be active tomorrow.”
Castillo leads the Orioles with a .317 batting average and has an .805 OPS. He has 10 extra-base hits (six doubles and four homers) and 17 RBIs in 29 games.
Center fielder Adam Jones returned to the Orioles’ starting lineup Friday after missing Thursday’s game with what Showalter referred to as general soreness.
Jones played in all 21 innings of the Orioles’ back-to-back extra-inning wins over the Pirates. He missed four games last month with a sore left ankle and hip, but entered Friday with three homers and seven RBIs in seven games since returning.
“Adam feels fine, feels good,” Showalter said. “A lot better than yesterday.”
Around the horn
Closer Zach Britton continues to progress from a left forearm strain that landed him on the DL. While rehabbing the injury down in Sarasota, Fla., he has thrown two full bullpens and one half-mound session. Showalter said he has one more bullpen session scheduled before throwing live batting practice to hitters for the first time. …. Utility man Ryan Flaherty, who received a platelet-rich-plasma injection for a right shoulder strain, has been cleared to resume throwing by team physician Dr. Mike Jacobs.