After spending time enjoying a red-hot rehab assignment with the Baltimore Orioles low-A ball squads, third baseman Manny Machado appears to be ready to play in the MLB yet again. After a gruesome injury to his leg at the end of last season, Machado joined the Orioles today according to a tweet from Roch Kubatko, a beat reporter in Baltimore.
Everyone around Baltimore has been waiting for his return, especially considering first baseman Chris Davis went down with an oblique injury last week. Davis is expected back in a few weeks, but the hole in the lineup has been notable during the small time he has missed.
Now that the team has Machado back, the lineup card will begin to look normal yet again. It’s still unclear where he will bat in the lineup however, considering Nelson Cruz has been batting very well in the two-hole. It’s possible that Machado will be batting behind the cleanup spot until another move presents itself. Right now, it would be hard for Buck Showalter to move Cruz out of his current slot.
As for the defensive side of the diamond, Machado’s return will be welcomed by everyone, especially Buck Showalter who has seen fill-in third basemen make countless errors in the beginning of the season. Guys like Jonathan Schoop have looked out of place; the return of Machado will allow a smooth transition back to a bit of normalcy. Every-day right-fielder Nick Markakis is being forced to play a bit of first during Davis’ absence, but he appears to be handling it quite well.
The Orioles have been struggling to maintain a record above .500, but this move certainly helps their chances. Machado’s presence on the roster is unquestioned offensively and defensively, and while some young guys have done a decent job on offense, they haven’t (obviously) been able to perform the way Machado is capable of.
Machado is expected to be in the lineup as soon as possible, but the rain around the northeast may delay his return by a few days.