Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is expected to undergo surgery on his injured right knee in the coming week, sources said Friday afternoon, likely ending Machado’s season and damaging the AL East-leading Orioles’ championship hopes.
Machado, whose 2013 season ended prematurely because of a torn ligament in his left – opposite – knee, fell awkwardly on his right knee while batting 10 days ago. He has been on the disabled list since.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache, orthopedic surgeon for the Los Angeles Dodgers, repaired Machado’s left knee last fall and is expected to perform the surgery on Machado’s right knee in the coming days.
According to the sources, ElAttrache discovered a small abnormality in the knee during the previous surgery that could have contributed to last year’s injury. The right knee has the same abnormality and that, too, is expected to be repaired, sources said. Future knee issues for Machado, 22, could be avoided because of this discovery and repair, and those close to him believe the surgery is best for Machado’s long-term health and success.
In the meantime, the Orioles will play into September and, presumably, October without their third baseman and a recently very productive part of their lineup and defense. In his second full big-league season, Machado was batting .278 with 12 home runs. In a choppy first half, he’d spent April on the disabled list during the last of his recovery from left knee surgery, struggled at the plate for the better part of six weeks, then was suspended five games in early June for intentionally throwing his bat in a game against the Oakland A’s. The suspension was upheld at the end of June.
After his return from the suspension, Machado had batted .351 with five homers and 15 RBI in 28 games. The Orioles were 19-9 in that period, when they lengthened their lead in the division. Manager Buck Showalter moved Machado from seventh in the lineup to second three weeks ago and Machado responded by batting .328 with a .369 on-base percentage. And so Machado had again become a huge part of the Orioles’ success, as he was as a summer call-up in 2012, when the Orioles won 93 games and took the New York Yankees to five games in the division series.
The team would not comment when asked about Machado.
Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty have started at third base in Machado’s recent absence. Steve Pearce has batted second, behind leadoff hitter Nick Markakis.
The Orioles, who also lost catcher Matt Wieters to Tommy John surgery in mid-June, had won four in a row before losing Friday afternoon in Chicago to the Cubs. Still, they were 8 ½ games ahead of the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays and are threatening to run away with the division.
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