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O's confident Machado will be ready for Opening Day

Outlook improving for All-Star third baseman rehabbing from left knee surgery

BALTIMORE -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado continues to progress favorably in rehab from left knee surgery, and manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday the expectation is Machado will be ready for Opening Day.

"We put a real safe date on it," Showalter said of Machado's timetable, which initially was estimated at six months for a mid-April return. "I think he's got a real chance to make the start of the season. [He] needs to play in [spring] games by March 15 to make the season."

That March 15 date would be the five-month mark for the 21-year-old Machado, who suffered the injury on an awkward landing at first base Sept 23. The 75-minute surgery included an arthroscopy and open reconstruction of the medial patellar femoral ligament, with a hamstring tendon used to graft a replacement for Machado's ruptured ligament.

"Everything is going well," Showalter said of the first five-plus weeks of Machado's rehab. "I know Dan [Duquette] was at the Gold Glove [ceremony]. He said he couldn't even tell [Machado] was limping. But so far, so good."

An All-Star in his first full season, Machado hit .283 with 14 homers, 71 RBIs and 51 doubles.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for
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