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Machado runs sprints, takes big step in recovery

BALTIMORE -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado ran six sprints at 90 feet on Monday at the team's Spring Training complex, a big step of progress in his recovery from October's left knee surgery.

Manager Buck Showalter said he exchanged texts with Machado and spoke with Minor League medical coordinator Dave Walker, who is in charge of his rehab down in Sarasota, Fla., and was encouraged with the report.

"He's feeling good," Showalter said of Machado. "I think they are going to 180 feet tomorrow, starting to run the bases a little bit more."

The only thing Machado, who took at-bats off Johan Santana over the weekend, has yet to do is cut the bases and that's something that caused a "little setback" the last time he did it. Machado will do that on Tuesday or "shortly thereafter," according to Showalter, and the plan is to get him ready to play in two or three extended spring games before starting his clock on a rehab assignment.

"You want to make sure you don't get ahead of yourself," said Showalter, referring to the 20 days on rehab assignment given the position players. "I know where our minimum is with Spring Training, where our target is with at-bats and plate appearances. He's been doing this, it's a little different, he's been doing this since end of January. So, it's not your normal 'X' number of plate appearances. I've got an idea. It'll be interesting to see where he is a week from today."

Machado, if needed, could have that rehab extended, but it would have to be approved by the Players Association in the event that he had another setback. Obviously, that's not a scenario the Orioles want to see come into play for the 21-year-old, who the club hasn't put a formal timeline on but could be an option in early May.

"He did all the activities, infield batting practice, took some extra work, Dave said," Showalter said of Machado's Monday workout. "Then went and did the sprints."

An All-Star in his first full season, Machado's original timeline from surgery was six months, a mark he hit on Monday. The infielder had some issues with scar tissue flaring up when he was cutting the bases in Spring Training and was shut down from running, limited to pool running for a while, before he was eased back in.

In Machado's absence, Ryan Flaherty has primarily been the third baseman, although J.J. Hardy's recent back spasms moved Flaherty over and rookie Jonathan Schoop has played some third as well.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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