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Returning for Spring Training important to Machado

BALTIMORE -- Later this week, Manny Machado will depart for Los Angeles. As of now, surgery on the medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee is scheduled for Wednesday and his rehab will begin shortly after that. And Machado may not be back in Baltimore until the postseason.

The third baseman has a rough outline for his rehab and it doesn't involve much time around Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He will spend the first 2-3 weeks of his rehabilitation in Los Angeles. When that's over, the O's will be just about ready to ship off on a road trip that spans the final week of the regular season. Machado won't be ready to travel yet, so he'll head down to Sarasota, Fla., only to return to Baltimore if the Orioles reach the playoffs.

"I want to come back up here," Machado said on Monday. "I want to be part of the celebration. I want to be part of this special thing that we've got going on here, so I'm going to try to make the effort to be here if I can."

Machado's accelerated rehab plan and decision to have surgery after sitting out less than two weeks is made with an eye to Spring Training. The All-Star didn't have one this season as he rehabbed a left knee injury and he started slow before picking up his play during the final months before this season- ending injury.

Though this injury is less severe than the total rupture Machado suffered in 2013, the 4-6 month rehab timetable is the same as for the surgery he had in September that kept him out until May.

"I wanted to have Spring Training next year," Machado said. "If we waited for the surgery a little longer, it was going to be tough."

Machado is even opting to recover in Sarasota rather than his native Miami to give him a true Spring Training experience.

"I really feel good that he's going to be around our guys with it," manager Buck Showalter said.

Surgery was always an inevitability for Machado to return to full strength. After nearly two weeks, his knee wasn't getting any better and didn't feel any more stable. Waiting any longer would've put the start to another season in jeopardy again.

If Machado can be ready for next year and the O's can still make a run without him, the decision will have paid off.

"That's the game plan," Machado said. "And to be celebrating at the end of this."

David Wilson is an associate reporter for
Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado