Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is one of the bright young stars in this game but has yet to play a full MLB season. His last two seasons have ended earlier than anyone would have wanted due to him suffering knee injuries. Machado has reported to Orioles’ mini-camps this past week to test some waters and see where he stands.

“I feel great,” Machado said. “It’s been a while since I felt this healthy and good. My body feels great, my mind is clear. I’m excited to get back out there. I’m itching, actually. I haven’t been itching like this for spring training since my first year of pro ball. Just excited to get the season rolling.”

(Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun)

Machado has been doing just about everything. The only activity that he has not taken part in his fielding ground balls from side-to-side – saving his knees from any tension before Opening Day. Machado has already taken batting practice with new hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh. Manager Buck Showalter wants Machado ready for Opening Day and is making sure the path for that debut remains as little as rocky as possible.

“We know where the finish line is here. It’s not Feb. 20. It’s [Opening Day on] April [6th] in Tampa. That’s where the finish line is. Just try to stay away from setbacks. … We’re where we need to be. I’d have signed up for it in blood when we initially did the surgery that we’d be sitting here now.”

(Encina)

Showalter seems in good spirits regarding the progress of his platinum-glove award winner. Knee surgeries are brutal given the amount of friction put on the knees when shifting east-west. Machado will visit with Dr. Neal ElAttrache prior to Opening Day and hopefully during then will final and full clearance be given.

Last season, Machado at the earliest reported to Spring Training along with the rest of the position players. His knee flared up and it forced him to miss the first month of the 2014 regular season. His early arrival, before Groundhog Day this year, is a precaution if he forbiddingly suffers another setback.

“Right now I feel like I’m ready to go come spring training. I’m ready to roll. Finally have a spring training. I haven’t had one in a while. That’s the first thing that’s on my mind.”

(Encina)

Machado has also recently gotten married and took a month off with his newly-wedded wife for their honeymoon. The month off allowed him to focus on his personal life, one with a major overhaul for the good as it allowed him to refresh his mind and body. Orioles brass and fans are hoping for their young star to put his on-field injuries behind him.

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