Manny Machado suffers severe leg injury versus Rays

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All-Star third baseman Manny Machado injured his left knee stepping awkwardly on first base in the seventh inning Monday and had to be carted off the field in the loss to the Rays.

The Orioles declined to go into detail about the injury after the game, but they said the plan was for Machado to travel home with the team and undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

While injuries of this nature typically happen on bang-bang plays at first base where the runner is trying to stretch that extra bit, Machado had eased up and was watching the ball, which had skipped away, as his left foot hit the side of the bag and rolled. He immediately went down in pain and was clearly in agony as he was being attended to.

The injury will obviously keep Machado sidelined for the rest of 2013, and the Orioles can only hope it’s not something that’s going to linger into next year. The 21-year-old Machado has established himself as one of the game’s very best young players while hitting .282/.313/.431 with 14 homers and 51 doubles and playing Gold Glove defense at third base this year.

Adrian Beltre cleared for extended spring training

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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.

Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.

Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.