It was easy to think the worst when Manny Machado was carted off the field with a left knee injury last Monday at Tropicana Field, but no major ligament tears were found while Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens recommended rest and rehab for a torn medial patellofemoral ligament rather than surgery. The Orioles received more encouraging news today following a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews.
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Andrews agreed with the Orioles’ diagnosis. Machado will have his knee examined again in four weeks in order to get a sense of his progress from the injury, but the team is hopeful that he’ll be able to resume running in 6-8 weeks. If all goes well, he should have plenty of time to get ready for the start of the 2014 season.
Machado, 21, batted .283/.314/.432 with 14 home runs and 71 RBI during his first full season in the majors this year. His 51 doubles led the American League.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.