The early word was that Manny Machado wouldn’t need surgery after his scary knee injury with a week left in the season, but he has decided to go ahead and have reconstructive surgery on his MPFL, which will sideline him for 4-6 months.
The medial patellofemoral ligament, which stabilizes the kneecap, was damaged when Machado suffered a dislocated patella awkwardly stepping on the bag at first base. Machado could have come back without the surgery, but this will reduce the chances of future dislocations.
The news makes Machado iffy for the start of spring training, but he should still be ready for Opening Day if everything goes well.
The 21-year-old Machado hit .283/.314/.432 with 51 doubles and 14 homers in 156 games before going down this year. He’s likely to be announced as the AL’s Gold Glove third baseman for his spectacular play at the hot corner.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.