Last we heard, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was making solid progress in his recovery from left knee surgery, but it’s still unclear when he’ll be ready for game action.
Per Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, Machado has resumed taking batting practice and fielding ground balls, but he isn’t running full speed and he’s restricted from doing certain drills. The 21-year-old hopes to be cleared for full baseball activities when he has a check-up with his surgeon in mid-March, but that obviously leaves little time to test himself in game action before Opening Day. However, rushing things just to be ready for the start of the season doesn’t rank high on Machado’s priority list.
“Last,” he said. “That’s at the bottom of my list. It’s not even on my list, to be honest.”
“When I’m ready, I’m going to be ready,” Machado said. “And everybody’s going to know it. And that’s when I’m going to be out there with the team, whether it’s Opening Day or sometime in April.”
Machado hit .283/.314/.432 with 14 home runs and 71 RBI over 156 games last season prior to tearing the medial patellofemoral ligament in his knee.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: