Manny Machado cleared for lateral fielding work

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Manny Machado continues making steady progress in his recovery from October 14, 2013 knee surgery.

Danny Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Machado took side-to-side soft-toss grounders on Wednesday afternoon in Orioles camp without experiencing any issues. It was his first time doing lateral-movement drills since going under the knife.

Machado also had a mole removed from his back on Wednesday. That procedure went according to plan.

The Orioles are still holding out hope that their 21-year-old third baseman will be ready for the opening of the 2014 regular season. Machado batted .283/.314/.432 with an American League-leading 51 doubles in 156 games last summer for Baltimore.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.