As long as I'm making predictions in October, I may as well deliver one regarding third baseman Manny Machado following last night's update on his left knee surgery.
The Orioles aren't conceding that Machado will begin the 2014 season on the disabled list, but that's my guess. The full six-month recovery period would take Machado into mid-April. If he's ready in five months, I'm still skeptical that Orioles manager Buck Showalter will feel comfortable putting him in the lineup on March 31.
There's no harm in backdating the DL assignment as far as the rules allow and letting Danny Valencia and/or Ryan Flaherty keep the position warm for Machado. Also, executive vice president Dan Duquette could sign or trade for a utility infielder. It happens every winter.
The Orioles have no intention of rushing Machado. And while he's going to rehab the knee with great "vigor," as Duquette put it last night, he's not going to risk another injury.
Machado clearly was uncomfortable with the notion of rehabbing the knee without surgery. That's why he sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews after receiving good news from team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens. Second opinions usually are sought after the initial diagnosis is grim.
Andrews concurred with Wilcken's diagnosis, but Machado wasn't sold on the idea.
Machado needed this procedure to stabilize the knee, but he also needed it for peace of mind. The knee buckled twice in three years. He avoided a serious injury in both games, but his luck might have run out.
As for Nate McLouth, he's back with the Orioles if he doesn't receive a multi-year offer from another club that takes him near the $10 million range. It all depends on how the market plays out.
The Orioles aren't expected to re-sign Michael Morse after shutting him down with a week remaining in the season due to a left wrist injury that requires surgery.
Morse apparently had the injury before coming to the Orioles. This blog item in the Seattle Times, posted 11 days before the trade, includes the following:
"In other news, Michael Morse is out of the lineup for a second straight day, this time with what (Robby) Thompson says is a wrist issue. Morse was given a day off yesterday to work through some issues that have led to a major slump the entire month of August so far.
"It's nothing severe, but a couple of swings he's kind of grimaced and held his wrist as of late," Thompson said. "So, we'll give him another day and see where he's at tomorrow."
Morse returned to the Mariners' lineup on Aug. 20 after missing two games. He was in a 3-for-34 slump before the trade and went 3-for-29 with the Orioles. He didn't homer after Aug. 21.
Infielder Jonathan Schoop, recently named the 14th-best prospect in the International League by Baseball America, started at second base yesterday for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League. He went 0-for-4 and remains hitless in 12 at-bats.
Dariel Alvarez started in right field and went 1-for-4 with a double. He's 3-for-12 with two doubles and an RBI.
Tim Berry allowed two hits in two scoreless innings, with one walk and three strikeouts, and lowered his ERA to 6.00.
Henry Urrutia hasn't played since receiving only one at-bat in Friday's game and exiting with a sore elbow. He's 4-for-8 with an RBI.