SARASOTA, Fla. - Want to get under Orioles manager Buck Showalter's skin? Keep asking him for a timetable on Manny Machado debuting in exhibition games and the odds of the young third baseman being in the opening day lineup.
He'd rather not go there.
Showalter can't say with any certainty whether Machado will be playing in Grapefruit League games in a few weeks after having his knee reexamined in Los Angeles. He's not going to keep providing updates and gauge whether Machado is ahead of schedule.
"Once again, I told you at the time that I'm not going to handicap him every day and what's going on," Showalter said. "Everything that he's supposed to be able to do at this point, he's doing. He's not ahead of schedule, he's not behind schedule, he's on schedule. What that is, if it's the day after opening day or if it's opening day or if it's a month after opening day...
"We just don't want any setbacks. And we have not had any setbacks yet."
Machado took another positive step forward yesterday in his recovery from October knee surgery, and he did so with both feet.
"Actually, he crossed a hurdle yesterday where he stepped on the bag running down the line with both feet," Showalter said. "You can't tell a runner, 'OK, I want you to hit the bag with this foot.' You don't do that. You run, and whichever one comes up. In the course of it, he hit it with both feet, and that's another hurdle. Taking turns, he's done that. He's moving side to side now.
"He's right where he's supposed to be. Where that leads us, I'm OK with whatever it is."
The hurdles being cleared are both physical and mental.
"Richie (Bancells) and I were talking about it this morning," Showalter said. "We both thought hitting the bag is a mental hurdle. We feel real confident that physically, it's going to hold up. But for him to come in today and not have any residuals from it...
"There's some scar tissue there that's guys are going to break down. But knowing what is normal and what might be alarming, we haven't had any of the alarming stuff."