Showalter on Machado, Tillman and Santana

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter indicated that third baseman Manny Machado could run on Sunday to test his left knee and calf.

Machado had been shut down because of scar tissue breaking up in the knee and a mild strain in his calf muscle.

"He was telling me the two days really did the calf well," Showalter said. "I would bet he'd probably test that tomorrow."

An assignment to the disabled list can be backdated to today if Machado doesn't play in a Grapefruit League game. He will get his at-bats at minor league camp in non-gate games.

Machado would be eligible to come off the DL on April 6, forcing him to miss only five games.

Any lingering discomfort in the calf while attempting to run would seal Machado's fate. Until then, the door is still open for him to play on opening day.

Chris Tillman reported to camp today and felt much better after being scratched from yesterday's start due to illness. Showalter will check on Tillman again Sunday before determining when the right-hander will throw again.

"He's a lot better today," Showalter said.

Johan Santana threw off a half mound today for the first time. He will throw off it again on Monday as part of his work day, and perhaps once more before moving to a full mound.

"He drew quite a crowd," Showalter said.

"He's on a five-man program. He's doing well."

The Orioles aren't expected to make any cuts today.

We're still waiting for official word that reliever Luis Ayala has passed his physical and signed a minor league deal. He doesn't have a locker at Ed Smith Stadium. The Orioles are sending him to Twin Lakes Park.

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