CHICAGO - In a short time frame this morning, the media at Wrigley Field conducted interviews with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, manager Buck Showalter, head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and third baseman Manny Machado.
We’re caught up on Machado’s pending knee surgery. All we need to know is the exact date of next week’s procedure in Los Angeles.
I’m passing along a big batch of quotes. Let’s start with Duquette, who made it clear that Machado reached this decision yesterday after consulting with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
“Manny came to us yesterday and said his knee wasn’t responding to the rest and that he had conferred with his doctors and after that conference, he decided that the best course of action would be to take a look at the option of surgery.
“He has a very similar injury to his right knee that he had last year to his left knee, so with this original injury, Manny just felt that surgery would be inevitable. And after conferring with his doctor, that’s the route that he’s going to take.”
On recovery time
“We’ll know a little bit more after he has the procedure, and I think that’s more for the doctor to address, but it sounds like a very similar surgery to the one he had last year.”
On whether he’s surprised
“Our original approach was to have him rest and then to try to play and then see if he could play ball. We also knew there was a chance of a recurrence. Given this injury and the time of the season, we thought that we would rest it and try to recover and come back and play for the rest of the year. But Manny didn’t feel that was the best option.
“We’ve been talking to Dr. ElAttrache in Los Angeles about it and that’s who Manny’s conferred with.”
On timetable: “I don’t know. You have to talk to the doctor about that, but it sounds very similar in scope to the injury to his left knee a year ago. The thing about the team, on behalf of the Orioles, we’ve been able to field a very competitive team this year in spite of our injuries and our team has been competitive because our players step up. Manny hasn’t been with us for part of our schedule and our team has been competitive, and we aim to keep our team competitive with the players that we have, and if we can address it with some other solutions so that we can continue our goal to make the playoffs.”
On whether he could make a trade
“There’s a very limited pool of players that are available this time of the year because a lot of players’ contracts don’t get through the trade waiver process, so it’s a very limited pool, but I think we have some pretty good depth in-house and we’ve had some players step up like Steve Pearce and do a good job and we’re going to continue to need players to step up in this situation.”
On whether he’s worried about two knee surgeries in two years
“Ideally, you’d like players to be healthy for the full season and Manny hasn’t been able to get through his first two full campaigns. Hopefully, these surgeries will address the issue so that when he comes back he will be able to see it through a full season.”
“The only thing that I’ve ever heard that the doctors mention is a partial tear of the medial patellar femoral ligament, same ligament that he injured last year in his left knee, but obviously this one is in his right knee.”
On whether it’s the same procedure
“Yes, from what I understand before even going in, yes, it will be the same procedure that he’ll have done. Even though this was only a partial, it will be the same procedure, so you can expect the recovery to be the same.”
On the procedure
“They’ll harvest the tendon from the (lower leg), which was the one they harvested in the other leg, but obviously this will be in the right leg. They’ll harvest that tendon to replace the ligament. Same surgery he had last year, just different knee.”
On how it’s a partial tear
“The ligament itself, I would guess, is probably scarring down at this point. They’ll probably just leave that as it is, but then they’ll take the tendon that they harvest, they’ll use that to reconstruct it.”
On whether surgery was inevitable
“It’s tough. The hope was because it was partial that it wasn’t as severe, the hope was that it would scar down and we’d be able to get him back and see how it we went. That, in combination with Dr. ElAttrache had always mentioned there was a risk, just given the way that Manny is structured physically, predisposes him to that kind of injury. There was always that risk. Dr. ElAttrache told me that we don’t know if that risk is next week, next month, next year, two years. You don’t know. It was inevitable. The combination of the risk factor along with Manny didn’t feel like it was coming along like he hoped right now, and he had a conversation with Dr. ElAttrache that he decided to go ahead and have the surgery.”
“It is what it is. Probably felt like there was potential for that happening at some point in his career. So it doesn’t surprise you. It’s one of those things, I don’t get into that ‘woe is me.’ You can’t get into that mentality when we’ve played 40, 50 games without him. We’d like to have him, but life goes on. Baseball goes on. It’s not uncharted territory for this team that’s been playing without people that on paper were going to be with us.”
On external options
“That’s Dan and the scouts. I’m looking at the people we have here, in Norfolk and Bowie and continue to lean on the versatility of our players.”
On when he thought surgery was an option
“I think he held some things close to the vest. We felt like he was making some baby steps toward it. And once he kind of weighed in and told us some things that were a little different towards what the perception was. He’s about six weeks ahead of the last one, so my hope is he has a normal spring training, as opposed to last year, when he had a couple setbacks. Non-knee things. So, I’m hoping this will allow him to be ahead of it and be a normal player in spring training and get ahead of it. I’m also hoping he can walk down the aisle, instead of limp down it.”
On whether Chris Davis will play third base
“There’s going to be times that we are going to have some things happen at third or first that may not be. Everybody has got strengths and weaknesses. If I know this club, we will pick up slack, just like we did when he wasn’t here.”
On Machado’s mood
“Pretty good considering. I think he’s kind of relieved to have the decision behind him. As soon as they can get him in. I’m hoping he has it in the next week.”
On whether team’s performance without Matt Wieters leaves him encouraged
“It’s just reality. I don’t know if it’s confidence. It’s just reality. What are you going to do, say, ‘Stop, I want to get off?’ There’s another game today, another game tomorrow. This game has a strange way of finding unexpected heroes, so to speak. It’s another opportunity that opens up for somebody, is the way I’d look at it.”
“From the get-go, we knew it was partially torn, so it was in the back of my mind. Obviously, with the position we’re in now, you don’t want to hear about surgery. You want to try to get back out there on the field and be back with the team and help the team get to the playoffs and continue with my season, but it’s been a couple weeks now and the pain hasn’t gotten any better, so I think it was just the best decision to get it done now rather than later and wait like we did last year. I think it got to the point where I just had to make a decision.
“Obviously, one of the things, I have abnormal knees. That was one of the reasons this keeps happening. That was one of the reasons we want to get it fixed now, so that it won’t bother me for the rest of my career. Obviously, it’s August already and if we keep waiting, it’s just going to make it worse and we’re not going to be ready for spring training next year. I think that’s a big part.
“I think we don’t realize how big spring training is. This year, not having spring training kind of pushed me back a little bit and baseball-wise, you need those reps. Spring training is huge. I think with getting it fixed now, it’s going to help me and hopefully I’ll be ready for spring training, a full-go and be back out there.
“It sucks. I definitely want to be there. I definitely want to be in the lineup. I want to be out there. But this team is strong. We have a strong group here. And we all have to deal with adversity. We did that this year, with me being out early and (Matt Wieters) going down. We’re going to fight. We have a lot of confidence going in and we have a great team here. We have what we need here to go forward and I think this is a little valley for the team, but the best thing to do is to put it behind us and keep playing baseball and I’ve got faith in my teammates. I know they’re going to pick me up and I know they’re going to move forward and hopefully win the division and the World Series.”
On whether he’s concerned about two knee surgeries
“It sucks. It’s a bummer, it really is. But it’s a part of life. I’m glad it happened now than a little later in my career when I’m older. I’m young now, so I’m going to recover faster. I’m glad it happened now. But it sucks having two knee surgeries in two years, but I guess it’s just going to make me stronger as a person and as a man. I’ve just got to stay mentally strong and keep working harder.”
On staying with the team in the playoffs
“I definitely want to. I’ll be out there for a couple weeks getting checked up and doing some rehab and hopefully I’ll come back and join the team and hopefully celebrate with the team. I’ve worked as hard as everybody on this ballclub, so hopefully we’re together at the end of the year cheering and celebrating.”
On how he plays for this time of the season
“I was in the same situation in 2012 when the team made the playoffs. It was one of the best parts of my career, best parts of my entire life, being in the postseason. Being so close this year with it and going down with this injury, it’s really hard.
“This wasn’t a very easy decision for me. We knew the situation we were in with my knee from the get-go with the MRI, and it was my decision to try to go out there and try to make the best of it and try to get back on the field, because this is special. We have something special here and it’s something you want to be a part of. I know me and Wheaty, it sucks watching the team play. It’s just tough. It’s something you have to deal with. It’s really hard. It’s just something that’s going to make me stronger.”
On whether he could have come back
“We’re doing what we have to do. We were doing everything according to the doctors in order to help it heal. It’s a matter of the scar tissue healing up on its own. Just a way of nature, healing itself. I could have waited. It’s been 11 days, 12 days now and not one little sign of it getting better, so why keep waiting and lose time for next year. Obviously, we’re thinking about this year and not next year, but at the same time, it wasn’t getting any better. There wasn’t anything we could do. The only thing was going in there and fixing it. It’s just something that it wasn’t getting any better at all.”