BALTIMORE — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained right knee ligament, an injury far less serious than originally feared.
Machado took an awkward swing in Monday’s game against the New York Yankees and crumpled in the batter’s box, clutching his knee. He had to be helped off the field and was provided a pair of crutches after the game.
An MRI on Tuesday revealed that the 2013 Gold Glove recipient has a sprained ligament. If all goes well, he could be back for the final month of the season.
“Obviously, it’s a great relief,” Machado said. “When it happens, things cross your mind and you assume already the worse. But you can’t assume anything until you actually see the results and it’s in front of your face. I’m just glad it’s not as bad as we thought.”
Manager Buck Showalter expects to have Machado back sometime around Aug. 27, the day he’s eligible to return.
“Hopefully he’ll be back then or close to it,” Showalter said. “It’s not ‘if’ now, but ‘when’.”
Machado didn’t put a timetable on his return.
“Whenever I feel good. Whenever I’m able to go out there and be Manny Machado,” he said. “I don’t know when that is going to be. It could be tomorrow, it could be in a month, it could be in three weeks.”
Machado missed the first month of the season while recovering from surgery on his left knee. This is the other knee, but the 22-year-old insisted he doesn’t worry about chronic knee issues.
“Obviously, you don’t want to be in the position I am in right now. But it is all part of the game,” he said. “Those are the things you can’t control. Those are things only God can control. So, get it stronger, get back and keep running forward.”
Machado is batting .278 with 12 homers and 32 RBIs. He has also contributed defensively for the AL East leaders, who entered play Wednesday with a 6 1/2-game lead over second-place Toronto.
Chris Davis started at third base for the Orioles on Wednesday. He replaced Machado on Monday and has 74 games of major league experience at the position.
Baltimore has purchased the contract of infielder Cord Phelps from Triple-A Norfolk. The team cleared room for Phelps on the 40-man roster by moving catcher Matt Wieters to the 60-day disabled list.
Phelps hit .258 with 23 extra-base hits and 49 RBIs in 97 games for the Tides.
“Right now he’s the best option,” Showalter said.
The left side of the infield has also been without shortstop J.J. Hardy, who sprained his left thumb Saturday.
Showalter said Hardy could be pressed into action on Wednesday if needed, but the Orioles have a day off Thursday and it’s likely Hardy won’t return until Baltimore faces the Indians in a three-game set that begins Friday.
“My goal is to be on the field in the Cleveland series,” Hardy said. “Not sure which day.”