With only a handful of games left to get into the playoffs, the Baltimore Orioles have lost a key member of the team. Third baseman Manny Machado was carted off the field with a leg injury Monday night.
During the seventh inning of the Orioles 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Machado appeared to blow out his knee running out a infield hit to the first base. He toppled over in pain and had couldn't stand on his own weight.
With five games left in the season, the Orioles sit five games out of a wildcard spot. If hope was thin before, it might have been carted of the field Monday night.
Manny Machado underwent an MRI Tuesday on his leg. The team won't announce the extent of the injury until their own team doctor reads the results. At this point it's not a question of if Machado will return this year, but how soon will he return next season.
Manager Buck Showalter stayed optimistic speaking with reporters, "I feel very confident that Manny will be playing for us early next season." That would be the best news for a young Orioles team with a very excited fan base.
Ryan Flaherty will start in Machado's place for the remainder of the season. It will be the first time a player not named Manny Machado will start at third for the Orioles since he was called up on August 9, 2012.
What's important right now is making sure Machado is ready to go next season. He is a key piece in the Orioles success the last two seasons, and should be a continued for a many seasons to come.
[image via Wikimedia Commons]