3/7/2014 4:50 P.M. ET
Machado runs first-base line, continues making progress
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter won't say for certain when the club expects Manny Machado to return, but the All-Star third baseman's recovery is still on schedule.
Machado, working his way back from offseason surgery on his left knee, passed another rehab milestone Thursday as he ran down the first-base line and stepped on the bag with each foot. Showalter said it was more of a mental hurdle than a physical one for Machado, but it was another indication that the 21-year-old Gold Glove Award winner is progressing well.
"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," Showalter said. "What that is, if it's a day after Opening Day, if it's Opening Day, if it's a month after Opening Day, we just don't want any setbacks. We have not had any setbacks yet.
"Then to come in [Friday] and not have any residuals from it -- there's some scar tissue there that guys are going to break down -- kind of knowing what is normal and what might be alarming, we haven't had any of the alarming stuff."
Machado began moving side to side while fielding ground balls on Wednesday, another step forward. Clearing Thursday's checkpoint might have been even more meaningful for Machado, considering he suffered the injury on Sept. 23 while making an awkward landing on first base.
"So he's right where he's supposed to be," Showalter said. "Where that leads us, I'm OK with whatever it is."
Gonzalez lifted after getting hit by comebacker
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez left Friday's game against the Phillies after being struck in the lower leg by a line-drive comebacker off the bat of Philadelphia catcher Cameron Rupp, and the team said afterward that Gonzalez had a left tibia contusion.
Gonzalez left the Orioles' Spring Training complex for precautionary X-rays before the clubhouse opened to the media, but the team doesn't expect it to be a major injury.
"It looked like he walked off the field fine," bench coach John Russell said. "So I would say that he's going to be all right."
Gonzalez was scheduled to start Thursday's game against the Rays before it was canceled due to rain, forcing him to appear in Friday's contest after starter Ubaldo Jimenez and left-hander Brian Matusz.
Gonzalez entered the game in the top of the fifth inning, induced a groundout from Kevin Frandsen and gave up a double to Cody Asche, then Rupp smoked a pitch right back at the mound.
The ball ricocheted off Gonzalez's lower leg, sending him to the ground. He stood up on his own power before walking off the field and into the Orioles' clubhouse with head athletic trainer Richie Bancells.
Belfiore optioned to Triple-A as O's make first cuts
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles made their first round of Spring Training roster cuts on Friday, sending out three pitchers.
Baltimore optioned left-hander Mike Belfiore to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned right-hander Tim Alderson and lefty Nick Additon to Minor League camp.
Belfiore made two appearances this spring, giving up one run on five hits with one strikeout in two innings. He spent most of last season in Norfolk, where he compiled a 2-1 record and 3.18 ERA in 76 1/3 innings over 37 appearances.
Alderson gave up five runs on four hits and a walk without recording an out in his second and final Grapefruit League appearance on Monday. Additon also appeared in two Grapefruit League games, allowing two runs on three hits in two innings of work.
The Orioles now have 59 players remaining in Major League camp, including 19 non-roster invitees.
• Showalter, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters left Ed Smith Stadium after the fifth inning Friday as part of a group of about 30 Orioles players, coaches and executives catching a flight to Virginia to attend a memorial service for longtime PR director Monica Barlow.
Barlow passed away on Feb. 28 at age 36 after a 4 1/2-year battle with cancer. The group is scheduled to return to Florida late Friday night.
• Russell, who filled in as acting manager when Showalter left, said there weren't any plays the Orioles considered challenging during Friday's 15-4 win with the new instant replay rules in effect.
"For the most part, really, not much," Russell said. "But again, a game that gets out of hand, I don't think you're going to see many challenges on either side."
• Outfielder Henry Urrutia, who had been nursing a sore right shoulder, was cleared to play Friday. He entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch runner for Markakis.
• Outfielder Henry Urrutia, who had been nursing a sore right shoulder, was cleared to play Friday.
• Infielder Alexi Casilla (hamstring) is scheduled to get back on the field Sunday, though he could play in one of Saturday's split-squad games against the Red Sox if he feels well enough.
• The Orioles, Orioles Kids Magazine and Visit Sarasota County teamed up to bring 9-year-old Christopher Bergeron III to Ed Smith Stadium on Friday. The Herndon, Va., native won a contest in which children were asked to submit a one-page statement on why they should be selected to see the Orioles play a Spring Training game.
Bergeron, who was on the field wearing a Matt Wieters jersey before Friday's game against the Phillies, wrote "14 reasons I want to go to the Orioles Spring Training" and was selected from the group of more than 30 applicants.
"Bergeron did his homework," said Erin Duggan, director of brand for VSC. "He wrote about Orioles players, Sarasota County's weather and even tied it into spending time with his father. We hope he enjoys his once-in-a-lifetime trip to Sarasota to see his favorite team play."