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Machado's recovery ahead of schedule

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The Orioles received an encouraging report on 21-year-old third baseman Manny Machado on Thursday after he had his surgically repaired left knee examined, according to a report from The Baltimore Sun.

Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who operated on Machado on Oct. 14, performed the checkup in Los Angeles. Although the O's have made no announcement regarding Machado's progress, he was reportedly told that he is six to eight weeks ahead of schedule, putting him on track for Baltimore's March 31 season opener, against Boston.

Machado underwent surgery to repair a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in the knee on Oct. 14, and he initially was given a recovery time of four to six months. He sustained the injury in a game against the Rays on Sept. 23, ending his first full big league season with a .283/.314/.432 line, 14 home runs, 71 RBIs and an All-Star selection.

Manager Buck Showalter said earlier this offseason that Machado would have to make it into Spring Training games by mid-March to be ready for Opening Day. Although Thursday's checkup prevented Machado from attending Baltimore's minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., this week, the Sun reported that he is planning to arrive at camp about a week before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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