Less than a week after appearing to severely injure his left ankle, Padres star third baseman Manny Machado may be available to pinch hit in Friday night's matchup against the Phillies.
On Sunday, Machado's ankle rolled after he took a big stride attempting to beat out an infield grounder.
The next day, Machado surprised teammates, beat writers and our team of Pro Baseball Docs by reportedly walking through the clubhouse without a limp.
Initially, the Pro Baseball Docs feared Machado would be out past the All-Star break in mid-July. Given the degree to which his ankle bent, he undoubtedly tore ligaments in his left ankle, as Dr. David Chao detailed on Monday's podcast:
That estimate was based on the assumption he would need roughly two weeks for the swelling to go down. The good news for Machado and the Padres is it seems he and the team medical staff were able to reduce the swelling almost immediately.
With the swelling now appearing to be a minimal concern, his return will be based on pain tolerance and how his ankle responds to the necessary physical therapy.
How Did Machado Avoid the 10-day IL?
Although Machado has been known as a quick healer, the feat to avoid a 10-day IL stint after such a severe ankle sprain may be his most impressive to date.
With Tatis still out from his wrist fracture, Machado has been the heart and soul of the Padres. He, the team and manager Bob Melvin wanted to avoid an IL stint if at all possible.
That seems to be the case and Melvin even hinted Thursday that Machado could pinch hit over the next few days.
Given his value as a bat, Machado will likely serve as designated hitter soon after that. However, it may be awhile before he's stretching singles into doubles or displaying his usual defensive ability at the hot corner.
Injury Impact on the Padres
With Machado out since Sunday, Ha-Seong Kim has filled in as the everyday third baseman. That may continue for at least another 2-3 weeks, when Machado's ankle is likely to be back at 100%.
Although it will be a few weeks before the 29-year-old is back to full speed, he can serve as an effective designated hitter and alter his approach at the plate to swing for power in any count.
Machado is hitting .328 with 12 home runs, 46 RBIs and 17 doubles this season. It's clear the Padres offense is drastically different without him in the middle. That's why the team was willing to risk the roster spot on the slim chance he could return before 10 days.
Padres World Series Odds
At 44-28, the Padres are +1300 to win the World Series and +240 to win the NL West, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. San Diego currently sits one game behind the 43-25 Dodgers.
Machado is the second favorite for NL MVP at +550, behind Paul Goldschmidt at +170.