Manny Machado injury update is great news for Padres fans heading into 2024

Manny Machado appears to be very close to being ready to roll for the 2024 season.
2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training
2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

One of the elephants in the room for the San Diego Padres this spring is Manny Machado's health and just how available he's going to be during the early part of the 2024 season. Machado had surgery to treat a bad case of tennis elbow this offseason and there has been a good bit of uncertainty as to when he is going to be able to take the field this year.

Most of the updates on Machado thus far had been cautiously optimistic. Machado talked about feeling good and taking things day by day while the Padres have said he's hit all of the rehab benchmarks, while making sure to note that they're taking their time with him. All good news, but that still did not provide much in the way of clarity.

Well, Machado did play in a spring training game this past weekend and promptly hit a ground rule double. That in itself was great news, but when asked after the game how he was feeling, he responded that his elbow "feels so much better than it did last year."

Padres star Manny Machado is already ahead of where he was in 2023

Given that the Padres gave Machado a massive $350 million extension before the start of the 2023 season, the most important thing is that he's on the road to being healthy again. While we don't know for certain if he will be in the field on Opening Day just yet, the fact he was that vocal in proclaiming how much better his arm felt bodes well for his long-term health and availability.

Machado performing well early in camp and feeling good is a great sign for his short-term availability as well. There's certainly a chance San Diego will remain cautious and keep him from playing the defensive side of the ball for a while, but the Padres can absorb the defensive loss given the number of infielders they have.

Assuming he has no setbacks, Padres fans should be feeling pretty good about Machado's chances of being in the lineup on Opening Day. Whether or not his arm will be ready by Opening Day to make those long throws from third on a regular basis is something we won't know until he starts seeing some time in the field this spring, but for now, we'll take the good news here.

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