Manny Machado left Monday's game on a stretcher and the extent of his injury is not yet known. (AP)
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado suffered a major injury in his left leg after singling with one out in the top of the seventh inning against the Rays on Monday afternoon. The injury appeared to occur when Machado's left foot hit the first-base bag, causing the lower part of his left leg to hang loose (GIF below the jump for those with weak stomachs). Machado immediately fell to the ground and grabbed his knee. It will be a while before the doctors are able to diagnose him, but this is obviously a season-ending injury and probably would be even if the end of the year wasn't just seven days away.
Given that the Orioles, who have lost their last four games, were already effectively out of the American League wild-card race (they were leading the Rays 4-2 at the time of the injury, but trailed Tampa Bay by five in the loss column entering this game), the injury won't change the outcome of their season. Still, if the injury is severe enough, it could cost Machado part of next season. If it's a major ACL injury, it could knock Machado out for six months or more. Six months from today is March 23, and Opening Day is less than two weeks after that, so Machado's status for that may soon be in question.
The injury is a painful one for baseball fans of all stripes as Machado is one of the game's brightest young stars. In a season in which he turned 21 in early July, he hit .283/.314/.432 with an American League leading 51 doubles while grading out as the best defensive player in the game for his remarkable glovework at third base. Here's hoping he's back to his old tricks at the hot corner for Baltimore come Opening Day.
Update: Machado is schedule to have an MRI in Baltimore on Tuesday. The Orioles will not offer a public diagnosis until that and other tests are done on Tuesday.