BRADENTON, Fla. -- Prior to Thursday's game, manager Buck Showalter hadn't received any word on Manny Machado's appointment with a doctor on his left knee, although he won't be cleared to start playing in games when he returns. Machado's surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, was quoted by ESPN saying Machado's knee is tracking normally and he can continue with his scheduled rehab progression.
"Nothing's changed," Showalter said after the Orioles' game, having been updated on the appointment during the game. "But it's good news to hear someone else say what our training staff is saying."
The Orioles, irked that Machado's appointment was discussed with a national media outlet for a second time, will dictate the schedule moving forward. (Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells did speak with Dr. ElAttrache, but Showalter wasn't sure if that was before or after he was quoted by ESPN.) Machado has been dealing with some discomfort-causing scar tissue and has been unable to run the past week. He would need to continue to progress and begin running again before being cleared to play.
When Machado does start playing games, it is likely that he only appears in Minor League games so the Orioles can backdate the disabled list stint for him to start the season.
O's on verge of signing Ayala for Triple-A depth
BRADENTON, Fla. -- As of Thursday evening, there was no official word on whether the Orioles are signing free-agent pitcher Luis Ayala, although the team is headed that way.
Manager Buck Showalter said he hadn't heard anything prior to the Orioles' night contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that Ayala would not join big league camp. Instead, the veteran right-hander would add depth at Triple-A Norfolk.
Ayala, who pitched for the Orioles in 2012, was released by the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. He appeared in two games for the O's last season before being traded to the Braves.
Gonzalez awaits returning to game action
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Alex Gonzalez has not played since Saturday's game because of a medical issue, with the team awaiting results of recent tests.
Gonzalez had something come up on his physical and the team wanted to check into it so he had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. Manager Buck Showalter said he could play Gonzalez, but wanted to hold off just in case.
"I could play him as early as tomorrow," Showalter said prior to Thursday's game.
The veteran Gonzalez is competing for a bench spot.
Orioles to auction off game-worn hats for charity
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Orioles' game-worn and autographed black and green cartoon bird caps from Wednesday's game are currently being auctioned online at www.orioles.com/auction, to benefit the animal hospitals at Mote Marine Laboratory.
The Sarasota-based hospitals treat sick and injured dolphins, small whales and sea turtles with the goal of returning them to the wild. Fans can learn more about Mote's animal hospitals at the OriolesREACH community booth on the main concourse during the game.
The caps were originally to be worn in honor of St. Patrick's Day on Monday before their split-squad games vs. the Phillies and the Twins were each rained out.
Fans can bid online for these caps from noon Thursday through Monday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.