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Manny Machado’s ‘spring training’ progression includes day off for Padres star

Manny Machado was talking Friday night about his progression toward once again being an everyday third baseman as he works back from October elbow surgery.

“It’s a little bit like spring training, how you kind of ramp up,” he said that night. “Obviously, in spring training, you get to play three innings and then five and then seven. Unfortunately you can’t do that (in the season).”

He went out the next two days and played nine innings at third.

On Monday, he rested.

“It sounds odd to say, because he’s been with us every day and taking at-bats,” manager Mike Shhildt said. “But if you look at it from the field perspective, and how much he’s been on his feet and back-to-backs … he’s basically in kind of in his second week-ish in spring training mode. We talked about what a day off would look like and just continually (kept) the conversation open, and today turned out to be that day.”

Donovan Solano, who had his contract selected from Triple-A El Paso on Sunday, will make his Padres debut in Machado’s place. Solano, a right-handed hitter, was the choice over utility infielder Tyler Wade, who bats left-handed, because the Padres are facing Cubs left-hander Justin Steele.

Monday is the first time this season outside his four days off to be with his wife for the birth of their son last month that Machado has not been in the lineup.

Not even serving as DH on Monday allowed him to take it easier in the cage and give his entire body more of a rest.

He just returned to playing third base on April 26, the day he returned from paternity leave. Sunday was his ninth game there and his second time playing the position on back-to-back days.

Machado had surgery on Oct. 3 to repair a torn extensor tendon in his right (throwing) elbow. It is an injury caused by repetitive motion, and the repaired portion of his elbow is taxed more by throwing than swinging.

Early in spring training, Machado was on a throwing progression that appeared to have him on track to begin the season at third base. He was working daily at third in drills and making every throw at close to full strength. But in early March, before he appeared in a spring training game, Machado was shut down. He did not resume throwing until the end of that month, and the Padres slow-played his buildup the second time around.

“I’m on my schedule, and I’m just playing by ear and just seeing how my arm feels day by day,” he said over the weekend. “… It’s a new rehab progression for our training staff. They’re handling it well. They’re seeing how I come back the next day, how I react … It’s just playing it by ear. At the end of the day, it’s how I feel and go from there.”

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