Padres place struggling Manny Machado on IL with fractured hand

Manny Machado was already having a rough season. Now he could be facing some significant time off.

The San Diego Padres placed the All-Star third baseman on the 10-day injured list with a fractured hand, the team announced Friday. Triple-A utility man Brandon Dixon was called up in a corresponding move.

It will be Machado’s first trip to the injured list since 2014, when he was with the Baltimore Orioles.

Machado sustained the injury on Monday during a game against the Kansas City Royals. He left the game in the second inning after taking an 80.8 mph slider to the hand from Royals pitcher Brad Keller.

The severity of Machado’s was initially unclear, and got even more foggy when Padres manager Bob Melvin revealed Wednesday that further imaging had shown a fracture in Machado’s hand, but the team somehow believed it required an IL stint. That position has obviously since changed.

Machado was also seen with a small cast on his left hand while appearing at the announcement of the MLS expansion team in San Diego, in which he will be a minority owner.

Manny Machado’s bad season gets worse for Padres

Machado reportedly wasn’t optimistic about his recovery time Friday, telling Dennis Lin of The Athletic his fractured metacarpal needs to heal and that “It’s not like the ankle stuff last year.”

In the case of that ankle injury, Machado ended up missing nine games over the course of 11 days, but avoided a trip to the injured list that would have given the Padres a free roster spot. Judging from Machado’s words, he will be missing a lot more than 11 days, though it’s also not like he was carrying the Padres this season.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 15: Manager Bob Melvin and trainer Ricky Huerta walk with Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres after he was hit by a pitch on the wrist during the second inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals at PETCO Park on May 15, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Manny Machado could be out a while for the Padres. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Machado currently holds a .231/.282/.372 line at the plate with five homers and worrying peripherals. Based on his batted ball data and strikeout rate, Baseball Savant has him at a .213 expected batting average, indicating his down numbers are more than a product of a month and a half of bad luck.

Meanwhile, the Padres have opened the season with a 20-24 record, already 7.5 games back from the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

None of this is what you want to hear when you’re the team who signed the guy to an 11-year, $350 million contract after he opted out of his previous deal, but the Padres can at least hope his track record carries more weight than short-term struggles and a rare injury. Machado finished second in National League MVP voting last year, and has received MVP votes each of the last three years.

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