San Diego Padres’ Manny Machado (31) made his presence felt with a blistering back-to-back home runs. Despite being sidelined with a sore elbow, the designated hitter led San Diego to a come-from-behind victory.
Machado started in the No. 4 spot in the lineup and went 2-for-5 with a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run shot in the sixth, his 27th and 28th back-to-back home runs of the season, against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on Wednesday.
Machado led off the fourth inning with San Diego trailing 7-2 and plated Gavin Stone with a solo home run to left-center field. With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Machado hit a two-run homer to right off Stone to make it a 6-7 game. After tying the game with three straight hits in the ensuing at-bat, San Diego pulled away for an 11-8 victory on Juan Soto’s game-winning three-run homer in the ninth. The win erased a five-run deficit.
Machado has started all nine games this month as a designated hitter. He’s been battling a sore right elbow and hasn’t felt comfortable throwing. Second baseman Ha-Sung Kim has started three of the 10 September games at third base. Along with Matthew Batten (6 games) and Rosario Egui (1 game), he filled in for Machado’s defense. Kim has also been solid at third base this year, with 245 runs in 31 games (28 starts) and one error in 245⅓ innings.
After the game, Machado said, according to MLB.com, “I’m considering elbow surgery after the season. I’m looking at all options and seeing what I can do to fix it and make it better.” The tennis elbow condition that has plagued Machado for the past two years is getting worse.
While Machado was coy about the specific surgery, MLB.com explains that tennis elbow is an unrelated injury to the medial collateral ligament, which means that even if surgery were to be performed, the recovery time would be faster than Tommy John.
With San Diego’s postseason chances all but gone, there’s no reason for Machado to delay the surgery. All-around infielder Ha Sung Kim can play third base. But Machado said, “We’re professionals. I’m an athlete, and we train for this moment all year long. When you’re in this position, you have to go out and compete no matter what,” he said, emphasizing his professionalism.
Machado is batting .500 (126-for-500) with 28 homers, 84 RBIs and a .775 OPS in 128 games this season, his worst year since joining San Diego in 2019. He signed an 11-year, $350 million extension with the Padres before the season, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations. As the team slipped to fourth place in the division, Machado has been blamed for the fall.
Injuries have been a problem. In April, he suffered back pain, and in May, he was hit by a pitch, revealing a microfracture in the palm of his left hand that landed him on the disabled list for the first time in nine years. Compounded by a season-ending elbow injury, it’s been a tough season, but Machado is determined to finish it. Even though San Diego has been eliminated from the postseason, Machado is determined to “play until there’s no arithmetic hope left.”