Machado returns to O's lineup on Saturday

Machado returns to O's lineup on Saturday

SEATTLE -- Manny Machado was not in Friday's lineup for the fourth consecutive game, but the Orioles third baseman improved enough to be an available bench player, and Machado was back in the lineup on Saturday batting seventh.

"I could use him if I had to," manager Buck Showalter said of Machado, who has been sidelined with back spasms. "With the day game [Saturday] and the quick turnaround, he's a lot better. He's very close ... I think you will see him start Saturday or Sunday."

The 22-year-old came through pregame batting practice and infield Thursday with no issues. He's just waiting to be 100 percent so that this issue doesn't linger.

"The pain is getting less and less every day. We are just trying to be pain free before I get out there," Machado said. "Also, we are trying to not get in a situation we don't want to be in, which is go out there and get hurt again, which would push us back further along. So, we are going to treat it while it's going well. It's going well, so we are going to keep treating it and try to get it 100 percent and try to help the team."

Machado said his back has responded well to the rest and treatment, and the Orioles are trying to get in front of the injury -- which he called "an annoying feel" -- so he can play out the season.

"I want to eliminate it so it's not an issue at any other point this season," said Showalter, who has been using Ryan Flaherty at third base in Machado's absence.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.