Second baseman Brian Roberts received an epidural injection in his lower back in St. Petersburg, his third since reporting to spring training, and will be shut down until undergoing a follow-up examination on Tuesday.
Michael Gonzalez threw one inning today in an extended spring training game, which amounted to only seven pitches, and his velocity increased slightly.
We're told that his fastball was clocked at 87 mph after topping out at 85 mph during his previous trip to the mound.
That's a slight increase.
Pitching coach Rick Kranitz has suggested that Gonzalez rejoin the Orioles so he can watch the left-hander throw and determine the next course of action, including a minor league rehab assignment. It beats relying strictly on reports from Sarasota.
Alfredo Simon will throw a simulated game on Sunday and could rejoin the Orioles next week on the West Coast.
If there's another save situation tonight, interim manager Juan Samuel confirmed that David Hernandez is getting the ball.
"Of course," he said. "Stay with the hot hand."
Samuel will try to get Brad Bergesen in a game before the right-hander is completely coated in rust. Samuel doesn't want to use him in the late innings, however, and that raises the degree of difficulty when the starters don't get knocked out early.
I guess that qualifies as a pleasant problem.
Asked if the Orioles might be forced to option Bergesen to Triple-A Norfolk so he can pitch every five days, Samuel said he didn't want to get too far ahead of himself. It's an obvious solution.
Also, the O's/Ravens Rally Caps, presented by MASN, have arrived from the vendor and will be handed out tomorrow to the first 20,000 fans 15-and-over. Probably a little more stylish than the floppy hats, though some of you might be able to rock both of them.