Duchscherer’s start in question

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are making contingency plans in case Justin Duchscherer is unable to start Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Phillies in Clearwater.

Duchscherer is being shut down for 48 hours while dealing with a sore hip. The Orioles will re-evaluate him before determining his status for Wednesday.

“We’ll see what the next step is where he’s concerned,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There are no tests scheduled at this point. We’ll just kind of see what we’re dealing with in the next day or two.”

The club is obviously hoping that it’s just normal soreness, but Duchscherer has undergone three hip surgeries, and he made only five starts last year.

“We certainly came into his situation with a lot of knowledge from a history standpoint and some of the challenges he’s had with his hip,” Showalter said. “We’ll see. Hope for the best. Stay positive on it until I hear something different.”

Showalter didn’t indicate that the club would need to find another starter if Duchscherer or another rotation candidate is lost for a significant period of time.

“I’m comfortable with our depth,” he said. “We’ll see where it takes us. I don’t think we’re far enough down that road to feel like Duke is not part of that depth. Ask me that again in 48 hours. But I think we’ve got some good candidates in camp, obviously with him being one of them.”

Pitcher Mitch Atkins will have an MRI on his left oblique. It’s getting a little better, but he’s not making enough progress two weeks into camp.

Showalter noticed that Brian Roberts had a “good look on his face” during today’s workout.

“You can tell he felt a lot better,” Showalter said.

Derrek Lee is still expected to take batting practice tomorrow after only participating in fielding drills today. His thumb was a little tender after hitting on the field yesterday.

“He had the normal soreness, a little puffiness that was expected,” Showalter said. “We’ll see where we are with it tomorrow. But the plan is for him to hit again tomorrow and every other day for a little while.”

Showalter thought about allowing Lee to play defense in tomorrow’s intrasquad game, but he decided against it.

The game will last eight innings and each pitcher will be on a strict pitch count. Players will have the green light to run and bunt.

“I don’t think there will be any take signs,” Showalter said.

Nolan Reimold put on a show in batting practice today.

“We’ll need a loan to pay for the balls,” Showalter said.

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