Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Justin Duchscherer’s hip is fine today and he’ll pitch again Sunday in an intrasquad game. Duchscherer is scheduled to throw three innings if his pitch count allows it.
Showalter doesn’t want Brian Matusz to pitch in relief again and he needs to separate the left-hander from Duchscherer, which explains the intrasquad game.
“That will allow us to control the environment a little bit,” Showalter said.
Also, Derrek Lee’s MRI is scheduled for 4 p.m. today. X-rays taken on Lee’s right wrist yesterday came back negative, and the Orioles expect the same result with the MRI.
“Everything went well with the X-rays yesterday. Everything was good,” Showalter said. “Richie (Bancells) and them don’t expect to find anything else. Just make sure we’ve got everything covered.”
Lee took grounders at first base today.
Showalter confirmed that Luke Scott is the likely replacement at first base if Lee isn’t available on Opening Day, but we’re a long way from that scenario. Showalter is more comfortable with the veteran than Brandon Snyder, Joe Mahoney or Josh Bell, who’s projected to start at third base at Triple-A Norfolk.
“That’s probably the direction we would go,” Showalter said.
Lee wants 20-30 at-bats before the opener. Showalter said he’d be fine with 15 if that ends up being the total.
“He really wants to get on the field,” Showalter said. “He’s been able to do everything and we got real close there, but (the discomfort) is in a whole different area. Keep in mind he had this thing in a splint for two or three months, so there were some muscles that he wasn’t using for a long time.”
Cesar Izturis, receiving treatment on his left ankle, isn’t expected to play tomorrow. The earliest we’ll see him again is probably Friday.
“We’re trying to quiet that down completely,” Showalter said. “It’s a little bit more painful the day after than he thought it would be.”
Showalter isn’t concerned about Jason Berken, who has allowed three runs and four hits, and walked three, in three innings. He noted that Berken’s shoulder hasn’t been an issue.
“I’m OK with the way he’s throwing,” Showalter said. “Mark (Connor) didn’t let him throw his breaking ball much his first outing or two and he got to break it out last time and he was a lot more effective. He’s got an above-average slider.”
Koji Uehara is still scheduled to play catch tomorrow.
“We’ll put a ball in his hand,” Showalter said. “How long it will stay in there, we’ll see.”