Showalter talks after 2-0 loss (w/note)

SARASOTA, Fla. - I’m still trying to catch my breath after this newsy day, which included significant health updates on Justin Duchscherer, Koji Uehara, Derrek Lee and Brian Matusz.

No Mitch Atkins update? What the heck?

Matusz will fly to Philadelphia early tomorrow morning to have a wart removed from his left middle finger. Manager Buck Showalter pointed to the exact location while trying not to flip us off.


“Plans are for him to fly back tomorrow night,” Showalter said. “There is probably a real technical term for it, but the layman’s term is ‘wart.’ We talked about it some last year, I believe. It’s kind of on the outside of the finger. The only time it comes into play is on a breaking ball when it comes off of that.

“I think the plans are - they could change - for him to take it off tomorrow with some kind of laser procedure, where it’s not that long. He could maybe miss a start. We’ll know a lot more after he gets back from there. We don’t want this thing to be something that really shows its head up in the middle of the season and now he misses more than one start, or even a start in the season. It won’t be anything that he couldn’t come back from.

“At the very worst, the way I understand it, if they see it and analyze what they think they’re going to analyze, he’ll maybe miss a start, probably miss a start to be on the safe side. But if everything goes well, they’ve got a flight back for him tomorrow night.”

The wart surfaced during the second half of the 2010 season, though Matusz continued to pitch.

“We noticed it last year, the last month or two of the season,” Showalter said. “We’re not sure of the exact date God allowed it to come out of his finger. It’s something we’re aware of and it became an issue. He’s feeling it some when the breaking ball is coming off.”

Showalter was impressed with Josh Bell’s performance at first base.

“Good, good,” he said. “He made a nice play in the hole on the double play. He looks pretty comfortable. This isn’t something we just pulled out of the air. We’ve been talking a little bit about it. You look at common attributes of guys who can go over there and play a little bit. He’s got them. It would be a pretty easy transition for him if we ever had to go in that direction.”

Bell was making all the plays at first, but he’s still projected to start at third base at Triple-A Norfolk if he doesn’t make the club as a second utility infielder.

“It actually feels really comfortable out there, so hopefully I get some more chances to get out there,” Bell said.
“You are just involved a lot more. You don’t really realize how close the pitcher is to you. It’s just getting used to things - the pick-offs, holding runners on, being a part of the game more, instead of watching. Usually at third base, a ground ball goes somewhere else and you’re just watching the play. First base, they throw it to you. Just a lot more involvement.”

Showalter confirmed that Koji Uehara received a cortisone injection in his right elbow and again downplayed the significance.

“We were talking about it for a day or two,” Showalter said. “He was scheduled to pitch an inning today. You’ve got so many of those you can take in a given year. He’s feeling fine, throwing the ball good, but after talking to him and the interpreters, the doctors and everybody decided to do it now earlier in camp. During the season, it would be a lot less than a week.

“A lot of times, you get them done during the All-Star break to get them on an off-day. We’ll see. I don’t think he’s going to be out any period of time that would keep him from being ready to go on Opening Day.”

Kevin Gregg threw a scoreless inning today and did a little experimenting in the process.

“He knows where the finish line is and he’s been impressive,” Showalter said. “He’s gotten such quick outs, he threw breaking balls to the third guy in spots where he normally wouldn’t, just to try to get some work in. He could sit around and throw three or four pitches and not really get a chance to work on anything, but that’s kind of the life of one-inning relievers, though he’s capable of pitching more than one inning.”

NOTE: The Orioles agreed to terms with 22 players on one-year contracts, completing their signings for 2011. These are pre-arbitration eligible players.

The list includes Robert Andino, Matt Angle, Jake Arrieta, Josh Bell, Brad Bergesen, Zach Britton, Brandon Erbe, Pedro Florimon, Jake Fox, Luis Lebron, Joe Mahoney, Troy Patton, Nolan Reimold, Adrian Rosario, Alfredo Simon, Brandon Snyder, Chorye Spoone, Craig Tatum, Chris Tillman, Rick VandenHurk, Pedro Viola and Matt Wieters. The Orioles also renewed Jason Berken’s contract after failing to reach agreement.

Speaking of Simon, he’s been granted bail, according to ESPN Deportes.

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