Orioles manager Buck Showalter sent Robert Andino to the plate in the fifth inning last night with instructions to bunt a strike. The Orioles trailed by two runs and had two runners on base with no outs after back-to-back walks from Royals starter Danny Duffy.
Andino offered at the first pitch, a high fastball, and popped it up for a double play.
The bunt made perfect sense with the tying runs on base and no outs, but Andino wasn’t supposed to go after a pitch out of the strike zone. And he wasn’t going to take whatever pitch Duffy threw, possibly fall behind 0-1 and then attempt to bunt.
Take a ball, offer at a strike.
Andino and Felix Pie will serve as the leadoff hitters in Brian Roberts’ absence, depending on the opposing pitcher. It’s Pie tonight against Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar.
Showalter said he prefers keep J.J. Hardy lower in the order, in part because the Orioles’ shortstop doesn’t bring the same speed as Andino and Pie.
Pie was questionable earlier today after going to the dentist, which prevented Showalter from posting the lineup until around 3:45 p.m.
Roberts was a man of few words while meeting with reporters at his locker earlier today. His frustration over being on the disabled list and shut down was evident.
Roberts said he’ll do some physical therapy over the next two weeks, including riding a bike, but no baseball activities are scheduled.
Asked how he took the news yesterday from a concussion specialist that he should be shut down for two weeks, Roberts replied, “I have no idea, minus the fact that I can’t play today. I guess we’ll just go from there. I don’t know how to quantify that news.”
How is he feeling?
“It comes and goes.”
Is he frustrated?
“It’s a part of life. You take the good with the bad, so you just try to stay positive and take it day by day.”
Are the symptoms still milder than last year?
“Yeah, they’re not as bad as they were last year. I think they’re diminishing a little bit.”
Catcher Craig Tatum is in Baltimore, but he hasn’t been recalled. Matt Wieters won’t start tomorrow afternoon’s game, so Tatum could join the 25-man roster. Otherwise, look for him in Oakland.
For the Royals:
Alex Gordon LF
Melky Cabrera CF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Billy Butler DH
Wilson Betemit 3B
Matt Treanor C
Chris Getz 2B
Alcides Escobar SS
Luke Hochevar RHP