We’ll find out later today whether shortstop J.J. Hardy and first baseman Chris Davis can avoid the disabled list and get back into the lineup. Hardy will have a CT scan on his left ankle. Davis will have an MRI on his right shoulder.
Manager Buck Showalter will have more challenges filling out his lineup card.
Will he need another shortstop and leadoff hitter tonight?
He used Robert Andino for both roles last night, and he could do the same thing tonight. He also put Felix Pie atop the order when Hardy was on the disabled list with a strained oblique, and the Blue Jays are starting right-hander Brandon Morrow tonight.
We could see Andino at short and Blake Davis at second base. I’m not sure that Showalter is comfortable with Cesar Izturis at short. The reports on Izturis’ defense at Double-A Bowie weren’t particularly good, one reason why the Orioles wanted him to go back on his injury-rehab assignment. They also believed that he needed more at-bats.
If you’re trying to keep track of the Orioles’ rotation, I can confirm four starters - Jeremy Guthrie, Alfredo Simon, Tommy Hunter and Chris Tillman.
Zach Britton was scheduled to start Tuesday night against the White Sox at Camden Yards, but he’s been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left shoulder. Jake Arrieta will go on the disabled list today to make room for Tillman. Brian Matusz remains at Triple-A Norfolk. Brad Bergesen is changing diapers and roles, going back to the bullpen.
The Orioles will need a starter for Tuesday night. It’s possible that they run a promotion where the “Fan of the Game” is given a spot start.
A less drastic, in-house solution, would involve Bergesen, Chris Jakubauskas or new left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes.
Troy Patton retired the first nine batters he faced last night, but the first three reached in the top of the eighth inning. Only one run scored, however, after Jakubauskas replaced him.
Patton made two starts at Norfolk to begin the season, followed by 15 relief appearances. Should he also be considered?
It’s amazing to me that Patton has gone from being buried in the organization to receiving high praise from Showalter after last night’s loss.
“I thought he threw the ball real well,” Showalter said. “The only reason why we stayed in that ballgame. Troy’s been pitching pretty well here. I’m proud of him.”
Looks like he’s back on the radar.
Yesterday morning, I passed along Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin’s comments on Tillman. Today, I’m giving you Griffin’s take on Matusz, who is being honored tonight with a bobblehead (for the first 20,000 fans 15 and older) that he’s not here to receive.
Is Matusz making progress?
“I think he has,” Griffin said. “He had a real bad start here about three starts ago, a day game. It was real hot. But a lot of positives came out of it. Overall, he’s done something better with each outing that he’s made. The ball’s coming out of his hand a lot better. A lot better.”
(I’ll pause here to acknowledge one of our favorite phrases.)
“His delivery now is much more athletic,” Griffin said. “Everything is starting to be put together with him. Now it’s a matter of just going out and just being consistent right now, and he’s on the right track.
“His velocity is a little bit better. That’s also making some progress. He’s not absolutely perfect, but he’s starting to make strides.”
Shameless plug alert: I’m appearing on “Wall To Wall Baseball” today from noon to 2 p.m. on MASN. Tom Davis and Dave Johnson will do their best to make me look good.