Showalter speaks after Sunday workout

SARASOTA, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter said pitcher Zach Britton and reliever Jim Johnson are “right where they need to be.” And he didn’t mean Sarasota.

Also, pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada played catch again today and will throw off flat ground from 120 feet tomorrow and throw off a half mound. Exactly one week ago, he had his left elbow drained and received a cortisone injection.

Time flies.

“His arm was working uninhibited today,” Showalter said.

Showalter still isn’t ready to name a leadoff hitter if Brian Roberts can’t play, and he still thinks it’s an overrated subject.

“I’ve got options that I’m considering and you’ve probably got an idea who they are,” he said. “We’ll move some things around, take a look at some different scenarios. You’ve got to keep in mind that Nick’s not going to play for a while, so it’s going to look at lot different when we get him back. But you’ll see a number of guys there.

“If you held a gun to my head and I had to do that right now, I could do it, but I’m going to take a look at the way it feels and the way it looks with some other guys.

“If we’re comparing all of them to Brian Roberts, they’re all going to finish second. We’ve got some guys that we can look at some of the things they’ve brought in the past that are interesting. It may not be a guy who looks like Brian and brings the things he brings. We know it won’t be, but I’m OK with our options.

“He’s assured of hitting leadoff one time (in a game). It’s more about who’s behind who and the way it presents the most challenges for the opposing pitcher.”

Showalter said he’d consider shortstop J.J. Hardy. My guess is Hardy will hit lower in the order.

Nolan Reimold is a possibility if he’s the regular left fielder. Robert Andino could do it, but he’s more likely to bat ninth, which Showalter also deems an important spot in terms of turning over the lineup.

“I actually think the four hole is going to be more of a challenge than the one hole for us to figure out,” Showalter said. “There are certain things that a guy’s assured of when he comes to bat, more often than not.”

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