SARASOTA, Fla. - This is my final spring training blog entry from Sarasota. The next time you hear from me, I’ll be filing early Wednesday morning from the Marriott at the Tampa airport before stumbling to my gate for a 6:45 a.m. flight home.
Now if I could only remember where I parked my car seven weeks ago. And my address.
Here’s manager Buck Showalter on the decision to place Tsuyoshi Wada on the 15-day disabled list:
“Wada will probably take a minimum of two outings. He’ll stay here. Report Thursday and take a minimum of two starts here in spring, a simulated game. Try to get him to 90 pitches twice. See if we can build up his endurance and arm strength from the setback he had a little earlier. He’s progressing well and hopefully we can get that done shortly. I like what I’ve seen from him. He’s moving along real well. I think he’s going to help us when he gets to 100 percent.
“It’s very important for us for him to start at 100 percent and equipped for him to do what we need him to do this year for us. It’s a long season and a couple of starts here will hopefully get him where he needs to be in trying to be fair to him and the club he’s about to join.
“He threw well. He’s getting there. He’s going to help our club. I feel good about the way he’s going to contribute for us once we get him where he needs to be. He’s close, but he’s not physically where he needs to be. The good part is we have the elbow issue completely resolved. We just need to cross that last threshold. We just need a a little more time with him.”
For now, Wada is still viewed as a starter.
“That’s the way we will approach it down here the rest of the way,” Showalter said. “We’ll see what the needs of the club are when he’s able to meet both sides of it.”
The Orioles simply need Wada to build up his arm strength “and make sure he can present himself the same ways as in Japan that made him such a desirable piece for us,” Showalter said.
“We could push the envelope if we wanted to, but I don’t think it’s fair to him and to the team. But we also want him to be equipped to be able to present himself like he’s capable of. I think it will be worth the wait.
“We could have pushed the envelope on it, but my experience and everybody else’s in the room, in the past you end up regretting that if you don’t take advantage of it. We’d like to take him. It’s tough, but physically he’s just not quite there yet.”
I asked whether we could assume that Brian Matusz was in the rotation.
“I wouldn’t,” Showalter said. “You guys can project all you want, but I’m really not going to go there until I get a chance to talk to him. There are a lot of moving pieces until everything with other potential things go on. I know what I plan on if things don’t change between now and 5 p.m. tomorrow.”
One reason Pat Neshek was reassigned: He’s out of minor league options. If the Orioles put him on the 40-man roster, he’d have to clear waivers to be sent down later.
Showalter is confident that Neshek will make it to Baltimore later this season.
“Talking to Pat, going through the history, it’s the first time in a while that little by little his increments have jumped even since last year in San Diego,” Showalter said. “Listening to him talk today, we think he can impact our club this year. I’m happy that we have him.
“Since I’ve been here, we’re doing things with the pitching we haven’t been doing. It’s going to be intriguing picking up that Triple-A report. I can rattle off 10-12 names you’re looking forward to seeing how they’re pitching. He’s not very far back from a guy who was very effective in the big leagues. He has the Tommy John behind him. He’s crossed that threshold you wait on with the time removed from it. He touched 90 this year and that’s something he hasn’t done in a while.”