Orioles need more hits and fewer hurts

SARASOTA, Fla. - Let's see whether the Orioles can make it through tonight's game without an injury.

Manager Buck Showalter may want to summon a bunch of poor unsuspecting souls from the minor league camp. Get the regulars out of there after the anthem.

The pitchers may actually be wearing numbers in the 80s and 90s. The Orioles haven't listed a starter to replace injured Steve Johnson, and Showalter indicated yesterday that he could dig deep into the supply at Twin Lakes Park.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays are starting David Price, who will face the Orioles again on opening day.

I've written about how deep the rotation is going to be at Triple-A Norfolk, but not if guys keep getting hurt. Jair Jurrjens is fortunate to only have bruised ribs, assuming today's X-rays don't reveal a break. Johnson's strained lat is more serious, and it's wise to shut him down and look at the big picture, instead of a pitcher who was trying to win the fifth starter's job.

Johnson will pitch for the Orioles in 2013. It doesn't have to be in early April. Get him 100 percent and the rest will take care of itself.

Chris Dickerson also was bitten by the injury bug, leaving last night's game with a strained right Achilles. All he was trying to do was catch a fly ball in the eighth inning that went for a double. He was charged with an error, adding insult to his injury.

At least he didn't plow into Conor Jackson. The Orioles are running out of outfielders.

Has anyone seen Trayvon Robinson? He left the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton with a sore lower back. We were told spasms/cramping. He's been listed among the reserves, but he isn't playing.

Wei-Yin Chen is pitching in a noon minor league game today on the Camden Yards field, either against a Double-A or Triple-A team. Like it matters. I just want him to get through the start without being hit by a line drive or an anvil.

With the Orioles' luck, they'll find out Chen is allergic to peanuts just as a teammate replaces his mouthwash with Jif.

Nick Markakis had two run-scoring singles last night. He continues to bat leadoff, but we probably shouldn't read too much into it. Showalter is trying to get him extra plate appearances before the opener.

Markakis is reminding us again that he doesn't need that many at-bats to get ready for the season. And you were worried!

I won't dump an "I told you so" in your bowl of cornflakes, but Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will open the season at Double-A Bowie. Wrote it all winter and all spring.

This is the kind of pitching depth that the Orioles have craved for years and years. No need to rush the back-to-back No. 1 picks. And Gausman did give up 17 hits in 16 innings. He's not a finished product.

It's a good idea to hustle them out of the major league camp before they accidentally swallow a ping pong ball or get gored by a bull.

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