ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter looked ahead at the upcoming pitching matchups and figured that he needed to get Steve Pearce in the lineup today as the designated hitter against Tampa Bay’s David Price.
The Orioles may not face another left-hander for a while, and Showalter didn’t want Pearce to sit for too long.
“It looks like we’re going to go quite a while, the equivalent of about 10 days if you go back to the last time Stevie played in a game, before we face a left-hander,” Showalter said. “Stevie can hit right-handers, too. Don’t get me wrong. But if he doesn’t play today ...
“I’m not one of those guys who says you have to play what people consider your lineup on opening day. This game counts as much as Game 110 and it’s a tough proposition with Price, but we think it puts our best foot forward. Plus, I don’t want Stevie sitting around for 10 days, as well as he’s been swinging the bat.
“Same way with (Ryan) Flaherty and (Alexi) Casilla and (Taylor) Teagarden. I’m going to try to work them in in the early part of the season so everybody can get started.”
Wilson Betemit would have gotten most of the starts against right-handers, but he’s on the disabled list with a Grade 2/3 tear in his right PCL. There won’t necessarily be a primary left-handed hitting DH while he’s injured.
“It will vary,” Showalter said. “That’s the whole idea. Because of the versatility of our roster, it might be (Adam) Jones DHing one day, it might be Nicky (Markakis), it might be Brian Roberts, it might be (J.J.) Hardy. It could be anybody. We can move that around depending on the needs of the players. And not only the players that are playing, but the guys who are over here on the bench.
“That’s my fault, and shame on me, if a guy sits over here for 10 days and then we start questioning why he can’t contribute. That’s a hard proposition.”