A day that started slowly really picked up steam as it progressed into the late afternoon.
Nolan Reimold exited the game with tightness in his right hamstring, and he could go on the disabled list because the Orioles already are playing with a short bench. We learned that Luis Ayala was taken to a local hospital after becoming ill. And manager Buck Showalter confirmed that Miguel Gonzalez will start in New York this weekend, but not because he’s aiming for specific match-ups or concerned about the pitcher’s bruised shin.
Oh yes, and the Orioles are 0-3 in one-run games after going 29-9 last season.
Nate McLouth replaced Reimold in left field in the top of the seventh. Reimold said it was just some cramping and he should be able to play on Monday.
“Hamstring, felt it tighten up,” Showalter said. “Obviously, we’re - no pun intended - a little hamstrung on the bench, so we’re going to sit down and talk about it as soon as we get back.
“We might get someone moving before we get on the plane. When I get back there to talk to Dan (Duquette), I’m sure they’ve got it wired there, the possibilities. We have roster or non-roster guys. We have room there. Wilson (Betemit), we can 60 (day DL) anytime.”
Asked if a three-man bench could more easily push the Orioles to make a roster move, Showalter replied, “Maybe a little bit. But we’d have to be real sure it’s more than a one- or two-day thing. We’re trying to evaluate it now. Dan is going on the trip with us to Boston, I talked to him a little bit
during the game, let him know where we were.”
The news on Ayala came as a shock to reporters who had no idea the reliever was hospitalized. Showalter mentioned it toward the end of his postgame session.
“He came in around the sixth or seventh inning, just didn’t feel well at all. Had some things you normally don’t have and they decided after looking at him, better go check it out,” Showalter said.
“I’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re dealing with. See how things go. It doesn’t look like he’ll
travel with us to Boston right now.”
Gonzalez’s turn comes up in Boston, but he’s being pushed back a few days.
“We’re not matching people up,” Showalter said. “We’re going to have 20-something games in a row. We’ve got an opportunity here. It’s not going to come very often. We’re going to hopefully be pitching him every fifth day for a long, long time. He’s got a chance if he stays healthy to pitch over 200
innings, so we want to have him in good shape for the long haul.
“There’s a lot of reasons. Rick (Adair) has got a real sound base as to what he’s trying to do in the big picture.”
Gonzalez has been feeling under the weather, but that’s true of others in the clubhouse - and one manager. That’s not the reason why he’s being pushed back.
“We’re doing the same thing with a couple other guys, kind of moving them around, get some rest when we can early on,” Showalter said.
It was a bizarre game today, with each team receiving a gift double because of a misplay in the outfield. Reimold and Adam Jones let Justin Morneau’s fly ball drop between them with the bases loaded and two outs in the third, which led to two runs.
“The ball went in the sun, stayed in the sun,” Showalter said. “(Jones) never saw it. He knew it was in that area. It’s one of those things. You can always attack that where if it comes out of the sun you’re in a position to hopefully be close to it. It never came out.
“Nicky (Markakis) had one in the sun moved later in the game, last inning I think it was. Their center fielder (Aaron Hicks) obviously had trouble with one, too.”
Jason Hammel had trouble commanding the ball today, walking three batters and hitting two. He was charged with four runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
“Good stuff,” Showalter said. “He’d have a real good, crisp inning and then he had a couple hit by pitches, two or three walks. He should have been through six scoreless except for the sun, but that’s not going away. We just weren’t able to overcome it. We had some people out there, just couldn’t get a hit. Hits were at a premium today.”
Though a reporter pointed out that a few players didn’t run out balls today and the overall play was sluggish, Showalter disputed that it was a “letdown” day.
“(Alexi) Casilla never saw the ball,” Showalter said. “He thought it was popped up straight behind him. Jonesy’s one of the best in the game at that, so I’m not going there at all. Talking about the ball that was in sun? There’s nothing letdown about that. It’s a ball in the sun, it happens. It’s the game.
“It’s frustrating for us, and sure for Ham, but he came back and made a big pitch. He gave us a real good chance to win today. He could have easily had six or seven shutout innings, but it didn’t happen. That’s part of it.
“We’ve played two series, won one and lost one. But you know, Minnesota is pretty good, too. Very hungry and they have some talented players, too.”
Update: Triple-A Norfolk infielder Yamaico Navarro was removed from Game 2 of today’s doubleheader after two at-bats and replaced by Niuman Romero. Just speculating here, but perhaps he’s the player that the Orioles would recall if Reimold or Ayala goes on the disabled list.
Navarro wouldn’t have to stay down the minimum 10 days if he’s replacing an injured player, and he’s already on the 40-man roster. He could be the fourth bench player if Ayala is sidelined.
Again, it’s just speculation at this point, but I may as well float it.