Wada ready for rehab assignment

MINNEAPOLIS - Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada threw seven scoreless and hitless innings today at extended spring training. He didn't issue a walk, struck out 10 and hit two batters.

Wada, who threw 88 pitches, is ready to go on an injury-rehab assignment. His next start will be with one of the Orioles' affiliates.

"He hit two guys. That's good to see," Showalter said. "That tells me he's feeling pretty good about his fastball in.

"(Scott) McGregor has seen all his outings. That was kind of the one we were waiting for. He'll take an extra day, and his next start will be in the minor leagues somewhere. He's got to be pretty excited to get out of Sarasota.

"He picked a guy off. That must have been one of the hit-by-pitches."

Wada is approaching the one-year anniversary of the ligament-reconstructive surgery on his left elbow, which took place on May 11, 2012.

Showalter said Wada could "potentially" use all 30 days of his rehab assignment. Wada isn't eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list until the end of the month.

The Orioles will make sure that Wada and Miguel Gonzalez aren't assigned to the same affiliate. They could pitch on the same day in different cities.

Adam Jones underwent X-rays on his left foot that came back negative after he fouled another ball of it during last night's game against the Royals at Camden Yards. Jones remains in tonight's lineup.

"I was thinking about DHing him today, but he didn't want any part of that," Showalter said.

"You're always concerned, but every hitter runs that risk. I was a little frustrated that he didn't have the foot pad on. I think you're going to see him wearing that. But you know Adam. He doesn't want to wear all that stuff. Some guys find it cumbersome. But what I find real cumbersome is when you break your foot.

"It's just a product of the way they pitch him. I bet you it happens again. It seems to happen every night to somebody. It's part of the roll of the dice every day out there. Something could happen in batting practice. That's why it's remarkable when I look back and see a guy who played 162 games last year, especially the position he's playing and the way he plays the game.

"Yesterday, we scored a run because he ran a ball out to first base. It probably didn't get noticed a whole lot, but if he's half a step slower like most guys effort-wise, the first baseman has time to tag him. And he didn't."

Showalter downplayed the possibility of Alexi Casilla abandoning switch-hitting and batting exclusively from the right side, an idea that hitting coach Jim Presley presented to the veteran infielder.

"I don't think abandon is the word," Showalter said. "Jimmy was looking at it some. Not at this point. Not yet. He's pretty close career-wise, with his averages. So, I don't know. It's something where, like, every guy you kick things around, but I don't think we know him well enough to say for sure.

"I'm not there yet. I'm hoping he has three hits tonight left-handed. It's not like there's a huge split difference between the two. I don't think we have enough sampling to be making those decisions right now. It's not like it's his first year in the big leagues, I'm not going to throw that out there tonight. I hope tonight is the start of some really good things for us from that standpoint.

"He asked me about it, and I said 'We'll support you any way you want to go.' But I think he's going to hit left-handed tonight. I'm pretty sure."

Casilla will start again Sunday against Twins left-hander Scott Diamond.

"I want Alexi to get two out of three days here," Showalter said. "I'd like to get Alexi more than just one day out of seven, eight, nine days. I don't think we've really been able to see him play. I'd like to see him get eight or nine at-bats in a couple games, and another part is it should be a place where he is comfortable in these surroundings."

Nick Markakis is the designated hitter again tonight, but it's not a health-related decision by Showalter.

"Him as opposed to who?" Showalter said. "Nate (McLouth), we're giving him some time against left-handed pitchers. Jonesy will break out in hives DHing. He will again this year. It just kind of fit. We wanted to get Chris (Dickerson) back out there. He has had a few at-bats here and done well. Also, look at an off-day coming up and a left-handed pitcher on Sunday. It's just a good fit for us."

Major League Baseball won't allow Markakis and the Twins' Trevor Plouffe to use black bats with a pink label on Sunday as part of breast-cancer awareness. Both players' mothers are cancer survivors.

The black bats are made by MaxBat Inc., a Minnesota-based company. Many players will be using the pink bats produced by Louisville Slugger, which has the exclusive manufacturing rights.

"I don't know all the particulars, so I should probably stay away from it," Showalter said. "I know Nick's got a pure heart about it for the right reasons, which he seems to always do. You've got a bat you want to use for two reasons. One, you like the way the bat feels and you've had good luck with it in your career. And it also means a lot to you.

"I'm sure there are two sides of the story. Guess who I'll support?"

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