Orioles first baseman Chris Davis walked past the magnetic lineup board this morning and reacted in mock horror after noticing that his name no longer appeared on it. He placed it over Nick Markakis’ name at first base and jokingly wondered whether anyone would notice. Then he moved it to the spot reserved for bench players.
Still not happening.
The Orioles will place Davis on the 15-day disabled list and most likely announce a corresponding roster move on Tuesday. They don’t have a game on Monday.
Left-hander Troy Patton must return to the roster on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter confirmed that the Orioles would have 25 players for the opening game against the Pirates at Camden Yards.
Unless third baseman Manny Machado comes off the disabled list, the Orioles probably will recall left-hander T.J. McFarland for one day and option him on Wednesday. McFarland wouldn’t have to stay in the minors for the minimum 10 days, since he’d be replacing an injured player.
Showalter was asked again about the possibility of Machado, who’s starting at third base today in Frederick, joining the Orioles before the weekend.
“Same thing I told you yesterday. He’s going to play today and we’ll see where we are at the end of the day,” Showalter said. “I think the biggest part of that equation is going to be what Manny thinks. I don’t call him every day, like I said, and ask him. I think he appreciates the heck out of that. He’ll know.
“We’re a lot closer than we were. The options are he plays there again tomorrow, he takes tomorrow off and joins us (Tuesday) or continues to play in Norfolk. Those are basically the options we have at hand.
“Manny might be another four or five days, six days, a week. I don’t think it is fair to say it’s going to be in this realm. It’s not fair to Manny. It’s Manny’s move. It has nothing to do with the Chris Davis move in my mind. That’s a mistake on our part if we’re trying to piggyback that on him. Whether Chris is on the disabled list has nothing to do with the baseball decision on Manny. It’s a baseball decision now. The at-bats.”
Davis is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 12, but that’s an optimistic timetable. Showalter hasn’t offered specifics on the MRI results, but he said the oblique strain isn’t the highest grade, so that’s a positive. We’re assuming it’s a Grade 2 strain.
“Chris has never had this before, which is good, but he doesn’t have anything to gauge it by,” Showalter said. “If you go through the studies through the years, there’s three types - low, medium and high. I’m not sure the terminology, but there are three levels of it. Where they think it is is not the highest level.
“The average time is a pretty definitive time that’s kind of followed through the years. It depends on where we caught it. But to answer your question, I’m hopeful on the 11th. I’m not expecting it. It wouldn’t be very smart to think it’s a given.
“Unlike the past, we’ve come a long way with these things. You can test it to see if it’s ready for baseball. Baseball testing, so to speak. Going out on the field and hitting, whatever, without having a setback to see if it’s healed. Chris told me yesterday, ‘I’ve always been a very fast healer.’ We’ll see, but the normal time on these things is more than the DL period, but we’ll see.”
Markakis is starting again at first base in Davis’ absence. The Orioles are checking on available first basemen outside the organization.
“Yes, there are other people,” Showalter said, “but nobody yet that we like better than the options we have in-house. Yet.”
Jemile Weeks is leading off again today after having a single, triple and run scored in last night’s debut.
“He’s got a little bit of a track record against some of the people we’re facing.” Showalter said.
“Jemile has some versatility. He doesn’t have a big split from either side of the plate, so he’s a threat on both sides. He can bunt from both sides. He’s got a very similar game. I know from trying to defend him in the past, he’s got a little (more) pop than people think he does. He’s strong. And he makes people hurry in the infield.
“I’ve said many times, when you make professional athletes play the game at a pace they’re not used to in any sport, that’s where the mistakes happen. When you have to hurry. And he makes people want to know where he is, what’s he doing, what’s he getting ready to do.”
Weeks worked Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie for nine pitches last night before his leadoff single in the first inning.
“I don’t know about you, but I would have been whaling at the first thing that was moving,” Showalter said. “Good hitters take the emotion out of the at-bat. So many pitchers feast on people having emotional at-bats. They go softer.”
Down at Triple-A Norfolk, Kevin Gausman was removed from last night’s game after 75 pitches. He was working on a shutout through 4 2/3 innings.
Tides manager Ron Johnson offered a favorable report to Showalter.
“It looks like they’re holding him to 75 pitches,” Showalter said. “RJ said he had stuff to go real deep in that game.”
Gausman is on a strict pitch count.
“So the potential is there for him to pitch in October, September, get a head of it and not wait until late and have to shut him down,” Showalter said. “Trying to get where we don’t have that issue if we get to where we’re trying to get. Don’t want to wait until August.”
Bud Norris still is expected to start Wednesday against the Pirates after throwing in the bullpen today. His hamstring is fine.