At some point, manager Buck Showalter will have his projected lineup intact. It’s just taking a while.
Third baseman Manny Machado missed the first month of the season. He returns and Davis goes on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Now, Wieters is on the shelf.
“Who’s to say this isn’t that team, that isn’t the lineup? Don’t try to tell Steve Pearce that,” Showalter said.
“If you live in that world where woe is me and the sky is falling, it’s harder in the American League because sometimes you have a tendency for guys to sit around for a while. It’s hard to do what Delmon (Young) did last night. I haven’t been able to get him the at-bats he needs to get him to get a good at-bat. That’s a real testament to him and (Jim Presley) and the work they put him. I see all the work that Delmon puts in. That’s part of the gig.
“Who’s to say that other guys can’t become everyday players? The big evaluation challenge for us in the industry is you get a lot of guys that are really good come to the rescue guys, and all of a sudden the water parts and I think they can become an everyday player and you expect them to make the jump. ‘You expect me to do this every day? Really.’ There’s a place for both of those.
“I actually hate being right about the things I told them in the spring and the offseason, that we’re going to need you and you’ve got to stay ready, whether it’s in Norfolk or Baltimore. I hate being able to say, ‘See, I told you so.’ I’d rather say, ‘Hang with us, it’ll be there.’ “
The Orioles were encouraged by Wieters’ MRI results and his visit Wednesday with Dr. James Andrews. However, he’s still not ready to throw and the Orioles needed a roster spot.
“I think we’ll take a two- or three-week period to see if we can get it managed and then he can catch the rest of the year. Or if he’s still having problems with it at the six-week mark, we will have to think about something else. That’s as frank as I can be about it. That’s where we are with it,” Showalter said.
“It can’t be in two or three days. We knew that. Dr. Andrews and our doctors said the same thing. And after talking with Matt, Matt wants to play and contribute. Matt’s going to travel with us during this period. We are fortunate that ownership added a third trainer. It’s one of the advantages of that. It’s valuable to have him with us.”
Wieters kept serving as the designated hitter to keep a hot bat in the lineup, which Showalter says didn’t worsen his condition.
“No, I don’t think so, but we’re not going to run that risk,” he said. “Let’s give it the best chance to heal properly. He wakes up in the morning and feels it there. The one thing that really bothers him doing now is throwing. It’s not some acute pain. He just knows it’s not like it can and should be to catch at the major league level. To get it back where it’s not something he has to think about, we have to give it the best chance to heal properly and make a good decision for this year and beyond.”
Showalter said there’s “a chance” that Wieters never needs surgery on the elbow. The club should know more around July 1.
“Maybe he says, ‘Hey, we’re real close, let’s stay down this road.’ But it’s not like you’re going out and testing it every day,” Showalter said. “There will be a two-week period before he throws, and then we’ll have a better idea what we’re dealing with after that period.
“I’m hoping it’s 15 (days) exactly. That’s the best-case scenario. I’m not closing the door on that.”
The Orioles are checking the market for available backup catchers, their interest intensifying in the past week. However, Showalter is treading lightly on that subject to avoid upsetting players already on the club or in the system.
“What do you say, that I’m not confident at all (in them)?” Showalter asked. “We have some other options down below, too, that we think can help. Nobody’s trying to be Matt, but I think there’s some unknown there. That’s the way we’re going to go. I’m curious like you to find out what it is.
“I know a lot of players are come to the rescue guys, then all of a sudden you make the mistake of thinking they’re more than they are. I don’t feel that way about these two guys.”
Asked about trade options, Showalter replied, “I’m sure Brian Ward and Johnny Monell don’t want to hear the manager talking about that. That’s something for Dan (Duquette). Obviously, I’m not going to insult your intelligence. I know there’s some discussion about that around, but the other question is, you have to be careful about robbing Peter to pay Paul. But it’s not like something you snap your fingers and people are going to bend over and give you what you need.
“Certainly, Dan’s looking at that. I’d be less than honest if I told you we haven’t looked at some options, but we hope we don’t have to go there.”
Davis almost became an after-thought once news broke about Wieters. He’s activated and in the lineup at first base, and Showalter doesn’t think there will be timing issues at the plate following last night’s rehab game at Double-A Bowie.
“No, I’m not expecting that. We wouldn’t activate him,” Showalter said. “I was talking to (Bowie manager) Gary Kendall before I got on the plane and I said, ‘Gary, this field might be wet. If he can’t play nine innings on a damp field or whatever at first base, we’re not going to activate him.’ That’s part of going on rehab.
“It wasn’t a timing thing. It’s not like Chris has been out for two months. It’s actually been less than two weeks hitting. That would be a convenient excuse that I know Chris won’t use. If anything, he was a little fast last night, he and Crow (Terry Crowley) both said. Best thing that happened, he said, was seeing the left-hander, which made him stop and let the ball travel a little bit, which was his best at-bat.”
David Lough is in left field today, his first start and getting his first at-bats since May 3.
“Today, I wanted to get a couple guys out there who haven’t been out there. They need to get out there,” said Showalter, who pinch-hit Young for Lough last night.
“Sometimes, you pinch-hit for a guy in a situation and I kind of like getting his mind back into it the next day.”
Showalter made it back from his son Nathan’s graduation from TCU to manage last night’s game.
“Pretty emotional,” he said. “I acted like I was going to the bathroom, but I had to get out of there for a while. For one, I’m real excited that he’s getting out and graduating. In a lot of ways. And he actually has a job, so it was a proud moment for both of us, his sister (Allie).
“He wasn’t really into college for a while, but he really picked it up the last couple of years. I’m proud of him. He actually graduated a little early. It was a nice day and a real thank you to Mr. (Peter) Angelos for allowing me to make it and make it back.”