SARASOTA, Fla. - Why do injuries always seem to crop up late in camp?
Here’s Orioles manager Buck Showalter following today’s 6-5 loss to the Twins:
On David Lough:
“Still don’t like where his hamstring is. I was going to play him in the 10:30 a.m. game over at Twin Lakes today, but he’s not going to be able to play tomorrow, either. He might be a little longer than we thought.”
On back spasms and hamstring soreness:
“They’re really running off of each other. One came from the other, from what I’m told. We’re going to make sure we get that 100 percent resolved before we play him.”
On possibility of disabled list:
“It’s beginning to look like it more than it did. I was hoping we’d get him out there playing today or tomorrow and not have a problem. He wants to get out there. Talking to him and getting him to be real frank with us, I think he’s actually pushing it a little bit where he shouldn’t. He knows some of the decisions going on.”
On whether Lough will undergo tests:
“No, I don’t think so. Nothing planned.”
On Everth Cabrera possibly backing up in center field and other options:
“He’s done well down here. These are the hardest conditions to play the outfield and infield pop-ups. I’ve seen some very good outfielders and infielders looking like a monkey doing you know what. He’s handled it pretty well with those conditions.
“(Alejandro) De Aza’s playing center tomorrow when we’re in Port Charlotte. I want to keep that in mind.”
On whether De Aza is most likely to back up Adam Jones:
“Not necessarily. I think we have some other options, too. Cabrera from what I’ve seen. I want to get Everth back in the infield here a little bit here before we leave and decide where he fits in the shortstop what ifs. We’ll know a lot more about what we’re doing after tomorrow’s MRA.”
(Showalter added that Dariel Alvarerz and Travis Snider aren’t center field options.)
On Julio Borbon:
“The guy I like, who’s about as good a center fielder minus the arm, is Borbon. Borbon can really play center field. I actually talked to him two or three days ago to make him understand he’s on the map here. Borbon was a starting center fielder for a division winner. This kid plays the game right. He can go get the ball in the outfield and he can run the bases. He’s our type of guy. He plays the game right.”
On whether Lough’s injury increases Nolan Reimold’s chances of making the club:
“It enhances everybody’s chances.”
On Miguel Gonzalez’s outing:
“OK. It’s an extremely hitter-friendly day with light air and anything up there is sailing. Kind of helped us, too. Probably a little better outing under normal circumstances. Ended up with 86, 87 pitches. He’s good. Where he needs to be. Feel good about him physically. His cutter was sharp. I don’t think he still quite got the feel for the split that he wants to have.”
On whether Gonzalez will start one of the first three games of the season at Tropicana Field:
“We’re leaning that way. It kind of slots him out the rest of the month where he should be. Like I say, we’ve got a rare opportunity with playing in our division for as much as we do and the track record our starters have there in different venues against different teams and kind of take advantage of that.”
(Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five starts at Tropicana Field. Bud Norris is 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA in six starts against the Blue Jays. I’d expect Gonzalez to break camp as the third starter and Norris to pitch the home opener April 10 against Toronto.)
On whether he’s slotting his starters:
“A couple of ways, just a matter of plugging them in, as soon as we finish off what we’re doing with the fifth spot. We know who the first four are. Depends on who the fifth is. It may change some of the order.”
On whether J.P. Arencibia could land on the minor league DL:
“I hope not. They’re still quite a ways away. I think he’ll heal better down there (in the minors). He’ll get a chance to rehab it over there.”
On Manny Machado:
“Got to play Manny nine innings. Try to keep him out there for a while. The guys that aren’t going with us tomorrow. A little sidebar, Manny played nine innings. First time in a long time.”
While projecting the opening day roster, again keep in mind that first baseman Chris Davis has one more game to serve on his suspension. Showalter has stated that he’d probably carry an extra position player.
One possibility is to break camp with De Aza, Jones, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy, Jonathan Schoop, Delmon Young, Caleb Joseph, Ryan Lavarnway (or another backup catcher), Ryan Flaherty, Everth Cabrera and Jimmy Paredes. Someone would be dropped for Davis before the second game.
Reimold remains on the camp roster and can’t be dismissed. I just didn’t include him in the above scenario, but you get the idea.
So how did Gonzalez feel about his 5 2/3 innings today? Glad you asked.
“Overall, good,” he said. “I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to. A couple of mistakes, but really I know it’s still spring training, working on some stuff. Got to execute my pitches when I need to.
“Toward the end, (Chris) Tillman talked to me and told me I was throwing down a little bit on my off-speed, and then I speeded up and I felt a lot better. But the guys weren’t getting good swings after the third inning, so I felt pretty good at the end.”
Gonzalez has one more start this spring and most likely will take the mound Friday against the Braves in Sarasota.
“Hopefully, go to 90, 95 pitches and get ready for the season,” Gonzalez said.
Asked whether he’s confident that he’s done enough to make the rotation, Gonzalez smiled and said, “We’re still here. We don’t think about that. We’re just trying to do our best performance every time we get the ball and get a chance to pitch.”
Gonzalez issued his first walk of the spring to snap an impressive streak.
“I wasn’t thinking about it,” he said. “I was trying to throw strikes. That’s my main goal, and keep going at it and get to those deep innings.
“Everyone talks about it. We don’t want to go out there and start walking guys all over the place. I’d rather get hit. If we get hit we got a chance to make plays. That’s why we have a good team and our defense is really good. We feel good. We have a pretty good chance to make some plays.”