CINCINNATI - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he didn’t intentionally pair left-hander Wade Miley with catcher Caleb Joseph again tonight. There are other circumstances beyond how they’ve bonded. Don’t read too much into it.
Told that this is the third time they’ve been together, Showalter replied, “Is it really? OK. Not by design. But I know he likes throwing to both of them.
“We decided last night we wanted to give Welington (Castillo) a day. He’s caught like nine of the games on the road and we’d like to have him full speed tomorrow. Plus, he gives us a really good option off the bench, especially a guy against left-handed pitching. I almost didn’t play him yesterday. He got a foul ball off the inside of his palm and he was pretty sore yesterday. We want to make sure he’s ready for tomorrow.”
So no personal catchers on this team.
“That’s not going to develop here,” Showalter said. “Not going to have a pitcher come in and tell me who they want to throw to. It hasn’t happened, but I’ve seen that in the past with teams and that’s a recipe for excuses and it’s not going to happen. Trust me.
“Caleb needs to catch and stay connected with that because you’re a foul tip away from him doing a lot more than catching once a week.”
The two biggest pieces of news today involved left-hander Jayson Aquino getting Saturday night’s start against the Red Sox at Camden Yards and outfielder Seth Smith becoming more of a possibility for the disabled list.
Smith’s right hamstring hasn’t improved since he exited Tuesday’s game in the sixth inning.
“About the same, about the same,” Showalter said.
“It’s not any worse. Depends if it’s half empty or half full, right? If there’s not some improvement between now and tomorrow, we’ll have to think about making an adjustment.”
Outfielder Joey Rickard is headed in the opposite direction with his sprained left middle finger.
“Joey hit flips today, meaning the ball was moving toward him instead of staying stationary, so that was good,” Showalter said. “Throwing isn’t going to be an issue. I think he feels like he could do that right now. It makes (his return) a lot more imminent.”
Rickard’s injury rehab assignment, which will follow live batting practice Friday or Saturday, shouldn’t last more than two days.
Chris Tillman remains scheduled to start Saturday at Single-A Frederick as his right shoulder continues to improve. He’s just been experiencing “normal stiffness that starters have between starts,” Showalter said.
Closer Zach Britton’s left forearm is improving daily.
“Zach’s coming along well,” Showalter said. “I know he’s just having an MRI just because that’s what they want to do.”
Center fielder Adam Jones declined to talk about pieing Ubaldo Jiménez during the pitcher’s postgame interview on MASN. He couldn’t believe that it’s become a story, though the club basically took away the ritual last year due to injury concerns.
If that sounds ridiculous, consider that someone must have ended up in the training room or it wouldn’t be an issue.
Showalter agreed that it’s a non-story and claimed that he knew nothing about it until this afternoon.
“They’re actually talking about it? He didn’t do me,” Showalter quipped.
“I didn’t know anything about it. I guess I should look into it. That’s really noteworthy? I know someone has asked you to ask that question. I’ll handle it. We always do.”
Update: Jonathan Schoop homered with two outs in the second inning, his third of the season, to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
Update II: Wade Miley retired the first 11 batters before Joey Votto homered to tie the game 1-1.
Miley has retired 17 of 19, allowing the one hit and walking a batter. He’s struck out six.