SARASOTA, Fla. - Though the Orioles have avoided serious injuries as they approach today’s exhibition opener, two scratches created unexpected changes in their lineup and rotation.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop is day-to-day with bursitis in his left elbow and Miguel Castro won’t make Sunday’s start against the Red Sox in Fort Myers due to patella tendinitis in both knees. Castro also may be experiencing some back soreness because he’s been stretching out on the clubhouse floor in front of his locker.
Gabriel Ynoa gets the assignment in Castro’s place.
Luis Sardiñas has replaced Schoop at second base for today’s game against the Rays at Ed Smith Stadium. Schoop received treatment on the elbow this morning and wore an ice pack on it while walking back to his locker.
“He bumped it or something and it kind of swelled a little bit,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Actually drained it a little bit, so back off him today. He was originally in the lineup.
“He bumped it on something and he’s not real sure what it was. He hit his elbow on something hard and it kind of swelled up a little bit. They drained it and there wasn’t anything in there except some blood, so they don’t think it’s infected.
“He was scheduled to play tomorrow. We’ll see how it is. I’ve prepared for him not, but I’ve got one (lineup) with him in it, too. He was going to play here.”
The importance of a trustworthy utility player is magnified with Schoop’s condition. The Orioles have plenty of in-house candidates, including Sardiñas, but they’ll keep checking the waiver wire.
“It’s all relative,” Showalter said. “People say, ‘Oh gosh, you need pitching.’ Yeah. Also, that utility role is important. It’s one of those things, you don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have it, so it’s something we’re really going to have to come out of here feeling good about. And not just that guy, but the guy who’s behind him.
“It’s the same thing as, ‘Who’s your backup second baseman? Who’s your backup utility guy? Who’s your backup backup catcher, you know?’ I’ve said all along, the what-ifs. Our depth in the infield has been a challenge. It’s an area we haven’t been able to really produce a lot down below.”
No date has been set for Colby Rasmus’ debut in the outfield.
“I’m going to talk to him today at lunch about what he’s thinking,” Showalter said. “Let him get his feet on the ground for a couple days. I’m going to ask him and tell him what my thoughts are. This guy is an eight- or nine-year veteran. He knows what it takes to get ready. And he’s about as healthy as he’s been. I was really pleased with the physical. He had the hip surgery and that was a really clean MRI and so was the other one, so I think he’s in a good place.”
Former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is at the complex today to work as analyst for today’s broadcast on 105.7 The Fan.
Roberts is expected to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame later this summer. He’s eligible and seems like a pretty obvious vote.
The Orioles are wearing the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team to honor the victims of the shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students and teachers and to show support for the Parkland, Fla. community.
The caps will be authenticated, autographed and auctioned at orioles.com/auctions from 1 p.m. today through March 4 at 6 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting the Broward Education Foundation.
“I know it was important to the organization to do it,” Showalter said. “Greg Bader and the Angelos family were talking about it.
“Wish we could do more. More importantly, I wish we could make it not happen.”