SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are catching Caleb Joseph and Austin Wynns in today’s intrasquad game and they’re using Audry Perez and Chance Sisco as designated hitters. Andrew Susac will settle for being in the clubhouse instead of a hospital bed.
Susac returned to the facility earlier this week after missing Sunday’s workout and being treated for a staph infection. Today marked the first time that the media saw him at his locker.
“Way better,” he said. “Two days ago really was a big breakthrough and they discharged me from the hospital. Got a lot of nasty stuff out and started on the healing process, but kind of had to let it take its toll and try a different antibiotic to see if they could get the swelling to go down.
“Started to get pretty out of control there, started to scare me a little bit. But other than that, they were just testing for MRSA and some of the worst things you can get, I guess. All in all, it looks like I lucked out there.”
Susac said an ingrown hair, mistaken for an insect bite, created a serious medical issue.
“I woke up in the morning and I saw a little redness there and I didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “In a hotel room, anything can happen. But I come out there and I play and I don’t know if it’s the humidity and wearing your sliders all day and a cup, but I come back in and it looks a little more red.
“I’m stubborn, I don’t want to go back to the training room. I’ve been there. So I go home, I come back here the next day and it was really painful. I made it through the day somehow and come back in, see the trainers, and it wasn’t good. They put me on an oral antibiotic, kind of marked it off to see where the infection was. I came in the next morning and it had almost doubled or tripled in size and they sent me to the hospital to try to get this thing stopped.”
The symptoms included a high fever.
“You’re talking the sweats,” he said. “I was sweating, probably (temperature) over 100. I’ve had it before. In ‘15, I had a root canal infection. Root canal went bad on me and the same type of deal. You start getting those body chills. No good, no good.
“I came in the next day. I probably played with it for two days too long and I came in the next day and it had doubled or tripled in size and they instantly sent me over there. Went and did that, and finally I’m back here.”
Susac must wonder what he needs to do in order to catch a break.
Three trips were made to the disabled list last season while playing for the Brewers. Recurring headaches put him on the shelf for a while and required medication and an oxygen tank. He tries to take a step forward and checks for potholes.
“I think of it like, I try to be positive with everything, but at the same time this is three years in a row now,” he said. “If I had spring training in the batting cages back home, I’d be all right, and then I come here and it seems like the first week of spring someone’s (like), ‘No, you aren’t playing.’
“Luckily, this is not a thing that’s going to keep me out too long. I’m glad it happened now versus like last year where it’s happening in the middle of games and you’re missing a big chunk of games. Hopefully, I’ll be back the next couple of days here in full action.”
Susac is competing for a backup role behind Joseph, the projected starter. He can’t afford to fall behind, but there are plenty of Grapefruit League games to be played, beginning with Friday afternoon’s opener against the Rays at Ed Smith Stadium.
“Now I’m really glad I came out eight days early and got to catch a lot of these guys before we got going,” Susac said, “but I think I was pretty close to catching most of the guys out there so, it’s just catching at the end of the day. We’re all going to get comfortable.
“I’m glad I’m not missing games. The last day I was here we went over first and third defense, we did the bunts. I’ve just got to catch up on some sign stuff and get going from there, but I don’t think I lost too much time.”