Updating Beckham, Scott optioned and more

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles third baseman Tim Beckham left today’s game prior to the top of the third inning after tweaking his groin and he isn’t expected to play on Friday.

Manager Buck Showalter said Beckham, who hit a two-run homer in the second, came out as a precaution. He’s hoping that Beckham will get back in the lineup before the team breaks camp.

Tim-Beckham-swing-orange-sidebar.jpgBeckham raced toward the line to field Blake Swihart’s grounder in the top of the second and threw across his body for the out, one of the finest plays he’s executed this spring. Danny Valencia replaced him in the third and Beckham walked to the clubhouse without an athletic trainer.

The Orioles optioned left-hander Tanner Scott to Triple-A Norfolk today to leave their camp roster at 37 players. The total can be pared to 34 when eliminating Zach Britton, Gabriel Ynoa and Mark Trumbo.

Scott has been told that he’s starting at Triple-A Norfolk. He made seven relief appearances this spring and allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings with only two walks and seven strikeouts.

Jimmy Yacabonis was optioned earlier today to Norfolk, and he’s going to work multiple innings while the club toys with the idea of making him a starter.

I wrote over the winter that the possibility of changing his role was under consideration.

“Yac’s going to take some extended innings,” Showalter said. “I wouldn’t really call it starting, but you could construe it as that.

“We’ve got some people who would like to see him potentially start. As he’s gotten more online with his delivery and taking stress off his shoulder ... One of his points of emphasis for us and him coming into the spring was really working down a lot and the counts getting more in his favor and getting more early contact for outs, and he’s done that this spring for the most part. You look back through his misses, most of them have been down instead of a lot of those high scuds that were balls right out of his hand. His changeup’s really come on. So, there’s some debate back and forth.

“We’d like to go down the road with him starting some. I know that’s some debate that’s going on, so I think you’ll see him pitch some multiple innings. I’m not sure where it’ll pan out. We’ll leave that in other people’s hands now, but I know that’s some of the discussion going on.

“He had a good spring. Yac’s going to help us this year. The only downside of it, I was taking to Dan (Duquette) about it, is you have a need for a pitcher and he’s thrown three or four innings, it’s going to be harder to go get him. But we think it will help him some, potentially. I don’t think that’s a given yet, but it’s something we’ve talked about. I know he wants to do it.”

Mike Wright Jr. allowed seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings, but the Orioles rallied for a 10-7 win over the Red Sox. Christian Vázquez homered to center field in the second and Boston plated four runs in the inning.

“Obviously, you take the conditions in,” Showalter said. “First home run is a routine fly ball. He got some pitches elevated. On a day like today you’ve really got to be conscious of keeping the ball down. Made some good pitches, just not enough of them, but he’s healthy and he got up to (89) pitches. We were trying to take him a tad below 90, so we got that done.

“We’ll take the good parts of it, and some things that we need to improve on.”

Asked whether Wright has showed enough to make the club, Showalter replied, “He’s showed enough for us to evaluate it. Yeah, obviously. Mike’s a strong candidate for a lot of reasons, but we think he can help us.

“Today wasn’t a real good statistical return, but if you take the conditions and everything in, it was OK.”

Said Wright: “I felt like I was throwing some pretty good pitches. My hat’s off to them for taking a lot of really good pitches and swinging at some pitches that they wanted to swing at and making good contact.

“I’m disappointed in my last two outings. Obviously, we’re about to start the season, so you’re not trying to give up 10 hits in (4 1/3). I feel like I’m in a good spot, all my pitches are working pretty well. I thought I was making pretty good pitches. They’re a good hitting team and that’s what they’re going to do in the season, but hopefully later on in the year I can actually go a little bit more into the bat, a little more in on them, something to get more ground balls and a few more outs.”

The last two starts have seen Wright allow 11 runs (10 earned) and 19 hits in nine innings. Where does it leave him?

“It’s not my decision to make,” he said. “I just hope what I did early in spring gets me on the team.”

Chance Sisco committed a throwing error that let a run score - he tried to nab a runner at third base - and he also made a poor throw on a rundown play. But he also contributed a two-run double and two-run homer on the offensive side.

Sisco’s double in a six-run sixth inning came against left-hander Robby Scott.

“We had an opportunity if we wanted to pitch-hit there, but I wanted him to catch seven full innings today,” Showalter said. “He spit on some tough pitches. You don’t hit the way he’s hit and be a guy who can’t defend himself against left-handed pitching. And understand, the guys he’s facing this time of the spring are potential major league-caliber left-handed relievers, so that was good to see.”

Does Showalter concentrate more on the throws or the hitting?

“Yeah,” he replied.

On Sisco’s error, he made the proper arm fake to second after a wild pitch, but his throw sailed up the left field line.

“He did everything perfectly. He just didn’t execute the throw,” Showalter said.

The rundown involved Mookie Betts, “who’s in the 10 percentile of guys who can do that,” Showalter said.

“You’ve got to get the ball in the hands of the defender that’s closest to him. And if he makes an accurate throw to second, Manny probably throws him out at first, but that’s one where you’ve got to slow the play down and use how athletic (Betts) is against himself, how fast he can move once he commits, but we got way too much separation there. But that’s one of those things you want to see happen down here.

“That’s some of the growing pains that all young catchers go through.”

Sisco continues to work with bench coach John Russell, who’s also the catching instructor. The improvement has been noticeable despite today’s issues.

“He’s going to be a calm guy, he’s going to call a good game, he’s going to receive well and he’s going to block well,” Showalter said. “His throwing is improving. It’s one of those things, whether it’s here or Norfolk, when everything is clear and you take a deep breath, everything kind of slows down a little bit.”

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