ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - An Orioles’ trip to The Trop enables rehabbing players to make the drive from the Ed Smith Stadium complex, rejoin the club and be evaluated by the medical staff.
Infielder Steve Wilkerson, on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, is feeling much better and could begin an injury rehab assignment on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo is shut down again after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow last week. He’s been on the DL since June 11 with a strain.
“I feel well, improving every day, which is really important for me,” Araujo said through translator Ramón Alarcón.
Araujo needs to be on the active roster for 90 days to lose his Rule 5 status and it could carry over to 2019. The Orioles dealt with a similar situation regarding outfielder Anthony Santander, a Rule 5 pick in 2017 who needed to spend 44 days on the roster this season before the Orioles could option him to Double-A Bowie.
Santander is on the seven-day disabled list. He hasn’t played since July 18 due to a staph infection in his knee.
Being shut down makes it more difficult for Araujo to gauge when he could come off the disabled list and return to a revamped bullpen.
“Right now, when the team makes the decision that ... they just want to make sure that I’m 100 percent ready,” he said. “I guess time will tell.”
The Orioles put Araujo on the DL while creating a spot for closer Zach Britton on the 25-man roster. Araujo was 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.679 WHIP in 20 games, with 24 runs and 29 hits allowed and 18 walks over 28 innings. He also surrendered nine home runs.
There was no reason to rush him back with the Orioles unable to hide him or restrict his usage to low-pressure situations - if one actually exists for a pitcher making the jump from the Single-A level.
“I was hoping to be back quicker, especially because it’s a minor thing,” he said. “Just waiting.”
Araujo eventually could join one of the affiliates on a rehab assignment, but again, there’s no timetable while he’s inactive.
“I’m really not sure right now,” he said. “It’s really the team’s decision right now.”