Early notes on catchers, Rickard, Araujo and Davis

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles catcher Austin Wynns provides the latest example of how an oblique injury isn’t a day-to-day situation. Players can’t rush back from them. Can’t test them early without risking a setback.

Wynns seems confident that he’ll return this week, but he still has to take live batting practice. He’s been hitting in the cage, which is where the injury happened.

Life as a catcher certainly has its risks, though most of them occur behind the plate.

Andrew Susac took a beating in a recent game, including a foul tip off his right hand.

Jesús Sucre took a Billy Burns foul ball off his right foot yesterday in the second inning and was in obvious pain, flexing the leg and bending forward before getting back in his crouch. Then he threw out another runner attempting to steal.

It isn’t hard to envision a combination of Sucre and Chance Sisco behind the plate, especially with Wynns hurt. Sucre has a March 22 opt-out clause in his contract and the Orioles are approaching the point where they need to make a decision.

Arriving late to camp due to a visa issue hasn’t seemed to diminish Sucre’s chances.

Rickard-Doubles-Orange-v-TB-sidebar.jpg* Joey Rickard keeps raking.

Raking Rickard. It’s catchy.

Rickard had two more hits yesterday, including a leadoff double in the third inning, and is batting .405/.450/.595 in 40 plate appearances.

The decision to option Austin Hays was a controversial one considering his spring production and prospect status, but directing anger at Rickard is misplaced. He’s earned a spot on the team in whatever role he’s given.

Was there room for Hays and Rickard? Of course. That’s a separate argument.

“He’s having a great camp,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I like Joey’s game. Obviously, he’s swinging the bat well, but he’s a good outfielder, can play three spots. A really good baserunner and aggressive. He’s a good baseball player. And he’s played like that this spring. I’ve been impressed with his aggressiveness and his at-bats all camp.”

* Reliever Pedro Araujo is trying to stay on the roster and in the organization, since he needs 17 more days before losing Rule 5 status. He tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings yesterday, with one hit and one walk, and lowered his ERA to 7.50.

Araujo had allowed five earned runs (six total) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also had surrendered two home runs.

The Orioles should put him on the opening day roster and suck it up for 17 days. His development was stunted last summer. Keep him in the organization.

It may sting someone else who gets cut from the camp roster while Araujo heads north - Cody Carroll, for example, allowed two runs and struck out nine batters in seven innings - but there’s going to be lots of roster movement again this season. Another reliever can replace Araujo in April.

A position player could be added if the Orioles are carrying an extra reliever at the time.

* Chris Davis turned in his best spring game of at-bats yesterday that concluded with an RBI single.

Davis played the first eight innings and lined his single to right field off Drew Hutchison. He worked the count to 3-1.

Though 0-for-2 at the time, Davis lined to left-center field in the second inning, walked with the count full in the fourth and lined to right field in the sixth.

Loud, solid contact in three at-bats. And yes, this is where we are regarding Davis.

“The two-out RBI hit there late, but besides that the quality of the at-bats,” Hyde said. “I thought he had really good swings. Kind of a just-missed fly ball to left-center, a walk, a lineout to the outfield that he kind of smothered.

“I thought the at-bats were really good. It was his best day from an at-bats standpoint.”

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