SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles catcher James McCann hit off a tee yesterday to gauge the level of discomfort in his left oblique and didn’t come away with renewed confidence in his status for Opening Day.
McCann said the hitting session went “OK.” He hasn’t played in a week.
“Good, not great, would be the best way I could put it,” he said.
Adley Rutschman is catching today, and Ramon Rodriguez has a locker in the clubhouse. Mark Kolozsvary arrived yesterday from minor league camp.
“We’re going to slow play the next couple days and just see how I progress,” he said. “At the end of the day, the biggest thing that I can say is, being smart now is better than being sorry later.
“I’d say ‘cautious’ is the best term. The swings yesterday were significantly better than they were two or three days prior, but they weren’t where I was hoping they’d be. But again, it’s still a minor thing. It’s just one of those things, it’s not like a sprained ankle where you can tape it up and play through it and it’s going to heal over time. It’s something that, it’s kind of just a funny thing that you’ve got to be extremely careful with.”
The Orioles could keep McCann active for Opening Day, put Anthony Bemboom on the taxi squad in Boston and make a roster change later if the oblique doesn’t improve. Rutschman will be catching the first few games.
The roster must be set by noon Thursday.
“We discussed the other day just slow playing it and being cautious,” McCann said. “The nature of an oblique injury is it’s kind of a day-to-day thing when it’s as minor as what I’m dealing with.”
More roster cuts could happen later today. The Orioles are 15 players over the limit and will get down to 13 when pitchers John Means and Dillon Tate are placed on the injured list.
Manager Brandon Hyde didn’t have any updates on McCann or reliever Mychal Givens, who stopped his simulated game yesterday after 10 pitches and limped off the mound with continuing soreness in his left knee.
On Givens, Hyde said, “nothing more than yesterday. And on McCann, “not much more than yesterday, either.”
Hyde said the No. 3 starter, and the rest of the rotation, won’t be revealed until the club sets and announces its final roster. The only confirmations are Kyle Gibson Thursday and Dean Kremer Saturday.
Cutting players this late in camp is one of the worst jobs for any manager.
“The tough part isn’t when you tell a guy he made the club, that’s one of the best parts,” Hyde said. “Everybody that makes it, there’s somebody that’s disappointed, so you’re very sensitive. Nobody wants me to walk in the clubhouse right now, honestly, because everybody’s on egg shells a little bit and I totally get that, and so I’m very, very aware of that. I want guys to feel comfortable and know that it’s hard.
“It’s been hard the last few days for these guys to try to win jobs and it’s a big deal. It’s a weird time of year.”
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