Showalter on injured players, intrasquad game and more

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy received a cortisone injection in his lower back earlier today, but it was scheduled all along and not done because of a setback in his recovery.

Showalter remains encouraged by the progress being made by Hardy, Chris Tillman (shoulder) and Zach Britton (oblique).

"Yeah, nothing negative there. They're on good footing," Showalter said following the Orange Team's 3-1 win over the Black Team in the intrasquad game.

"I know J.J. had an injection we knew was coming, so that's managing well. All of them. In fact, Zach said he didn't hardly feel anything today, which means he's two months away, right? No, he's fine. The extra length we have down here does help things like that."

jimenez-stride-pitching-gray-sidebar.jpgUbaldo Jiménez, starting for the Orange Team, was so proficient that he stayed on the mound to record a fourth out. He threw 11 of his 17 pitches for strikes.

"I was looking at his velocity," Showalter said. "That's about the best velocity he's had early in the spring."

Jésus Liranzo, 21, showed again why the Orioles protected him in the Rule 5 draft. He did issue a four-pitch walk to Chance Sisco, but he also struck out Trey Mancini and impressed with his velocity while throwing 13 pitches.

Showalter said Liranzo's fastball was clocked at 95-98 mph. The kid also got noticed by Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson, which led to a humorous tale from Showalter.

"I was kidding with R.J. this morning in the meeting," Showalter said. "We were kind of messing around with the Triple-A and Double-A rosters. It's never too early for managers in the minor leagues to start campaigning for guys to play for them. I said, 'What about Liranzo? Where do you think he's going to pitch this year?' And R.J. said, 'I don't know him. Who's that?' He walked over to me (later) and said, 'Hey, I think he needs to pitch in Norfolk this year.'

"He's got a good arm, boy. A good arm."

Vidal Nuño recorded only two outs before reaching 19 pitches, which caused the inning to be stopped. He threw 15 strikes, but also surrendered back-to-back home runs to Manny Machado - a two-run shot - and Welington Castillo.

"He threw some good pitches," Showalter said. "He's got a chance to help us. Today was one of those days. A little wind blowing out. I don't put much stock into it at all."

Jonathan Schoop led off for the Orange Team, followed by Adam Jones, Machado and Castillo. The order was done with a purpose.

"The WBC guys will be playing a lot more games," Showalter said. "That's why I had them at the top of the order here. They're going to be playing a lot more games. Tomorrow will be one of the few days when they won't play."

Showalter isn't expected to send any regulars to Lakeland for the exhibition opener against the Tigers. Catcher Caleb Joseph is on the trip, but he's vying for the backup position.

"Depends on what you define as (regulars)," Showalter said. "No, I don't think so, so I'll get my first fine of the year."

The Orioles will head to Lakeland after 10 days of workouts and intrasquad games. Is Showalter eager to move past them?

"I don't know about eager," he replied. "You always think, 'Boy, I wish we had another couple extra days.' But the games identify and kind of jolt some things that you want to come back to. But we've got everything covered we wanted to get covered. Leaving some room for things that we're going to readdress as spring goes on.

"It's a long time down here. You don't want to shoot all your bullets. We'll save some things. We're where we need to be. We're ready."

Tyler Wilson is starting for the Orioles on Friday and the Tigers are sending American League Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer to the mound.

Jones, Machado, Castillo and Schoop are expected to make Saturday's trip to Bradenton to face the Pirates. has Nationals' minor league position playe...
Machado and Castillo homer in intrasquad game

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to