SARASOTA, Fla. - There isn’t much competition for the backup catching job in Baltimore. If Taylor Teagarden is healthy, he figures to break camp with the team.
Teagarden woke up this morning with lower-back spasms, again bringing his health into question. He didn’t debut for the Orioles last season until July 14, when he hit a walk-off home run against the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards, because of discomfort in his lower back that shut him down for most of spring training.
Teagarden’s current condition doesn’t appear to be nearly as serious. He basically downplayed it today while meeting briefly with reporters outside the clubhouse.
“Just really stiff, pretty achy this morning. A little more than normal. Just want to be a little cautious,” he said.
“Dealing with what I had to go through last year, with anything like this, if I have to take a day or two to let it calm down, that’s fine.
“It’s spring training. It’s a lot on the body because we get hot and we do an activity, and then we sit down and then we have to do something in the next hour or so. It’s a lot to ask of the body throughout the day, so little things like this can kind of come up every now and again. I’m just trying to make sure it stays where it’s at. Hopefully, a day or two.”
Teagarden said the discomfort didn’t scare him as badly as last spring, when he received epidural injections during camp.
“You just have to think slowly about what you did yesterday, what could have caused this,” he said. “Last year was very concerning, because I had a really good idea of what happened. This time, like I said, maybe taking too many extra swings when I was not loose or something like that, and it can kind of catch up to you later in the day, so it’s nothing really serious. Hopefully, go away in a day or two and stay on top of my routine.
“Last year was like radiating pain down my spine. I don’t feel anything like that.”
Teagarden collected only nine hits in 57 at-bats last season, but he homered twice and drove in nine runs. The Orioles re-signed him over the winter and he’s been full-go all spring until today.
“There’s always an element of frustration, but it is what it is,” he said. “I’ve been dealt this situation, so I’m going to have to combat it and deal with it, and it’s a daily responsibility that I’m going to have to handle.
“Tomorrow, I’ll talk to J.R. (John Russell) and some of these people and let them know how I feel. I expect to feel significantly better tomorrow. We’ll see if I play or not.”
The Orioles could use the extra catcher with Luis Martinez still sidelined with a strained oblique, Allan de San Miguel joining Australia for the World Baseball Classic and Chris Robinson leaving to join the Canadian team.
Martinez isn’t expected to play for another five-to-seven days.