SARASOTA, Fla. - Left-hander Jeff Beliveau continues to make impressive strides in camp after undergoing labrum surgery in April.
Beliveau, signed as a minor league free agent, has thrown live batting practice four times. He took only one day off after Saturday’s session before throwing in the bullpen yesterday. He previously had waited two days, but is recovering at a quicker pace.
The Orioles haven’t decided whether to get Beliveau in an exhibition game before they break camp. The primary focus is making sure he’s healthy and able to contribute if needed in the summer.
“There’s no real plan,” he said. “Like I said from the beginning, it’s just going off outing to outing. Every one’s been getting better and better. There’s been better quality with every live BP that I had, and those were with two days off in between, just to give my body a chance to rest. Now it’s just one day and basically taking it outing to outing.
“Everybody keeps asking me in camp, ‘Hey man, when are you going to throw from a mound? When are you going to throw in a game?’ It’s kind of frustration because I’m working with the coaching staff and the pitching staff and the training staff, and I’m giving them feedback. And they’re going off what they know and how they run things.
“It’s what they said from the beginning. They’re going to take it slow, very slow, and I might not even get in a game. But my biggest thing is I want to be healthy for the beginning of the season, midseason, the end of the season and then go into an offseason. I don’t want any on and off the DL and trying to push things.”
Manager Buck Showalter keeps mentioning how good Beliveau looks and how the former Rays reliever could be a factor this season. Nothing that’s transpired so far has changed that outlook.
“As of right now, everything’s been going great,” said Beliveau, who posted a 2.63 ERA in 30 appearances with the Rays in 2014. “I threw live BP two days ago and yesterday was the best I’ve felt the day after. I actually threw long toss yesterday. It felt really good compared to the live BP I threw.
“You’re using muscles you don’t use, especially when you’re throwing bullpens. You try to simulate a game, but it’s really hard to. Once a hitter gets in there, the next day after my first live BP, my lower back, my upper back, my legs, my hips, everything was just tight just because you’re giving it that extra five, 10 percent.
“It’s a marathon, it’s just a process. I was actually talking to (Yovani) Gallardo yesterday about the whole recovery and rehab and how weird it is that everything comes with a timeline. He had ACL surgery and he was like, ‘I remember being on a bike and I couldn’t go one rotation around.’ And I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never throw a baseball again.’ But there’s been thousands of people that they’ve done this rehab with and it’s basically just a time game and you have to hit every step.
“The training staff here was telling me there’s no shortcuts. When guys feel like they’re good to go and they try to take a short cut, it always comes back around to hurt them at the end. It’s just time.”
It’s time for the Orioles to make another trip to Dunedin today to play the Blue Jays. I’m staying back at camp while colleague Steve Melewski enjoys the drive. Hopefully, he won’t get a flat tire.
I’d like to hear from catcher Matt Wieters following yesterday’s positive news on his MRI. There’s no word on when he’ll be able to play again, but knowing that the elbow is structurally sound brings a huge sigh of relief throughout the organization.
Brian Matusz threw off a mound yesterday for the first time since working one inning on March 2 and being diagnosed with a strained muscle in his lower back. Hopefully, he’s available at his locker to provide a health update.