SARASOTA, Fla. - Outfielder Seth Smith notices some improvement in his right hamstring and infielder Ryan Flaherty’s right shoulder is feeling much better. However, neither player is certain when he will get back into the lineup.
Smith hasn’t played since homering on March 8 against the Blue Jays in Sarasota. He’s 1-for-11 in Grapefruit League games and also doubled against the Dominican Republic.
“It’s getting better,” he said. “It’s something that I kind of felt it and I just wanted to try and get on top of it before it got any worse.”
Asked when he might be ready to get back into the lineup, Smith replied, “Not right now. It’s kind of take it as it comes.”
Does this make Smith the proverbial day-to-day?
“Your words,” he said, smiling.
The Orioles are being careful with Smith in order to keep the hamstring from becoming a chronic condition.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Just trying to get it ready. You want to get some time in spring training, obviously, but ultimately you want to do what you can to point toward the first of April, so whatever we’ve got to do with regard to the leg and at-bats, we do the best we can to get it where it needs to be.”
Smith told Showalter that he had a similar injury last spring, worse than what he’s dealing with now, and it carried into the regular season.
“That’s kind of what’s allowed us to do this, what happened last spring training and not wanting to deal with that again,” Smith said. “Try to get on top of it now and get it out of the way.”
Asked whether he’s surprised that the discomfort has hung around, Smith replied, “Anything, especially when you’re being cautious with it, you wait until you don’t feel it and then you build back up from there.
“What you think isn’t taking long may be like a week or so, but it’s still not really that long when you’re being cautious with something.”
Smith doesn’t seem worried about getting a sufficient amount of at-bats before breaking camp.
“At-bats are great and I’d like to get them,” he said, “but being 100 percent going into the season is number one.”
Flaherty received a cortisone injection on Monday after the discomfort returned from earlier this spring. He had to be shut down for at least a few days.
“It’s good,” said Flaherty, who’s 3-for-25 in Grapefruit League games. “Just trying to get the inflammation to go away. So hopefully, the shot I got a couple days ago will do that.
“It feels good, but it’s just a matter of making sure the strength is fully there. Right now it feels 100 percent, but you’ve got to get the strength back up.”
Flaherty dealt with the same soreness in workouts.
“It’s just one of those things that came back and just try to get it out of there this time. Just don’t want it to linger around,” he said.
Flaherty said the discomfort subsided for a while, but it came back.
“You throw every day and it’s the nature of baseball,” he said, “so just kind of came back.”
Manager Buck Showalter noted earlier that Flaherty may have aggravated the shoulder by working out at third base with Manny Machado at the World Baseball Classic. Flaherty said today that there isn’t one particular spot in the infield that creates the issue.
“You can even feel it just throwing the ball around the horn,” he said. “It gets inflamed and it’s tough to get the inflammation away without just not throwing.”
Hopefully, the shoulder condition won’t interfere with Flaherty’s duties as emergency catcher.
“Not the throw back to the pitcher,” he said, smiling, “but if I have to throw out a guy stealing, maybe.”
The online betting site Bovada has made Machado 14/1 to win 2017 American League Most Valuable Player. Mike Trout is 5/4 and Mookie Betts is 5/1.
Kevin Gausman is 33/1 to win the AL Cy Young Award. Chris Sale is 7/2.
Davis is 10/1, Machado and Mark Trumbo are 14/1, and Jones is 100/1 to lead the majors in home runs. Giancarlo Stanton is 8/1.