Tim Beckham appeared in the Orioles clubhouse this afternoon after taking his mile-long walk with head athletic trainer Brian Ebel, a smile on his face and carefully measured steps as he headed toward his locker.
Undergoing core muscle surgery one day earlier to repair tears on both sides of the groin will shorten a player’s stride. It didn’t reduce the grin.
“I’m not going to be put a timetable on it, but I hope to be playing in extended spring training or minor league games in six weeks from now,” he said. “I’ll do the rehab 100 percent and see where we end up. I’ve been through worse. I’ve been through ACL surgery and it was a lot longer.”
The injury dates back to Beckham’s tenure with the Rays and raises questions about how much it hindered him. The surgery, performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia, feels like a new lease on a baseball life.
“This is a pretty good history on this procedure, especially with the doctor who did it, so who knows how much it may have been bothering him through the years,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Obviously, it wasn’t bothering him ... you could say it wasn’t bothering him in August last year and it probably wasn’t, but I think he had a lot of adrenaline going, too, coming over here in a trade first time.
“One less thing he’s got to worry about. He may find there were some things he was doing that he didn’t even know he was doing, kind of covering of it. I don’t know. That’s what I hope.”
Colby Rasmus was supposed to begin hitting today down in Sarasota as he recovers from a hip injury. He hasn’t played since April 6 in the Bronx.
It’s a slow recovery for Rasmus, who underwent hip and core muscle surgery in October 2016.
“I think there was a lot of unknown,” Showalter said. “With some of the history he’s had there with that. He caught a spike there and tweaked it pretty deep, and sometimes that sets off some other things.
“I’m not going to say I’m surprised it took this long. It’s just that, when you’re talking about that deep of a core history, sometimes little things can really prolong it. But I’m hoping that he’s on his way now. I hope Brian’s got good news today.”
I wrote earlier that second baseman Jonathan Schoop could begin his injury rehab assignment next Friday at Double-A Bowie after playing in a couple of extended spring training games earlier in the week. A player can’t be rushed back from an oblique injury, no matter how tempting.
“Jon came in yesterday and wanted to be activated tonight,” Showalter said. “Actually, I think we’re going as fast as you can go with the history of these things. We just did an MRI of him that gave us some progress on the inflammation and the amount that he’s still got in there. When you’re taking ground balls you don’t feel it, and you’re taking dry swings and some tee work and you don’t feel it. Let’s go. And I can’t tell you how many times, unfortunately, that I’ve seen guys where everything is fine and about the second game they play, there it goes again and now you’re talking about two months.
“It’s obviously a need we have. The need is to get Jon Schoop back. No reflection on who’s here now. I think we’re going as close to fast as you can be without being ... because we don’t think it was a big tear to start with. Otherwise, it would have been a lot longer.
“The time he did it, if you had told me that he had the potential to be a player for us on the 8th, we all would have signed up for that in blood. What’s tough about it is, I don’t care how many swings he takes in extended spring and in Bowie, there’s just a different intensity when the games start here. It’s a little more fastballs, a little more adrenaline. We could activate him tonight and tomorrow him blow it out for two months, which history tells you he would do. We also know the results of the recent MRI.
“You see him walk around, you see him out there taking ground balls, guys are walking around seeing him in the cage and he’s got a lot of pride. He wants to be there with his teammates. Something I’m going to mention to the players in the advance meeting. This guy, he wants to be there, he’s tough. We want him there.”
Trey Mancini said his right knee is fine after he ran into the wall again last night while catching a foul ball. He hit the padding, but still had some bleeding around one of his sutures.
Mancini grimaced and flexed the leg, but he stayed in the game and is leading off again tonight.
The sutures are coming out today or Saturday.
Perhaps lost in Thursday night’s game were the four batters retired by Mike Wright Jr., including three strikeouts in his first appearance in exactly one week since he faced the Tigers in Detroit and gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
“I wanted to get him back out there,” Showalter said. “Especially relief pitchers. Starters know there’s a date where they’re going to pitch, and it’s a tough four days for them, but relief pitchers don’t know when. It’s not like they’re scheduled all the time.
“I would have left him out there with the exception that Darren (O’Day) and Mike (Givens) and Brad (Brach) needed to pitch last night. But I thought Mike threw the ball well. That was good for him. When I go out during BP, it’s easy to go talk to the guy that’s hitting .300 and playing every day. You don’t do that. It’s guys like Mike that you sidle up to and guys that you know are not feeling good about where they are, So, it was good to get that under Mike’s belt.
“I’m kind of curious to see how long it’s going to be before he can pitch again.”
Mark Trumbo is expected to come off the disabled list no later than Tuesday after completing his rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles could return to a four-man bench, though the corresponding move isn’t plainly evident.
“We’d like to get there, but it’s kind of tough,” Showalter said. “How do you get there? Who goes away? There aren’t many options there.”
Update: Manny Machado hit his ninth home run, a solo shot to center field with two outs in the first inning, to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
Update II: Mike Fiers retired 12 in a row after Machado’s home run. The streak ended with Pedro Alvarez’s homer with two outs in the fifth that extended the lead to 2-0.
Chris Tillman has allowed one hit in five scoreless innings. Jose Iglesias doubled with one out in the fifth.
Update III: Caleb Joseph led off the sixth with a double and scored on Jace Peterson’s double on a ball that richocheted off second base and bounced into right field. Chris Davis struck out to strand two runners and keep the lead at 3-0.
Update IV: Pedro Álvarez hit a two-run homer in the seventh and Machado added an RBI single in the eighth to give the Orioles a 6-0 lead. Tillman allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings.