Showalter on Cobb, Trumbo, leadoff spot and more (O’s lead 5-2)

NEW YORK - The Orioles still haven’t committed to a date for Alex Cobb’s debut, waiting again for his upcoming work day and input from the right-hander before plotting the next move.

Cobb went five innings yesterday in a simulated game in Sarasota. He could go six next week at extended spring training or join the Orioles.

Manager Buck Showalter said Cobb will throw in the bullpen Friday or Saturday, “depending how he feels.”

Showalter suggested that Cobb could pitch Monday or Tuesday in Sarasota - yes, using major league baseballs - but he didn’t eliminate the possibility of the veteran facing the Blue Jays at Camden Yards. He later talked about Cobb possibly facing the Red Sox on April 14 or 15 at Fenway Park.

Vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson has been in contact with Cobb and is headed to New York, where he can meet again with Showalter.

“Brady and I talked some yesterday with Roger (McDowell) and Alex, obviously,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of his (Cobb’s) call, much like Trum (Mark Trumbo).

“I kind of know where we’re leaning, but I want to see how the next day or two goes and what he’s saying. It’s obviously his call. But we’ve got this guy for the long haul and we want to do right by him. We’ve been really trying to impress that on him. It’s a long season. I don’t really care how other people are doing it with people in his situation. We’re going to do what’s best for him and the Orioles.”

The club gets feedback from players, including Trumbo, who have faced Cobb in simulated games and watched him throw.

“Everything’s working well, the velocity, the command,” Showalter said. “He was a little disappointed he had a couple innings command wasn’t up to his standards, so that’s good to hear. He’s right where he needs to be.

“I watch it on video, I see it. Looks good to me. Believe me, I saw a lot of it the last few years.”

mark-trumbo-2017-black-batting.jpgTrumbo played right field today in a simulated game and will play first base on Friday as he nears a return from a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps muscle. But he’s going to need a rehab assignment in the minors before coming off the disabled list.

“That was the plan initially,” Showalter said, “and I haven’t seen anything to make me think that’s going to change.”

Left-hander Ryan O’Rourke, recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session today in Sarasota.

“Don’t forget about him,” Showalter said.

Left-hander Chris Lee, who was sidelined with an oblique injury, threw 30 pitches.

“Hopefully, he’s getting ready to get back in the action,” Showalter said.

Trey Mancini is making his third career start tonight as the leadoff hitter after Tim Beckham handled the role yesterday in Houston. Chris Davis batted first in five games before leaving the lineup yesterday and is 1-for-21.

Showalter is hoping to avoid deciding on a leadoff hitter on a day-by day basis.

“I felt like when we started we were going to take it through the Houston series and see where we were,” Showalter said. “I talked to Chris, I obviously talked to Trey. We’ve got some people who are capable of hitting there. I really would rather somebody would take it and run with it in a perfect world, but how do you define that? I’d love to have the same lineup every night, but it hasn’t started that way. It’s been a challenge.

“I like the idea of Trey getting an extra at-bat maybe. Got some other people we considered. But six games. A lot of things will start presenting themselves more as we get through the month of April.”

Mancini is 5-for-13 with two home runs while batting first, but he subbed in three games. Showalter basically told him today to keep it simple.

“Just be Trey,” Showalter said. “It kind of fits into what he can bring. I thought in the spring he was trying to be a little something else, but it’s really in his normal skill set. The biggest thing I told him was just be himself, and I think Trey will.

“Trey isn’t one of those guys who lets you continually beat him a certain way, whether it’s pitching him out of the strike zone or hard in, whatever. He’s going to make some adjustments. And we all felt like Chris wasn’t going to end up there, but it’s something we were trying to get him off to a good start with. But it’s early, we’ve played six games.”

Wondering why Colby Rasmus is the designated hitter again tonight while Anthony Santander plays right field? Here’s the explanation from Showalter:

“If you have Colby in right and you want to pinch-hit for him, you have to use two players. You’re going to have to use probably (Danny) Valencia and (Craig) Gentry. If you have Colby DHing, you only have to use one player because you’ve got a switch-hitter in right field. That’s really one of the biggest reasons, because you can’t pinch-hit for him without using two players.”

Showalter said he was happy for Alec Asher that the Dodgers claimed the right-handed today off waivers. The Orioles designated him for assignment before opening day.

“Who knows, they may put him back out there again,” Showalter said. “There seems to be a lot of teams claiming a guy and putting him right back on waivers. I hope that doesn’t happen for Alec. I hope he stays there.

“I’m always happy for them.”

The Pirates claimed Jesus Liranzo this afternoon after the Dodgers acquired him from the Orioles and designated him the following day.

Update: Aaron Judge homered off Andrew Cashner with two outs in the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

Judge has 12 home runs against the Orioles in 80 at-bats.

jones-homer-side-gray.jpgUpdate II: Adam Jones hit a two-run homer off Masahiro Tanaka in the seventh to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Tanaka was charged with another run on Anthony Santander’s RBI double off Chad Green and Mancini followed with a two-run single - his third hit of the night - to expand the lead to 5-1.

Mychal Givens replaced Cashner in the bottom of the seventh.

Update III: The Yankees scored a run off Givens in the bottom of the seventh, but Darren O’Day replaced him with two outs and stranded two runners. Orioles 5, Yankees 2.

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