Orioles manager Buck Showalter won’t broadcast a player’s availability to the opposing team. He’s proceeding today as if Trey Mancini could be used off the bench after the left fielder jammed his right knee into the brick wall last night while chasing a foul ball.
“Trey’s sore today, got a couple sutures last night, had a CT scan just to make sure we knew everything we were dealing with,” Showalter said. “That was the good news. I think it is what it is, so we’ll see about his availability. We’ll see how it manages.”
Mancini should be able to avoid the disabled list.
“I’ll be comfortable waiting on Trey,” Showalter said. “He’s worth waiting on. We won’t move on that quickly unless there’s another injury or something, even pitching-wise. I think we’re just going to take it as it comes. But we don’t think at this point that it’s a DL injury.
“Hoping that he tells me about 5 o’clock that he’s ready to pinch-hit for us.”
The question is how long the Orioles can play with a short bench. Remove the DL equation. A day-to-day Mancini leaves the club with two reserves instead of three while they continue to work with an expanded bullpen.
“We have some versatility of our players, whether it’s Beck (Tim Beckham) or Manny (Machado) or (Luis) Sardiñas, and Chris (Davis) is capable of playing other places. Caleb (Joseph) has played third and first,” Showalter said.
“It’s tested. I know that I’ve talked to them again about making sure nobody gets thrown out of the game. That would really create an issue. Always does, but especially today.
“It’s not perfect. You’d love to have four guys on the bench. I remember when you used to have five or six. It’s a challenge, but one you have to meet.”
Showalter said he was going to check the wall during batting practice to gauge how Mancini sustained the injury.
“I think it was more of a gash thing, that would be my guess, as opposed to something sticking out,” Showalter said. “It’s not like Houston or Boston where there’s stuff sticking out. It’s a big deal here and in Sarasota. We have a lot of confidence in the safeness of our ballparks.
“We’re going to look at it. Somebody said, ‘Well, it’s just one time.’ Well, that’s enough, right? We’ve already done a lot of things, like taking the rubberized mat from around the ballpark. That was a safety hazard. The on-deck circles were slick. You try to be proactive with that and every once in a while you have to be reactive. So, we’ll look at it.”
Closer Zach Britton remains ahead of schedule in his recovery from Achilles surgery and today’s fielding drills provided the latest proof.
“I feel real confident that if Zach doesn’t have any setbacks that he’ll make the period that we thought he would,” Showalter said.
“Because of ownership, we’ve got a couple machines and things that we’re allowed to have, a lot of clubs don’t, that I think is going to help his process. It already has. It was debatable whether he was going to make June 1.
“You know what hit him today? I was talking to him. Doing the PFP and stuff, he was winded and tired. I think things like that make him realize how many things he’s got to go through to get back to being ready to compete up here. It’s going to be a long process. It’s not just the Achilles. It’s your arm, it’s your legs, there’s a lot of things that have to come to pass. So, I’m real comfortable with the timeframe. I think he’s got a chance to make early June.”
The Orioles still don’t have a timetable for second baseman Jonathan Schoop to begin a rehab assignment. He’s on the disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his right oblique.
“It’s one of those injuries where, what do you do, go test it and all of sudden you go back to square one because you tested it?” Showalter said. “For a second I don’t doubt that Jon is at home kind of going, ‘OK, that hurt a couple days ago. It doesn’t hurt.’ It’s past the pain. It’s more stiffness. Which probably tells you there’s some scar tissue and stuff healing there, going through there.
“He’s doing well. There’s a chance that it doesn’t follow the normal history that ones like Chris Lee had, which means instead of a month-plus it could be less than that. I’ve got an educated guess about what I think it will be, but I think it’s unwise to throw that out there right now.”
Chris Tillman will try to earn his first win since May 7, 2017, a span of 21 starts. He’ll try to strengthen his spot in the rotation. He’ll attempt to carry over two positive side sessions into today’s game.
It’s important to the club and to the former staff ace.
“Workdays are great. We wanted him to have a couple. They were as good as they’ve been, but we’ll see,” Showalter said.
“I don’t think anything in those workdays would substitute three up and down, six up and down to start a game, especially against this lineup. Chris has never been a guy who’s just dotting a gnat’s rear every pitch, but his angle and ...
“Just get back to athletically pitching. We spend so much time with strike point and foot and where you are on the rubber and where your hands are and this and that, whatever. Every once in a while, they get through playing that song (anthem), let’s go compete, let’s go pitch. Let’s be athletic and let’s go pitch.
“That’s where we are. Because all that stuff, once you get through warming up down there, it’s about going out there and giving your team a chance to win. You pull for all your pitchers, but I know we’d like to have Chris get some positive vibes from today. We’ll see if they allow that to happen.”
For the Indians
Francisco Lindor SS
Jason Kipnis 2B
Jose Ramirez 3B
Michael Brantley LF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Yonder Alonso 1B
Yan Gomes C
Tyler Naquin RF
Bradley Zimmer CF
Mike Clevinger RHP
Update: Tillman issued a one-out walk, gave up a single, threw a wild pitch and allowed a run on Michael Brantley’s ground ball to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. Tillman threw 15 pitches, eight for strikes.
Update II: Yan Gomes homered off Tillman with two outs in the fourth to extend Cleveland’s lead to 2-0.
Update III: Jose Ramirez led off the sixth with a home run onto the flagcourt in right field on a 3-1 pitch. The Orioles are down 3-0 and Tanner Scott is warming in the bullpen.
Update IV: Yonder Alonso also homered in the sixth and the Orioles trail 4-0. Tillman has thrown 83 pitches and allowed three home runs today.