Spring Training Primer: Trumbo's DL stint; Alvarez's opportunity; Gausman's bid for opener; Tanner Scott's improvement - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Trumbo’s DL stint; Alvarez’s opportunity; Gausman’s bid for opener; Tanner Scott’s improvement

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? – Designated hitter Mark Trumbo will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right quad, manager Buck Showalter said after the Orioles’ game in Jupiter, Fla., on Thursday.

Trumbo, who had missed a week with the injury, returned and played Wednesday, but later that night felt discomfort, and the Orioles sent him for a MRI on Thursday.

“This guy was doing everything on the field, running, full-speed,” Showalter said. “That just tells you how different actual game speed is. He was fine during the game for the most part.”

Showalter wouldn’t speculate whether Trumbo’s injury increases the likelihood of the left-handed-hitting DH Pedro Alvarez beginning the season with the team.

Given that the Orioles were looking for more offense from the left side and Alvarez is a natural DH, he’d be a natural replacement on the Opening Day roster for Trumbo.

Alvarez, who has played with the Orioles each of the past two seasons, signed a minor-league deal with the club in February. He is 9-for-35 (.257 average) with a homer, five RBIs, six walks and 11 strikeouts this spring.

Alvarez can play first base if needed and so can left fielder Trey Mancini, a natural first baseman, and left-handed-hitting corner infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia, who is also in the mix for the open utility infield job. Valencia has five hits in 22 at-bats (.227 average) this spring.

First base flexibility could be key, too, because starting first baseman Chris Davis still has no firm timetable for his return from the sore right elbow that’s kept him from playing since March 2.

The Orioles received more unfortunate injury news Thursday. Third base prospect Ryan Mountcastle broke the fifth metacarpal bone of his right hand when he was hit by a pitch in a minor league game Wednesday. He’s estimated to be out four to six weeks.

What’s happened? – Kevin Gausman made a case that he should again be the Orioles’ Opening Day starter. Gausman pitched five scoreless innings Thursday, allowing just two hits against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In Gausman’s previous Grapefruit League start, he pitched three perfect innings against Philadelphia on March 3. In between, he threw a four-inning simulated game.

Gausman would like another chance to throw in a season opener.

“If it is me, then that’s great,” Gausman said. “That’ll be two in a row. … But if it’s not, we have a lot of other good guys who deserve it. [Dylan] Bundy had a great year last year, and obviously [Andrew] Cashner had a great year, too. I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I don’t make those decisions, and that’s probably a good thing.”

What’s up with? – Tanner Scott. Scott pitched a scoreless eighth inning Thursday. Scott has allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, striking out six and walking just one.

The left-hander has shown vastly improved control.

“Tanner, very quietly has had a pretty good spring,” Showalter said. “He really has. It’s been fun to watch. He’s not trying to overthrow. You see the velocities are still good, but (he’s) not trying to see how hard he can throw, and the breaking ball has come leaps and bounds.”

What’s what? – Showalter said that Joey Rickard, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, looked lost at the plate this spring. Rickard hit just .152.

“Joey needs at-bats. Obviously, he’s not swinging the bat very well,” Showalter said. “We keep waiting for him to get going, going, going. … He needs to get it going. Who knows? A week from now it could change with an injury here or there. I could tell that things were going on in his head.

“He’s very self-aware of how he’s doing.”

What’s the word? – “I’m just glad they didn’t catch Manny recruiting Judge.” – Buck Showalter on Major League Baseball warning New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge against recruiting Manny Machado, a pending free agent, to play on his team.

What’s the number? – 2. The Orioles have recorded two shutouts in Grapefruit League play, both this week. They shut out Philadelphia 4-0 on March 11, and Thursday, recorded a 1-0 win over St. Louis.

What’s the record? – 13-8-1. The Orioles have won seven straight. Andrew Cashner makes his second Grapefruit League start for the Orioles, this time against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie today. Cashner threw four scoreless innings in his first start March 11 versus the Phillies.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Dblack2508

    March 16, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Good to read Scott’s control is better this spring .I am cautiously optimistic with Gausman’s outing yesterday. Too many ifs surrounding this team.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 16, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Always a concern when you are counting on ifs in March.

  2. bigdaddydk

    March 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

    The idea of Alvarez breaking camp with the team is very disturbing to me. He’s entirely too one-dimensional and offers nothing defensively. Dude has cinder block hands and zero speed. He makes Trumbo look like a prospective GG player in the field. He’d clog up the works pretty badly. At this point, I would look at filling in with Valencia and Santander, maybe Hays, and let that be that. Although I’d prefer to put Hays in Norfolk for now and Santander has to be on the 25-man roster for 44 more days anyway.

    • Paul Folkemer

      March 16, 2018 at 9:12 am

      My bet is Alvarez wouldn’t see a glove if he makes the team. He’d be DH only. So he’s a natural replacement for Trumbo. Ideally he’d be platooned with someone who can hit against lefties, like Valencia.

      Once Trumbo gets back from the DL, I don’t think Alvarez would have a place on the roster.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 16, 2018 at 9:48 am

      What he said. Although if Davis is also shelved I’d imagine Alvarez could make a start in a pinch at 1B. Otherwise I’m with ya.

  3. Schwarzstop

    March 16, 2018 at 9:06 am

    “Alvarez can play first base if needed” C’mon, Rich! Alvarez played first base this past Wednesday and dropped a throw (it was in the dirt, but a professional ball player should have had it), had a ball go through his legs for a single, and generally looked clueless. I know… “It’s Spring Training!” but surely there are better options! Thankfully, Buck continues to preach DEFENSE, so I expect Pedro will be sent to AAA to work on his!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 16, 2018 at 9:48 am

      If needed. That’s all.

  4. Orial

    March 16, 2018 at 9:12 am

    A Pedro/Valencia DH platoon should be as productive as Trumbo minus the power. How long is Cobb going to wait? Is it a catch 22 for him? Has to find a job but is OPACY for one year a bad investment for his future?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 16, 2018 at 9:49 am

      If he is signing a one-year deal, no way it is in Baltimore.

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    March 16, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I agree with the Valencia/Alvarez platoon in the DH spot. Alvarez will likely be sent down when Trumbo returns. Unfortunately I dont the see the Orioles signing another veteran starter even though we need one. Heading down to Fla tomorrow to catch a couple ST games.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 16, 2018 at 9:51 am

      Just for clarification sake, Alvarez can’t be sent down if he makes the club. He’ll then be on the MLB roster and would have to pass through waivers to go back to Triple-A. Could happen, but figured it was worth clarifying.

      • Jbigle1

        March 18, 2018 at 8:05 pm

        Would have to imagine Alvarez would clear at any point unless he’s absolutely raking. Kenny’s vargas is set to be on waivers and i believe he’s a better player than Alvarez and has some upside left in him. Don’t think we need another 1B/DH guy hanging around but maybe we kick the can.

  6. Mr Will

    March 16, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    DD should note that today the REDS tied up Suarez for 7 years and Astros tied up Altuve for 5. DD already screwed up big time with Manny but need to deal NOW with Scoop.
    Os have a nice nucleus if front office does not screw up (both Os and Ravens have front offices that constantly misfire). Look at Mancini, Schoop, Beckham, Mountcastle, Hays, Santander, Sisco, Bundy and Gausman…need to keep this core intact as much as possible and add from there.
    Who says Os aren’t lucky…the two automatic outs who Buck bats back to back are both out hopefully for a long while.
    While the Os are not in category of Yanks, Sox, Stros, Indians (represents about 50 games) so try to go at least 20-30 vs those teams and do well against the rest. This team likely not a contender but at least 87-75 would be enough to encourage the organization and more important the fan base.
    Still need one more decent starter as Tillman and Wright are both wrong!
    Mr Wil

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