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.