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SARASOTA—There’s been debate about the Orioles’ final roster. But there’s been no debate about who the Oriole catchers were going to be.
Adley Rutschman will get the bulk of the work, and the Orioles thought they had solved their backup catching dilemma when they traded for James McCann last December.
McCann, who hasn’t played since March 20th because of a left oblique injury, is suddenly questionable to start the season.
“It’s not bad, something minor. Obliques are a funny thing,” McCann said on Sunday morning. “After going through an oblique injury last year, it’s something we treat with a lot of caution just to be sure it doesn’t turn out to be a two-month absence.”
McCann missed about four weeks last season because of a similar injury. There are only two games remaining in the Grapefruit League season, and he’s not playing on Sunday.
“I’m hopeful. We’ve got some big steps to overcome these next couple of days to make sure,” McCann said. “But it’s one of those things that ‘better be safe than sorry.’
“With an oblique thing, it’s not something to mess with. I learned that last year with my rehab process, a freak injury on a tight play at the plate. Just going through the process of a waiting game. Obliques, there’s not much you can do other than wait and heal. I started to feel it at the game at Philly in Clearwater.
“The 24-year-old me would have just played and not said anything, but the 33-year-old me knows how bad obliques can get. I’m thankful I said something. We’ve done a good job of staying ahead of it.”
McCann is planning to hit in the batting cage. He’s been throwing for a few days, too.
“Try to give it time and not push it because that’s when I felt it, swinging. I’d rather be safe than sorry and miss an extended period of time,” he said.
The Orioles had two other catchers with major league experience in camp, Anthony Bemboom, who began last season with the team and was with them until Rutschman arrived, and Mark Kolozsvary, who played 10 games with Cincinnati last season.
Koloszavary, who was claimed off waivers in October, was later outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned to minor league camp, was in the Orioles’ clubhouse on Sunday.
He was needed because the Orioles were resting Rutschman, and Bemboom caught on Saturday night in Bradenton. Maverick Handley, a non-roster catcher who has been impressive in camp, is starting on Sunday.
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