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Hardy on his DL

SARASOTA, Fla.— Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who will miss the start of the season with a left shoulder strain, said the priority now is to reduce the swelling in the area to help him get back to baseball activities.

“They found exactly what they thought it was,” Hardy said of Monday’s MRI with injected dye. “I didn’t know it was going to take 10 days or whatever they’re saying to get all the swelling out and get the strength back. So that’s a little disappointing, but I guess it could have been a lot worse. I feel better today than I did yesterday. At this rate, who knows how long it’s going to be.”

Hardy, who was injured diving for a ground ball on Friday, would return April 11 at the earliest. Without him, the O’s options at shortstop are Ryan Flaherty and Everth Cabrera who were competing for a roster spot up until this injury. Hardy’s DL stay, coupled with David Lough and Matt Wieters, will test Baltimore’s depth immediately.

“I think one of the strengths of the team is that guys can step in and fill in, whoever that may be on any given night,” said Flaherty. “We’ve just got to hold the fort down until he’s ready to come back and play.”

Cabrera —who has also spent time in the outfield—got the start at shortstop on Tuesday and feels like he’s gotten enough work over there this spring.

“Yeah, I’ve been working out with Bobby Dickerson. [There’s] a couple things he showed me,” Cabrera said. “I feel like I am getting better. You are always going to be better from [camp].”

Hardy still hopes to be with the team for Monday’s Opening Day at Tampa Bay  though he hasn’t sat down to discuss things with manager Buck Showalter. His shoulder has continued to improve since Saturday, which is certainly a good sign, and Hardy agreed he was a little surprised with the shutdown.

“I mean, a little bit. I don’t know how they can make these timetables,” Hardy said. “I feel better. That’s kind of what I’m going off of, so if I’m feeling better, then who knows how long it will be?”

Orioles vs Rays

*David Lough said his back issue has been resolved and now it’s strictly about getting his left hamstring injury resolved as the outfielder —slated to start the season on the disabled list— works his way back.

“It’s disappointing, it’s hard to go into [manager Buck Showalter’s] office and tell him that I’m injured because I’m not injured too often and when I am it’s frustrating,” said Lough, who had some hamstring tightness a few weeks back. :Especially with how well I know my body.  It’s just a minor bump in the road, I’ll look past this when Im done and get some at-bats at [the Minor League facility at] Twin Lakes and get ready to go.”

Lough went 5-for-27 (.185) this spring before he was shut down last week with back spasms that stemmed from picking up balls in the batting cage. He also said his SI joint locked up.

“We think those two were related in the [hamstring] injury,” Lough said. “At that point my hamstring wasn’t 100 percent. Now my back is completely fine, it’s just taking care of my hamstring and getting healthy.”

Lough, who will be eligible to return April 11, isn’t sure of his schedule moving forward or when he could start playing in Minor League games.

“It’s day-by-day, how my hamstring feels,” he said. “Once I can start running and getting out there playing like I used to. One of the big parts of my game is my speed, so when my hamstring is not at 100 percent it’s tough to do that.”

ORIOLES LINEUP

Everth Cabrera SS
Steve Pearce LF
Adam Jones CF
Delmon Young RF
Jimmy Paredes DH
Chris Davis 1B
Manny Machado 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Caleb Joseph C

Kevin Gausman RHP

RAYS LINEUP

David DeJesus RF
John Jaso LF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Evan Longoria 3B
James Loney 1B
Desmond Jennings CF
Logan Forsythe 2B
Corey Brown DH
Bobby Wilson C

Everett Teaford LHP

Os reassign J.P. Arencibia

The Orioles have reassigned catcher J.P. Arencibia  to Minor League camp, which puts them at 36 players at big league camp (four non-roster invitees).

Arencibia received a Cortisone injection in his right forearm on Monday morning and is going to be shut down for the next two days. He’s been dealing with a right flexor mass strain. The move leaves non-roster Ryan Lavarnway and Steve Clevenger battling it out for the backup catcher spot behind Caleb Joseph.

Orioles @ Rays

*J.J. Hardy is slated to get an MRA on his left shoulder this morning, though he was pretty encourage with how its progressed.

“I feel much better today than I did yesterday and I felt much better yesterday than I did the day before,” said Hardy, who suffered the injury while diving for a ball in Friday’s game.

Hardy said he feels pretty positive about things and thinks this injury won’t require a trip to the disabled list.

“At this point, the way I feel, the way that it improved over the last few days, yeah, I feel pretty good about it,” he said.

*J.P. Arencibia had a Cortisone injection in his right forearm as he’s dealing with a flexor mass strain that he suffered last week. Arencibia took BP yesterday and said while throwing that something still didn’t feel right so he got the shot and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Alejandro De Aza CF
Nolan Reimold LF
Jimmy Paredes 3B
Delmon Young RF
Travis Snider DH
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Ryan Flaherty 1B
Ryan Lavarnway C
Everth Cabrera SS

Zach Davies RHP

Os leaning toward Gonzalez starting against TB

SARASOTA, Fla.— Miguel Gonzalez will likely pitch in the first series of the year against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Buck Showalter said on Sunday.

“We’re leaning that way,” Showalter said of pitching Gonzalez at the Rays. “It kind of slots him out the rest of the month where he should be. Like I say, we’ve got a rare opportunity with playing in our division for as much as we do and the track record our starters have there in different venues against different teams and kind of take advantage of that.”

Gonzalez  is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five starts at Tropicana Field. Showalter said earlier this spring that Wei-Yin Chen would probably pitch among those first three games as well and Chris Tillman has been widely speculated as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Lough could land on DL

SARASOTA, Fla.— David Lough is not progressing as quickly as the O’s would have hoped with the outfielder —who is dealing with a hamstring/back injury — now a potential to start the season on the disabled list.

Lough, who is 5-for-27 (.185) this spring, hasn’t played in a week and was scratched from Tuesday’s game with what was initially deemed low back spasms. It looks like Baltimore would like to be cautious with Lough’s injury, which would also allow them a way to keep switch-hitter Jimmy Parades, who doubled twice in Dunedin on Sunday. Parades, who is having a fantastic offensive spring, is out of Minor League options and would have to be exposed to waivers if he’s not on the 25-man Opening Day roster.

“It’s beginning to look like [a DL situation] more than it did,” manager Buck Showalter said of Lough. “I was hoping we’d get him out there playing today or tomorrow and not have a problem. He wants to get out there. Talking to him and getting him to be real frank with us, I think he’s actually pushing it a little bit where he shouldn’t.  He knows some of the decisions going on.”

Showalter is planning on using Alejandro De Aza in centerfield on Monday, as Lough’s injury leaves the O’s without a backup centerfielder. Evereth Cabrera has also played some centerfield this spring, though the Orioles want to move him back to the infield in spring’s final week.  He could be an option if he makes the club.

Pregame notes

*The Orioles expect to make around five cuts today, with just one pitcher in the group. Some of what they do also depends on shortstop J.J. Hardy who reported to be feeling better today. The team will know more after he gets an MRA on his left shoulder on Monday.

*Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching on the road against Toronto today, meaning he will face a lineup of Blue Jays regulars. It’s an interesting decision considering the O’s have gone to great lengths to have certain starters avoid their AL East opponents late in spring. The O’s have their home opener, the fourth game of the season, against Toronto.

“The most important thing for him this spring to is to pitch as many innings as he could possible pitch regardless of [the opponent],” Showalter said of Jimenez, who is working on a simplified delivery and trying to bounce back from a disapointing 2014. “If a starting pitcher is on their game it doesn’t matter who they are facing. If they are on their game. There’s certain things that lead to it, but it doesn’t mean they will face him during the season. With the off day [after Game 3] we can do pretty much whatever we want to do.”

*Showalter acknowledged yesterday that it would probably require a trade for the Orioles to keep both Rule 5 Draft pitchers: Logan Verrett and Jason Garcia. Of the two, Verrett –who has allowed two earned runs over 12 innings– appears to be the more likely guy the O’s keep. They really like Garcia as well, but it would be tough to have two more un-optionable pieces in the ‘pen without clearing a spot with a trade of another reliever.

Verrett has impressed the O’s, pounding the strike zone and issuing just one walk all spring, which came back on March 3.

“He’s been as advertised completely,” Showalter said. “I’m a little surprised he’s been just as advertised. Strike-thrower. The whole camp, I’ve been really surprised by the velocity.”

Verrett has been up a tick, hitting 93 mph at times, and Showalter said he had to go back and look at the Rule 5 reports to see if that was what the O’s had.

“So many of the guys in the Rule 5 have been hurt, or they’re a ‘tweener,” Showalter said. “It’s going to hard to carry [Garcia and Verrett]. It affects the rest of the bullpen and our staff if we carry them.”

*David Lough (back) is expected to return to the lineup and start Monday’s game.

Orioles split squad

The Orioles will play two games today and are expected to make cuts after that. J.J. Hardy remains out as he awaits an MRA tomorrow.

The roster will start to take shape this week, as manager Buck Showalter is expected to get the roster down to the low 30s. He’s also expected to name his Opening Day starter, which is likely Chris Tillman. Maybe the media will get enough lucky enough to get the top three starters, though I don’t anticipate that happening. The safe money is on lefty Wei-Yin Chen starting Game 2 against the Rays.

ORIOLES VS. TWINS

Alejandro De Aza LF
Steve Pearce RF
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones CF
Travis Snider DH
Manny Machado 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Caleb Joseph C

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

ORIOLES AT BLUE JAYS

Nolan Reimold LF
Everth Cabrera CF
Jimmy Paredes 3B
Delmon Young DH
Dariel Alvarez RF
Steve Clevenger C
Jayson Nix 2B
Chris Parmelee 1B
Paul Janish SS

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

Wilson optioned, leaves great impression on O’s

SARASOTA, Fla.—Tyler Wilson got everything he needed to out of first Major League camp, said O’s manager Buck Showalter, who optioned the right-hander after he held the Yankees scoreless in Saturday’s four-inning start.

Showalter joked that Wilson’s dominant outing —in which he held the Yankees to one hit— wasn’t enough for the O’s high standards, though the real reason Wilson was sent to Triple-A Norfolk is so he can be stretched out and get ready for the Minor League season.

“He got everything out of this spring that he could hope for,” Showalter said of Wilson, who allowed one earned run over 14 spring innings.

“He had a great spring.”

The former 10th-round pick pounded the strike zone, throwing 43 pitches (33 for strikes) and didn’t seem fazed in facing a Yankees lineup full of regulars.

“Warming up in the bullpen and they’re announcing the lineup and it’s one multi-year All-Star after another, it was pretty cool,” Wilson said, “but as soon as you pick the ball up on the mound in the game, it’s time to get to business and simplify everything and control what I can as opposed to worrying about who was in the box.”

In six spring games, Wilson issued one walk and struck out 11. He worked well with catcher Steve Clevenger on Saturday in using his command to his advantage.

“I felt great. We had, going into it, like I told you guys yesterday, I really just wanted to pitch my game, I wanted to get ahead early, pound the bottom of the zone and throw strikes, make quality pitches no matter who was in the box,” Wilson said. “Clev did a great job back there kind of walking me through it because I’d obviously never pitched against any of those guys before. He helped me with making good pitch selections, good target and getting ahead early.”

Wilson, who was named the Orioles Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, has steadily climbed the organization’s ranks despite not attaining “top prospect” status among national outlet until just recently. An 11th-round pick out of the University of Virginia, Wilson led O’s Minor Leaguers with 14 wins and 157 strikeouts in a  season split between Double-A and Triple-A.

“Every time I pitch, I’m fired up whether it’s Bowie, Norfolk, Delmarva, whatever,” Wilson said. “It’s fun to be able to go out there and pitch for a living. I was definitely more fired up [Saturday] than normal just given the circumstances. That’s a good environment to be able to harness everything, kind of reel it back in because there are going to be starts in the season that are the same way.”

Showalter made it clear Saturday that Wilson is on the team’s radar and the Orioles could use him as a reliever or starter down the road this season.

Pregame notes: Hardy to get MRA, Davies starting

*J.J. Hardy will get an MRA on his left shoulder on Monday. The Orioles aren’t expecting back a clean MRA because Hardy had labrum surgery on his left shoulder back in 2004. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Hardy won’t play before Tuesday.

*Pitching prospect Zach Davies will get the start on Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, with Wei-Yin Chen pitching in a Minor League game. The right-handed Davies is one of several prospects the Os want to get a look at this spring.

*J.P. Arencibia and David Lough are both expected to get back into games during Sunday’s split squad. Lough has been sidelined with a back issue while Arencibia had a flexor mass strain. The O’s are expected to make another round of cuts after the pair of games on Sunday afternoon.

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