Second baseman Brian Roberts just held court with the media. I’ll have a full story up on Orioles.com, but here’s some of the highlights..
[on how he's feeling:]
“Much better, quite a bit better. I saw the doctor today and I got good encouraging news so I’ll start to try and progress a little bit.”
[on the MRI results]
“There was nothing new or anything. We’ll let the inflammation or whatever was causing the discomfort calm down and we’ll move on.”
[when did this start]
“I started having some neck discomfort in January and it just never really went away. Then, I had some spasms in my back last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I guess. With those two things combined, we decided to kind of see what was going on.”
[after last year, did you think here we go again?]
“Well sure, that’s probably normal to have some of those feelings. But I just tried to stay positive. I didn’t think that there was anything crazy wrong, but there was enough going on that needed to get taken care of.”
[on if this is as bad as last year]
“No, no, no, no, no. Last year was 100 times worse. This is nothing like last year.”
“It has nothing to do with last year. I don’t think that I have any reason to think that this will be [there] the rest of my life. He said that it looked fairly similar to everybody elses. It’s just one of those things, I guess.”
[so totally unrelated to herniated disk?]
“Yes. Two different areas.”
[on his timetable]
“It’s just going to be a progression starting today. We’re not going to necessarily put days on it just because of you guys. But certainly, my goal and my hope is to still play Opening Day. It will just be a progression and we’ll see how it goes.”
[on if Opening Day is a realistic goal]
“Sure. The doctors seem to think so. But we all know if you miss two or three games as opposed to last year, then we’re in a better situation. But really, and I know it sounds terrible, we’re just going to take it a day at a time right now.”
*The Orioles have several regulars going to Wednesday night’s game in Tampa, but Jeremy Guthrie will get a start against Minor League hitters instead.
*Justin Duchscherer’s MRA came back OK and right now he will take it easy for the next day or two before deciding the next step. Manager Buck Showalter said it’s too early to count him out to break camp, but his rotation spot is “in peril” right now.
*I did a feature story on Vladimir Guerrero for the site today. You can check that out here.
*Brian Roberts’ MRI didn’t reveal anything new, and he will progress toward “possibly” being ready on Opening Day on a day-by-day basis. Roberts maintains that his back spasms are unrelated to the injury he suffered last year and said he has been experiencing neck discomfort since January and it hasn’t really gone away. Asked how this compared to last year he said it was 100 percent different,and this current issue isn’t nearly as bad.
*Koji Uehara will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and if all goes well he will get into a game by the end of the week.
*Derrek Lee continues to progress along, taking some swings in the cage and doing some short toss. The plan is for him to hit BP tomorrow.
Felix Pie RF
Adam Jones CF
Luke Scott LF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Jake Fox C
J.J. Hardy SS
Brendan Harris 2B
Josh Bell 3B
Brandon Snyder 1B
Brad Bergesen RHP
Orioles starter Justin Duchscherer said this morning that he doesn’t know the results from yesterday’s MRA on his left hip, but expects to know later this afternoon.
When asked what led up to his scratch from Sunday’s scheduled intrasquad start, Duchscherer said: “The best I can describe it is it felt like it did last year before it was operated on. So I thought the smart thing to do was not go out there and try to throw three innings when it was already hurting in warm-up. [We'll] get the images on it and see what’s going on in there and go from there.”
His left hip was the most recent procedure for Duchscherer, who didn’t want to comment on his frustration level until he knew exactly what he was dealing with.
Orioles starter Jake Arrieta was pleased with Monday’s outing against the Pirates, which was his third start this spring. Arrieta allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out six over four innings. His command was exceptional, with 49 of 67 pitches for strikes.
Here’s what he had to say:
[on his start overall]
“I thought it was a really positive outing. A ton of strikes. I felt comfortable with all my pitches, my depth on the breaking was very good, same thing with the slider. My changeup is coming along. I don’t think I could be happier with the progress up to this point.
I’m continuing to get comfortable with the sinker in the zone. It’s a pitch that runs away from me at times, and I just have got to maintain my delivery as best I can to keep that in the zone.”
[on whether he had the best breaking stuff of the spring]
“Absolutely. It’s a process. Those kinds of things come along as the spring wears on. Right now I am extremely comfortable with all of my pitches. The command of my fastball was there today. Tempo and delivery felt really good, I couldn’t ask for more at this point.”
[on evaluating his final line]
“I don’t really look at the results all that much. One thing that I do look at is walks. If I can limit the walks, those base hits scattered throughout there aren’t going to hurt as bad. That’s a big key for me as well as the rest of our staff. If we can limit the free passes and if they happen to scatter some hits in there, the free passes you don’t allow keep you in the ballgame.
That was a good indication of what happened today. No free passes, although they had eight hits, there weren’t many guys on base when they were getting those hits. Just limit the walks and continue to pound the zone.”
[on whether adjusting his stride has helped his command]
“That was a lot of it, but another part was just being more aggressive and not giving these hitters as much credit as I was when I got called up last year. Just attacking them right off the bat, 0-0, going at them instead of trying to nitpick, be on the corners and end up falling behind. I have really been able to continue to tell myself just be aggressive attack these guys, not try to do too much and trying to stay smooth and easy in my delivery. When you do that it is a lot easier for me to throw strikes.”
[what he's working on for next time]
“I think the pitch I am most concerned about working on now is the changeup. Maintaining the arm speed and trying to simulate a fastball on that pitch to keep those guys off balance I threw a couple good ones to Alvarez today for the strikeouts, just continue to work on that and with everything else, just continue to get better.”
*Justin Duchscherer saw a chiropractor this afternoon because of soreness in his left hip. He’s scheduled to receive an MRA at 4 p.m. this afternoon,which is similar to an MRI except it includes an angiography. Dye will be injected into his hip to give a closer look and see if there’s any structural damage.
*Brian Roberts will undergo an MRI on his back this afternoon and visit a back specialist (one he’s seen before) tomorrow.
*Derrek Lee hit off a tee today –picking up a bat for the first time in about a week — and said his right wrist continues to feel better. He’ll hit soft toss and do more tee work today and hopes to take live BP in the next day or two. Lee has been getting daily treatment on his wrist and said he thinks he took it too fast earlier this spring. He’s going to be more patient this time.
*Koji Uehara threw a 25-pitch bullpen with no problem today and said, through interpreter Jiwon Bang,that he feels like he’s making progress. Uehara will sit down with the coaching staff tomorrow to determine the next step.
*The Orioles optioned Joe Mahoney to Triple-A Norfolk this afternoon as well. Mahoney was the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year last season.
Randy Winn LF
Felix Pie CF
Nick Markakis RF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Luke Scott 1B
Mark Reynolds 3B
Matt Wieters C
Robert Andino 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Jake Arrieta RHP
Pedro Ciriaco 2B
John Bowker 1B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Matt Diaz LF
Steve Pearce RF
Josh Rodriguez SS
Jason Jaramillo C
Kevin Correia RHP
Manager Buck Showalter said Justin Duchscherer, who was scratched from throwing in Sunday’s intrasquad game, will get an MRI on his left hip. That will probably take place on Tuesday.
Showalter continues to be impressed by bullpen hopeful Josh Rupe, who tossed 2 2/3 innings to end the game. The right-hander hasn’t allowed an earned run in 8 2/3 spring innings.
Asked if he thought Rupe was under the radar, Showalter said: “Not for us. He was very much on the radar screen. [That's] the reason why we worked to get him in here. He can sink the baseball, stay away from the sweet part of the bat. He’s a guy that can pitch for multiple [batters] with one pitch, that’s hard to find.”
*Derrek Lee did not take any swings today. The team initially thought he did,but Lee will give it one more day.
*On starter Brian Matusz, Showalter pointed to his fastball command.
“With Brian, everybody works on things during their work day and whatever but his fastball location, he’s a lot better than that,” Showalter said. “And will be.”
Orioles starter Brian Matusz went 3 1/3 innings of three-run baseball, two of which were earned. He allowed four hits and two walks and struck out two and while he wasn’t thrilled with the results he has been working closely with pitching coach Mark Connor on some mechanical issues and was excited for that to continue.
Here’s what he had to say after Sunday’s start, which was his third outing this spring.
[on his outing]
“The results, [I'm] not happy about the results. But I’m really happy about the process. I feel like I’m making some adjustments that I need to , and I’m excited to sit down with [Connor], look at the video for this game, kind of see where I need to be mechanically-wise. I feel like I wasn’t fully in my groove the whole time. And that’s OK. But I’m excited for this work week though.”
[on not going his scheduled four because of a 33-pitch first]
“[My] stamina didn’t feel like a problem. Little bit of a longer first inning than I wanted…but I was happy to be able to go out to the mound four times. So I was happy to be able to do that. But stamina’s fine. I was working on things today, just trying to get in that rhythm.”
[on what kind of adjustments he's making]
“I’ve been working with [Connor] on when my knee comes up, just trying to break my hands at the same time, to keep it in rhythm. It felt like my arm was dragging a little bit today at times, and it has in the past. It takes all the sharpness away from your pitches so that’s the thing I’ve been working on. It’s one thing to know what you are doing right, it’s another thing about feeling it. You want to be able to feel it so when you go to the mound you don’t have to think about it at all.
For me I’m just trying to get into that feel, that groove on the mound. Which is ok. It’s just spring, just working on stuff. Which is just fine. but I feel like I’m on track to get myself for the season where I don’t have to think about things, it’s just natural. It’s a process. it’s good though.”
[how'd that work?] “I approached [Connor] and we were talking, I said, ‘Things just don’t feel right. I don’t feel like I’m in rhythm.’ We sat down and talked about some things before my last bullpen, before this outing, felt perfect. It was one of the best bullpen sides I’ve thrown. And just working on that, working with [Connor] to get in that rhythm. Like I said, today I was just thinking about it a little too much.”
SARASOTA, Fla. — Orioles starter Justin Duchscherer was a last-minute scratch from Sunday’s intrasquad game, further raising concerns over whether his left hip will hold up enough to be part of the Opening Day rotation.
“He wasn’t able to pitch,” manager Buck Showalter said of Duchscherer. “I don’t know where we’re at. [Head athletic trainer Richard Bancells] said that he just felt some discomfort [in his left hip] and wants to get it looked at. He doesn’t feel good about where it’s at.”
Duchscherer has made just one spring outing, going two innings March 8 in Clearwater,
and has been slowed all spring by lingering hip soreness from surgery that ended his season last year.
On Sunday, he warmed up on flat ground before seeking the team’s medical staff and Showalter acknowledged it would “be tough” at this point for Duchscherer to get the 20-27 spring innings that the club has targeted.
The news, while not surprising given Duchscherer’s injury history, is still a stark
contrast from the sentiment following Tuesday’s start. Duchscherer tossed two scoreless innings against the Phillies in his lone Grapefruit League appearance, allowing a double and a walk, and said afterwards that he was encouraged by how his hip was feeling better with each outing. He also admitted that is a matter of mentally getting back to just focusing on his mechanics and not his health.
Showalter said Sunday he wasn’t sure of the next step for Duchscherer, who was signed to a one-year incentive-laden deal this offseason with the feeling being if he was healthy and productive he would be in the team’s rotation.
“I just don’t have enough information to know what he’s dealing with,” Showalter said. “I’ll probably know something by the end of the day.”
Detroit has a split-squad game today while the Orioles will send Brian Matusz to the hill and have Justin Duchscherer throw an intrasquad game prior (Lefties Mark Hendrickson,Michael Gonzalez and Clay Rapada will also throw in that game,facing only left-handed hitters.)
Here’s Detroit’s lineup:
Austin Jackson, CF
Scott Sizemore, 2B
Ryan Raburn, LF
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Brandon Inge, 3B
Casper Wells, RF
Alex Avila, C
Scott Thorman, 1B
Cale Iorg, SS
LHP Adam Wilk
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Luke Scott, LF
Matt Wieters, C
Josh Bell, 1B
Cesar Izturis, 2B
Brian Matusz, LHP
The Orioles trimmed their spring roster by 11, also sending a pair of players who weren’t technically in Major League camp to the Minor League side on Friday.
Pitchers Brandon Erbe, Chorye Spoone, Troy Patton and Pedro Viola
were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk while pitcher Luis Lebron and
infielder Pedro Florimon were optioned to Double-A Bowie.
The following four players, who were not on the 40-man roster, were
re-assigned to minor league camp: pitchers Mitch Atkins and Raul Rivero,
outfielder Tyler Henson and catchers Adam Donachie and Caleb Joseph.
In addition, pitchers Nick Bierbrodt and Mark Worrell will remain in minor league camp.