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Orioles @ Astros Game 4

J.J. Hardy said he could have played today and is hoping to play on Friday. Nothing is definite of course, but Hardy is encouraged with how he’s felt lately.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
Delmon Young RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis DH
Steve Pearce 1B
Travis Snider LF
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Everth Cabrera SS

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Evan Gattis DH
Chris Carter 1B
Luis Valbuena 3B
Jonathan Villar LF
Hank Conger C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Orioles @ Astros Game 3

Lots of pregame news from Buck today…

Matt Wieters will make his Major League debut on Friday in Cleveland, with the plan for the All-Star to get the start behind the plate. There was some thought to letting Wieters join the Orioles in Houston and play at designated hitter on Thursday afternoon but with Triple-A Norfolk being rained out —and pushed back a day— manager Buck Showalter reverted back to the original plan.

“All things considered, if things go well today, he will meet us in Cleveland,” Showalter said of Wieters who is rehabbing with Triple-A Norfolk. “He wants to  [potentially] DH the second game [for Norfolk] and he would have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and would not be a good option. He needs to go back to Baltimore and get his family, go to Cleveland. With all things considered, I want him to start fresh, with fresh legs.”

Showalter reiterated that starter Bud Norris who pitched Game 1 of Norfolk’s doubleheader, could be shortened up so that he remains an option to pitch Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

*The Orioles have acquired minor league RHP Joe Gunkel from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for OF Alejandro De Aza and cash considerations. De Aza was designated for assignment last week and the O’s had been trying to trade him.

*Jonathan Schoop has started playing games in extended spring and went 4-for-10 today. Showalter said there’s a possibility he is back before the All-Star Break though the Orioles won’t rush him. Brady Anderson is done in Sarasota, Fla. watching Schoop and some of the other rehabbers.

*Brian Matusz had his hearing this afternoon at Minute Maid Park for the eight-game suspension that the lefty received –and appealed– from Major League Baseball on May 28.

Matusz said the whole thing took about an hour and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette spoke on his behalf. Manager Buck Showalter was also there for morale support.  They weren’t given any timetable of when they would get news.

“I’m really not sure at all,” Matusz said. “Not sure if Will Smith’s case [of an eight-game suspension on May 22] factors into the decision at all. Could be up to a couple days from now.”

Both Matusz and Smith were ejected for having a foreign substance on them while pitching. It was reported earlier this week that Smith would know his results before Sunday.

“This is the first time going through anything like this, not really sure [if the suspension will be reduced],” Matusz said. “We presented our case, said everything we needed to. It’s really out of our hands right now. Just waiting to hear that final decision.”

Should Matusz’s suspension hold up, even as a lesser sentence, the Orioles will have to play down a player for that duration.

*J.J. Hardy is out of the lineup for a third consecutive game, though the shortstop did test his left oblique prior to Wednesday’s game with some dry swings and 30 swings off a tee.

“It feels so much better than it did two days ago,” Hardy said. “There’s still some discomfort but not nearly what it was two days ago.”

Hardy –who had Tuesday’s MRI come back normal — hopes to be playing at some point this weekend and is aiming to take batting practice on Thursday.

“I’m hoping tomorrow [he plays], but it’s probably not realistic,” Showalter said of Hardy. “I just want him to be able to play without any mental restrictions or physical restrictions.”

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
David Lough LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Delmon Young RF
Steve Clevenger C
Steve Pearce 2B
Jimmy Paredes DH
Ryan Flaherty SS

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Luis Valbuena 3B
Chris Carter 1B
Jason Castro C
Jonathan Villar SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Lance McCullers RHP

Os add McFarland

The Orioles recalled left-hander T.J. McFarland from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday while optioning righty Oliver Drake to Triple-A.
The 25-year-old McFarland will be making his second stint of the season with Baltimore. He previously compiled a 3.60 ERA in five appearances and struck out eight in five innings.
Drake, 28, posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out seven in five relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings.

Orioles @ Astros Game 2

Greetings from Houston, where the O’s will take on the Astros for the second in a four-game set.

The big news today is shortstop J.J. Hardy, who went to go get an MRI at 6 p.m. CT while we were talking to manager Buck Showalter. Hardy came out from pregame batting practice and delivered the news walking through the visiting dugout. We could have more news on that later.

Hardy said he was a little improved on Tuesday, though he acknowledged it’s tough to really know when he hasn’t swung a bat. He doesn’t play to test anything until after they get the MRI back. Hardy missed five walks in 2011 with an oblique injury and feels as if he tried to test it out too soon and it set him back.

“I always think the best case scenario that the MRI is good and he’s improved tomorrow as he is today and he’s playing,” Showalter said. “Do I think that’s going to happen? Probably not. But we will see. Maybe he comes back and plays defense for us in the 10th inning.”

*With Triple-A Norfolk’s game getting rained out tonight the plan is for Bud Norris to pitch Game 1 at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday and have Matt Wieters catch. The two will rejoin the team after that but given the extra day it’s less likely that Wieters will debut as a DH on Thursday. Showalter could opt to have him start at catcher on Friday.

Norris will also be shortened up as he’s an option to start Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

*Brian Matusz has his hearing Wednesday at Minute Maid Park and the O’s continue to be confident he will get his eight-game suspension reduced. Both Showalter and EVP Dan Duquette will be present.

*Finally, Kevin Gausman threw a two-inning sim game this afternoon and he remains on track to start a rehab assignment for Frederick next.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
Travis Snider LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Delmon Young RF
Jimmy Paredes DH
Steve Pearce 2B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Caleb Joseph C

Mike Wright RHP

ASTROS LINEUP
George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Luis Valbuena 3B
Chris Carter 1B
Hank Conger C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Jake Marisnick CF

Collin McHugh RHP

Hardy sits with left side soreness

Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy was not in Monday’s starting lineup as the shortstop is dealing with some left side soreness that he first felt on Sunday.

Hardy, who has been taking extra swings in hopes of finding his stride at the plate, came out to take early batting practice on Monday in Houston and felt the same sort of irritation. He immediately alerted head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and manager Buck Showalter, who are trying to get out in front of the injury. Hardy, who started the season on the disabled list, has played in just 23 games and is batting .190.

“I’m just nervous that it’s more than a day or two type thing,” said Hardy, who did not take batting practice Monday and had a similar issue sideline him for an extended period in 2011. “I’m just nervous that it might turn into something worse and I don’t want it to, so I think resting it is probably the right thing. It’s frustrating though. It’s the shoulder [injury] in the spring, then the back starts acting up. Now it’s this.”

Any sort of side soreness can often signal an oblique injury, which are a common injury for players to go on the DL with.

“I am not using that word,” Showalter said in regards to Hardy’s injury. “It’s one of those things you never say out loud. But [the injury] has some of those characteristics.”

Showalter said Hardy wanted to play Monday but given the team’s schedule –with no off day coming up–he decided to be cautious with things.

“We would all love for him to play but you got to take it out of their hands. Hopefully it’s something we can get ahead of and not have it turn into something else.”

Hardy was cautiously optimistic as well that this could only be a game or two type of injury.

“I sure hope so,” he said. “Honestly Im a little bit nervous about it because in 2011 I felt something like this, so I don’t want it to get to that point. We’ll see what tomorrow has, but it definitely makes me a little nervous.”

Jones at DH

Orioles All-Star Adam Jones returned to the starting lineup for the first time in three games on Monday in Houston, though the centerfielder was at designated hitter as he continues to work through a left ankle sprain.

“It’s boring DH’ing,” said Jones, who tested his ankle on Monday afternoon with some sprints in left field. “I am going to try to play center, but if I have to DH, I will DH. I think the important thing right now is to make sure there are no lingering effects and not try to be Superman right now.”

Jones was pleased with how he responded to Monday’s running and said the swelling from the injury –suffered at home plate on Thursday night– has completely gone away. While he never likes being out of the lineup, Jones –who sat Saturday and Sunday– said several times that he was trying to be smart about the injury given that it’s only June 1 and there’s a lot of baseball left to play.

Still, it’s been tough to watch his team from the bench.

“I’ve been bored,  really bored, missing my teammates, missing being on the field with the guys,” Jones said.  “But it’s crazy when I’m not in the lineup, everybody in Baltimore is like, you see people all the time, ‘I drove this amount, this distance to see you play and you’re not playing.’ That’s the thing. I’m in because I pride myself in playing every day, so when I’m not playing, I’m bored. I don’t know what to do. I’m going to try to get out there and stay out of the kitchen, because when I don’t play, I just raid the kitchen. … I’m not sad. I just want to play. You’ve been around me. I don’t like to disclose about how I’m feeling or how my body feels, but I just want to play and that’s what I’ve done here. Let’s get back to that.”

Orioles @ Astros, Game 1

Greetings from Houston, where the Orioles will open a two-city, seven game road trip. Adam Jones, who has been out the past two games with a left ankle sprain, was testings things out earlier in left field.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
David Lough CF
Adam Jones DH
Delmon Young RF
Chris Davis 1B
Steve Pearce LF
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Everth Cabrera SS

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

ASTROS LINEUP

George Springer RF
Jose Altuve 2B
Preston Tucker LF
Evan Gattis DH
Colby Rasmus CF
Chris Carter 1B
Luis Valbuena 3B
Jason Castro C
Marwin Gonzalez SS
Brett Oberholtzer SP

Os vs. Rays, Jones sits again

Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones was not in Sunday’s starting lineups for the second consecutive day with a sprained left ankle. Jones, who suffered the injury while sliding into home plate during Thursday’s doubleheader nightcap, underwent an MRI in addition to an X-Ray.

“Nothing structurally [with the ankle], in pretty good shape there,” manager Buck Showalter said of the MRI results. “Just kind of verified, what Richie [Bancells] and the docs [thought]. [They] start treating it. Swelling has gone down. Not going to get into his availability today for competitive reasons, but I think he’s close.”

Showalter would prefer to have Jones return to the field but said that using him as a designated hitter option in Houston is a possibility if it will allow the All-Star to return quicker.

“I haven’t asked that, I haven’t had the conversation because with Adam you kind of have to that take out of play,” Showalter said of Jones, who has made it no secret that he likes to play every day. ” If he’s  not banging on the door early in the morning you know there’s something he’s still dealing with there.”

*Kevin Gausman will throw a sim-game Tuesday in Houston and will pitch three innings for Fredrick on June 6. He will then move to Bowie to throw 4-5 innings there. Also there’s been a change to Matt Wieters’ rehab schedule as he will not catch Monday and Wednesday now and will just catch Bud Norris Tuesday in Norfolk. He will join the team in Cleveland after that.

RAYS LINEUP
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Joey Butler DH
Evan Longoria 3B
David DeJesus LF
Logan Forsythe 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Nick Franklin 2B
Bobby Wilson C

Jake Odorizzi RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
Jimmy Paredes DH
Delmon Young RF
Chris Davis 1B
Steve Pearce LF
J.J. Hardy SS
David Lough CF
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

Wieters slated to make debut Friday

BALTIMORE—Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is slated to make his season debut on Friday in Cleveland, as the All-Star backstop makes his first Major League appearance in more than a year.

Wieters, who has been rehabbing back from June’s Tommy John surgery, started his rehab assignment earlier this week and has been catching every other day. That will also be the plan, at least initially, when he rejoins Baltimore as Wieters works through the last bit of soreness on days between starts.

O’s manager Buck Showalter said he spoke with Wieters and got a good idea of where the catcher will be physically when he returns.

“Say the second catcher [starting in a game] we want to pinch-hit or pinch-run for, Matt will be OK to finish that game,” Showalter said. “His physical status will not require us to carry three catchers unless we want to.”

Wieters, who last caught for the O’s on May 4, 2014 will play for Double-A on Saturday, Class-A Frederick on Monday and Triple-A on Wednesday. He will travel Thursday to meet the team in Cleveland and is expected to start Friday’s series opener.

Right now, the O’s have two catchers on the roster in Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger. Joseph was the O’s Opening Day catcher and figures to split duties while Wieters is worked back in.

Closely monitored this spring, the Orioles were optimistic that Wieters could be ready by the season’s opener. But the catcher felt soreness in his first spring start, on March 17, and was subsequently shut down. He has been brought along slowly since then and spent the majority of the past two months in extended spring before Tuesday’s rehab debut.

Os vs. White Sox doubleheader

Greetings from Camden Yards where the O’s, originally slated for an off day, will play two against the White Sox instead. The straight-through doubleheader starts at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Tyler Wilson will make his first career big league start in Game 1, followed by rookie Mike Wright in Game 2. Here are your Game 1 lineups….

ORIOLES LINEUP

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

Tyler Wilson RHP

WHITE SOX LINEUP

Adam Eaton CF
Melky Cabrera LF
Jose Abreu 1B
Adam LaRoche DH
Alexei Ramirez SS
J.B. Shuck RF
Gordon Beckham 3B
Tyler Flowers C
Carlos Sanchez 2B

Chris Sale LHP

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