O's Schoop has elbow drained, is day to day

O's Schoop has elbow drained, is day to day

Jonathan Schoop, the starting second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, has bursitis in his left elbow and is expected to miss some time, manager Buck Showalter said Friday.

Schoop, who agreed to an $8.5 million deal earlier this month to avoid arbitration, had his elbow drained and was scratched from Friday’s spring-training opener. Showalter did not give a timeline for when Schoop would return, but he is classified as day to day and isn’t expected to miss an extended amount of time.

Nonroster infielder Luis Sardinas started in Schoop’s place. Engelb Vielma, who isn’t in camp because of visa issues, is the only other infielder on the 40-man roster.

“I’ve said all along, the ‘what ifs,'” Showalter told reporters. “Our depth in the infield has been a challenge. It’s a scenario we haven’t really produced a lot down below.

“It’s more than just one guy. There’s multiple guys. It’s all relevant. People say, ‘Oh, gosh. You need pitching.’ Yeah, we also … that utility role is important. It’s one of those things, you don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have it.”

Schoop was a first-time All-Star in 2017, hitting .293 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs. He played in 160 games last season after participating in all 162 in 2016.

He has a .264 career batting average with 89 homers and 272 RBIs. He is eligible for free agency after the 2019 season.

Schmuck: Late rally by young Orioles falls short, but still impresses the boss

Schmuck: Late rally by young Orioles falls short, but still impresses the boss

The OriolesGrapefruit League opener wasn’t much to look at through the first 8½ innings. The Orioles fell behind early and were trailing by six runs with just three outs to go in the game.

Not a good situation to be in when you’ve basically turned the game over to your minor league system, but that’s why the Orioles’ late comeback attempt was so satisfying for manager Buck Showalter.

Quick recap: DJ Stewart led off the ninth inning by lining the first pitch from Rays reliever Brandon Lawson into center field for a single. Infield prospect Ryan Mountcastle also hammered the first pitch he saw for a double to put runners at second and third. Catching prospect Chance Sisco was a little more patient, taking the second pitch he saw to the opposite field for a wind-aided three-run home run that cut the big deficit in half.

Garabez Rosa lined out to center, but Rubén Tejada and Erick Salcedo kept up the barrage with back-to-back hits that brought the potential tying run to the plate with just one out.

That’s where the rally fizzled. The Rays changed pitchers and Orioles catcher Audry Pérez struck out swinging, though not for lack of an effort to hit a game-tying home run. Joey Rickard followed with a groundout and the game was in the books.

Win or lose, Showalter said that was nice to see.

“Yeah, especially back-to-back-to-back,” Showalter said. “We had four balls hit hard they caught. Pretty good first day for the most part.”

Showalter was particularly impressed with Salcedo, who has made some pretty plays defensively along with delivering the ninth-inning hit that put the Orioles one swing away from tying the game.

“He’s a baseball player,” Showalter said. “He can really catch the ball.”

[email protected]

twitter.com/SchmuckStop

Although Schoop's elbow injury isn't significant, early scare exposes a hole for Orioles

Although Schoop's elbow injury isn't significant, early scare exposes a hole for Orioles

Jonathan Schoop’s elbow injury isn’t expected to force the Orioles’ starting second baseman to miss an extended amount of time, but his absence from the team’s Grapefruit League opener Friday afternoon served as an early-spring reminder that the team could be in trouble if one of its infielders goes down.

Schoop was scratched from Friday’s game with what manager Buck Showalter described as left elbow bursitis. Showalter said Schoop hit his elbow against something — he wasn’t sure what — and the joint swelled to the point that it had to be drained. Schoop walked around the Orioles clubhouse Friday morning with his elbow wrapped in ice.

Other than the Orioles’ four starting infielders — Schoop, first baseman Chris Davis, shortstop Manny Machado and third baseman Tim Beckham — the team has just one other infielder on the 40-man roster in utility man Éngelb Vielma, who had yet to arrive in camp Friday because he was delayed by visa problems

That forced nonroster infielder Luis Sardiñas into a starting role in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium. As of now, Vielma, Sardiñas and nonroster player Rubén Tejada are the three players battling for the team’s utility infielder spot, a position that had been held by Ryan Flaherty for six seasons.

There’s no clear front runner for the spot, but the winner of that competition will likely be chosen because of his glove. Both Sardiñas and Tejada had rough starts to the spring, making fielding errors in Thursday’s intrasquad game.

Playing every day has been a badge of pride for most Orioles veterans. Schoop has been one of the Orioles’ most durable players over the past two seasons. He played in all 162 games in 2016 and missed just two games last year. Machado has played in all but 11 games over the past three seasons. Beckham played in each of his first 47 games with the Orioles before an abscessed tooth and pulled hamstring forced him to miss seven of the season’s final 10 games.

So, in some ways, the Orioles have been lucky their lack of utility infield depth hasn’t been tested more. But it was obvious last year, when both shortstop J.J. Hardy and Flaherty were injured, that the Orioles needed better utility options. The team traded for Tejada, who struggled defensively, before the acquisition of Beckham.

“I’ve said all along, the ‘what ifs,’ ” Showalter said. “Our depth in the infield has been a challenge. It’s a scenario we haven’t really produced a lot down below.”

As much as the focus this spring training will be on making marked improvements in the starting rotation, a key to the Orioles’ success will be improving the team defense, especially because the team’s pitching will again rely heavily on converting ground balls into outs.

While the competition for the utility spot seems to be a three-player race between Sardiñas, Tejada and Vielma, it didn’t take long for Showalter to recognize a plus-defender in Erick Salcedo, a nonroster invitee who spent last season Double-A Bowie.

After the Orioles’ Grapefruit League opener, Showalter raved about Salcedo’s defense, positioning and awareness, as well as the fact that 11-time Gold Glove Award winner Omar Vizquel was his mentor in the Los Angeles Angels system.

“He’s an aware sharp player,” Showalter said. “He brings us a little something different. That’s why guys like having him on the club.”

The highlight of Salcedo’s day was making an astute play on Ryan Schimpf’s broken-bat grounder to second base in the top of the sixth inning that Salcedo fielded while the barrel spun in his direction about 10 feet away.

“It’s a tough play because you don’t normally have the bat coming to you,” Salcedo said. “I saw the bat and it go to the right side, so I made the play. … I know the team is looking for that, the defense. … I try to make every play I can. That’s my [mentality] right now. I try to make for them the decision hard. It’s all I can do, make the plays and help the team right.”

Showalter said he’s not only looking for the utility infielder who makes the club out of spring training, but also who could play the role after him.

“It’s more than that,” Showalter said. “It’s more than just one guy. There’s multiple guys. It’s all relevant. People say, ‘Oh, gosh. You need pitching.’ Yeah, we also … that utility role is important. It’s one of those things, you don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have it. So, it’s something we’re really going to have to come out of here feeling good about. Not just that guy, but also the guy who is behind him. It’s the same thing as who’s your backup second baseman? Who’s your utility guy? Who’s your backup [to the] backup catcher?”

[email protected]

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

Although Schoop's elbow injury isn't considered significant, early scare exposes hole for Orioles

Although Schoop's elbow injury isn't considered significant, early scare exposes hole for Orioles

Jonathan Schoop’s elbow injury isn’t expected to force the Orioles’ starting second baseman to miss an extended amount of time, but his absence from the team’s Grapefruit League opener Friday afternoon served as an early-spring reminder that the team could be in trouble if one of its infielders goes down.

Schoop was scratched from Friday’s game with what manager Buck Showalter described as left elbow bursitis. Showalter said Schoop hit his elbow against something — he wasn’t sure what — and the joint swelled to the point that it had to be drained. Schoop walked around the Orioles clubhouse Friday morning with his elbow wrapped in ice.

Other than the Orioles’ four starting infielders — Schoop, first baseman Chris Davis, shortstop Manny Machado and third baseman Tim Beckham — the team has just one other infielder on the 40-man roster in utility man Éngelb Vielma, who had yet to arrive in camp Friday because he was delayed by visa problems

That forced nonroster infielder Luis Sardiñas into a starting role in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium. As of now, Vielma, Sardiñas and nonroster player Rubén Tejada are the three players battling for the team’s utility infielder spot, a position that had been held by Ryan Flaherty for six seasons.

There’s no clear front runner for the spot, but the winner of that competition will likely be chosen because of his glove. Both Sardiñas and Tejada had rough starts to the spring, making fielding errors in Thursday’s intrasquad game.

Playing every day has been a badge of pride for most Orioles veterans. Schoop has been one of the Orioles’ most durable players over the past two seasons. He played in all 162 games in 2016 and missed just two games last year. Machado has played in all but 11 games over the past three seasons. Beckham played in each of his first 47 games with the Orioles before an abscessed tooth and pulled hamstring forced him to miss seven of the season’s final 10 games.

So, in some ways, the Orioles have been lucky their lack of utility infield depth hasn’t been tested more. But it was obvious last year, when both shortstop J.J. Hardy and Flaherty were injured, that the Orioles needed better utility options. The team traded for Tejada, who struggled defensively, before the acquisition of Beckham.

“I’ve said all along, the ‘what ifs,’ ” Showalter said. “Our depth in the infield has been a challenge. It’s a scenario we haven’t really produced a lot down below.”

As much as the focus this spring training will be on making marked improvements in the starting rotation, a key to the Orioles’ success will be improving the team defense, especially because the team’s pitching will again rely heavily on converting ground balls into outs.

While the competition for the utility spot seems to be a three-player race between Sardiñas, Tejada and Vielma, it didn’t take long for Showalter to recognize a plus-defender in Erick Salcedo, a nonroster invitee who spent last season Double-A Bowie.

After the Orioles’ Grapefruit League opener, Showalter raved about Salcedo’s defense, positioning and awareness, as well as the fact that 11-time Gold Glove Award winner Omar Vizquel was his mentor in the Los Angeles Angels system.

“He’s an aware sharp player,” Showalter said. “He brings us a little something different. That’s why guys like having him on the club.”

The highlight of Salcedo’s day was making an astute play on Ryan Schimpf’s broken-bat grounder to second base in the top of the sixth inning that Salcedo fielded while the barrel spun in his direction about 10 feet away.

“It’s a tough play because you don’t normally have the bat coming to you,” Salcedo said. “I saw the bat and it go to the right side, so I made the play. … I know the team is looking for that, the defense. … I try to make every play I can. That’s my [mentality] right now. I try to make for them the decision hard. It’s all I can do, make the plays and help the team right.”

Showalter said he’s not only looking for the utility infielder who makes the club out of spring training, but also who could play the role after him.

“It’s more than that,” Showalter said. “It’s more than just one guy. There’s multiple guys. It’s all relevant. People say, ‘Oh, gosh. You need pitching.’ Yeah, we also … that utility role is important. It’s one of those things, you don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have it. So, it’s something we’re really going to have to come out of here feeling good about. Not just that guy, but also the guy who is behind him. It’s the same thing as who’s your backup second baseman? Who’s your utility guy? Who’s your backup [to the] backup catcher?”

[email protected]

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

SARASOTA — Colby Rasmus is making a new start with the Baltimore Orioles after taking an eight-month break from baseball.

Rasmus signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles this week, after abruptly leaving the Rays in midseason. The contract is for $3 million if he makes the Orioles and contains up to $2 million in incentives.

The 31-year-old outfielder, who had a lingering hip injury last season, discussed some of the reasons for his departure.

“I started working out at 8 or 9 years old to play in the big leagues, and I just kind of hit a point to where I was like, ‘Man, I need to take a little break and enjoy some time with my family,'” Rasmus said. “My 8-year-old girl was in school, just had a boy who was 10 weeks old, so being able to spend time with them and keeping my wife feeling good through her pregnancy was important to me.”

Rasmus has a .242 lifetime average in nine seasons with St. Louis, Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay. He hit .281 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs in 37 games with the Rays last season.

Before the 2015 season, Rasmus contemplated signing with the Orioles. Manager Buck Showalter visited him at his Alabama home, but he decided to take an offer with the Houston Astros.

Showalter’s visit was hard to forget.

“It was definitely a good impression. I thought we vibed together pretty well in the way he thinks and the way he operates,” Rasmus said. “Kind of an old-school mentality. I grew up in a household that was kind of that way. My dad was pretty rough, so that doesn’t bother me. It kind of helps me.

“So, the meeting we had was good. It didn’t work out, but now here I am and hopefully it will be a good time.”

Rasmus said he had MRI exams and X-rays on Wednesday and “everything was good.”

He added: “Coming off surgery last year, I felt good. I felt like I was playing good baseball, so I hope to carry that over.”

Showalter was positive about the medical review.

“The big thing with him is that his hip is healthy for the first time,” he said.

Rasmus took batting practice before Baltimore’s Grapefruit League opener on Friday, and Showalter will left him decide when he’s ready to make his debut.

“This guy kind of knows the ropes,” Showalter said. “He knows what’s right and what’s not, and I’ll trust him.”

Rasmus says the break refreshed him enough to give it another shot.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, so I got back to working out and mentally I feel good,” Rasmus said. “I feel like I still have a little bit left to give to the game and show the game some respect and go out in a good way.”

Unsung Orioles relievers make early impression in Grapefruit League opener

Unsung Orioles relievers make early impression in Grapefruit League opener

Trying to sort out the Orioles’ 37 pitchers in big league camp officially began Friday with the team’s Grapefruit League opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium.

With four pitchers (Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman) pegged for the rotation, and four bullpen spots likely set on the Opening Day roster (Brad Brach, Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day and Richard Bleier), that leaves 29 pitchers competing for one starting spot and three or four relief spots.

In Friday’s opener, two dark-horse relief candidates drew notice as Rule 5 draft pick Pedro Araujo and nonroster invitee Joely Rodríguez each tossed a scoreless frame.

“Araujo was good today. That was good to see,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Joely Rodríguez has been impressive all camp. It was good to see him out there.”

Araujo, the 24-year-old who pitched mostly at the High-A level last year in the Chicago Cubs organization, retired the Rays in order in a clean fifth inning, inducing a 4-3 groundout from former Orioles minor leaguer Johnny Monell, then striking out Adam Moore and Micah Johnson, both swinging.

Rodríguez, a former Philadelphia Phillies left-hander who had a strong 2016 season but had difficulty last year, displayed a mid-90s fastball with life. He retired three of the four batters he faced in a scoreless sixth, inducing nothing but weak contact on two groundouts and a lazy bloop single. He also struck out Jake Bauers swinging.

“We can say what we want to, but if they start making a case out of the chute, we’re going to have to start cutting down the numbers here at some point,” Showalter said. “There’s nothing imminent. But that’s how you get an opportunity and how you continue to have an opportunity.”

[email protected]

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard