While the Orioles await the results of this morning’s MRI on second baseman Brian Roberts’ injured right hamstring, utility man Ryan Flaherty is in the starting lineup at second base for today’s home opener against the Twins.
Roberts was able to move up the MRI to get the test done at 10 a.m., but it still needs to be read by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens.
As a precaution, infielder Yamaico Navarro traveled to Baltimore from Triple-A Norfolk last night and arrived at the Orioles clubhouse this morning.
Still, manager Buck Showalter remained optimistic about Roberts, who is out indefinitely after injuring his hamstring on a head-first slide into second base in the ninth inning of the Orioles’ 6-3 win over the Rays.
“Just because things are delayed it doesn’t mean they’re denied,” Showalter said. “We’re looking two to three deep. … You always have to say, ‘what if?’”
The Orioles do have Flaherty and infielder Alexi Casilla to fill in for Roberts at second and would add another middle infielder if they activate Navarro.
Also of note heading into today’s home opener:
-- Just like they did this spring at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles painted Earl Weaver’s No. 4 in front of the Orioles dugout at Camden Yards. Showalter said he made sure he didn’t step on the number when they made pitching changes this spring. And he will do the same now at Camden Yards. Showalter said Weaver, who died in January at the age of 82, always made time for him. Showalter said he initially addressed Weaver as ‘Mr. Weaver’ until Weaver joked to the 56-year-old Showalter that he wasn’t that young himself.
-- Showalter said he likes the early reviews on third baseman Manny Machado hitting second in the batting order. Initially, the right-handed hitting Machado was seen as a solution to breaking up the batting order against left-handed pitching, but Machado has remained in the two spot for the three games since. Showalter said he also likes how it allows him to drop shortstop J.J. Hardy, who hit a two-run homer Thursday, in the order. “It works better for all of us right now,” Showalter said.
Here are today’s starting lineups: