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Slumping Wieters gets a night off with tight right bicep muscle

BaseballBaltimore OriolesMatt WietersDana EvelandSan Diego PadresOakland Athletics

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't start Friday night's game against theOakland A's, but it wasn't because he is mired in a 1-for-30 slump. Wieters was held out of the lineup because of a tight right bicep muscle.

"We want to make sure we can get that full go," Wieters said. "We think if we get a day off today, we'll be good to go tomorrow. We don't want a one-day tightness to turn into something more."

Wieters first noticed the tightness in his arm during his first at-bat Thursday, and it continued to bother him throughout the game. The switch-hitter said it didn't impact his defense or throwing at all, but he could feel it on the extension of his left-handed swings.

"That's the main reason why I was able to stay in the game, because I still felt I could throw fine and be able to help the team defensively somehow," he said. "Hopefully a day of treatment will knock it out and I'll be ready to go."

Even without the tight bicep, it still could have been the right time for Wieters to get a day off. Over his last eight games, Wieters has struck out 15 times in 30 at-bats, and he's hitting .197 in July. He also met with special hitting instructor Terry Crowley before the game to go over his swing on film.

Also, starting pitcher Zach Britton seemed to develop a rapport with backup catcher Taylor Teagarden his last time out, when he threw six shutout innings. If there was a time to sit Wieters, Friday might have been it.

But Orioles manager Buck Showalter refuted that notion, saying Wieters could have played Friday if they needed to push him.

"No such thing as a good time to not have Matt in the lineup," Showalter said. "I'm just appreciative that he catches the number of games that he can. I hope [the tight bicep] is short lived."

Showalter also mentioned that the tightness could be related to the heat of Thursday afternoon's game and could be cramping more than anything else. If everything goes as well as Wieters anticipates, he will be in the lineup Saturday.

"It's not really a concern," Wieters said. "We think it's just something that's a little bit of tightness that everybody gets over the course of a season."

Looking at lefties

Although the Orioles are focused on adding a starter and a hitter by Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, they are asking about left-handed relievers in the trade market as well, according to multiple industry sources.

With one of the best bullpens in baseball, adding another lefty appears to be a lesser priority on the Orioles' wish list than the rotation, corner infield and left field, but adding help there would come cheaper than their other searches.

Currently, the Orioles have just one lefty reliever on the 25-man roster — Troy Patton, who heading into Friday has held left-handed hitters to a .227 average this year, the second best mark in the bullpen (lefties hit .223 against closer Jim Johnson).

But Patton, who has a 3.07 ERA, is nearly as effective against right-handers (a .238 average), and therefore is more typically used for an inning and not a particular batter. Before Friday, lefties had 88 at-bats against Patton and righties had 80.

The Orioles have Zach Phillips in the minors, but if they want to go the trade route, some left-handed relievers that potentially could be available include Kansas City's Jose Mijares, Toronto's Darren Oliver and Seattle's Oliver Perez, as well as Doug Slaten (Pittsburgh Pirates' minors) and Neil Cotts (Texas Rangers' minors).

Executive vice president Dan Duquette continues to talk with a number of teams as Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline approaches.

One interesting sighting at Friday's game was San Diego Padres senior VP Omar Minaya. The Padres have several potential trade chips including highly coveted third baseman Chase Headley. Minaya, who likely also was scouting the Oakland A's, is the third Padres official/scout to watch the Orioles in the past two weeks. They also had a scout at one of the Orioles' minor league affiliates recently.

Eveland designated again

The Orioles have designated left-hander Dana Eveland for assignment three times this year — and this time his stint with the big league club lasted only one day.

Eveland was called up Thursday to fortify a depleted bullpen, but he was replaced a day later by right-hander Miguel Socolovich. Showalter prefers to have a long relief man that throws from the opposite side of that day's starter, and with righty Chris Tillman pitching Thursday, Showalter preferred to have Eveland in the bullpen. Socolovich also wasn't eligible to be called up until Friday after being sent down July 17.

If Eveland clears waivers — which is very likely because of his $750,000 guaranteed contract — he will be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday and start for the Tides on Tuesday night.

"As long as I clear, I am going to accept the assignment," Eveland said. "There's no need for me to go anywhere else. Nobody needs a guy who is not at his best right now, so obviously I have some work to do."

Eveland has struggled in his undefined role with the Orioles, holding a 4.73 ERA while shuttling up and down from the minors and pitching both as a starter and reliever.

"Hopefully I'll get down there, start a few games and go from there and hopefully get back to being stretched out and get ready to come back in here and fill whatever role they think needs filling," Eveland said.

Andino making progress

Second baseman Robert Andino (left shoulder strain) has been making significant progress in his rehab, and before Friday's game, Showalter said he would be available a week from Friday, which was earlier than expected.

A couple hours later, the team announced that Andino is going to play in Norfolk on Sunday and Monday and will be eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. Andino looked comfortable fielding ground balls during batting practice before the game.

"This is a tough kid," Showalter said. "Most guys that are tough guys like that are also pretty quick healers. The challenge has been to slow him down."

Around the horn

Shortstop J.J. Hardy started Friday despite suffering bruising after being hit in the ribs with a pitch Thursday afternoon. … Orioles opening day starter Jake Arrieta pitched the first game of a doubleheader on Friday, lasting 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out two. He was supposed to pitch Thursday, but the game was postponed. … The Orioles haven't won a season series against the A's since 1998. … Utility man Ryan Flaherty turned 26 on Friday.

Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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