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Wieters out of Orioles starting lineup, Reimold starts

TORONTO – Matt Wieters is not in the Orioles' starting lineup for the second straight day today after injuring his left wrist attempting to make a diving play at first base Friday night.

Steve Clevenger started at catcher for this afternoon's series finale in Toronto.

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Orioles manager Buck Showalter was purposely vague about Wieters' availability for today's game and beyond – the Orioles open a three-game series in New York Monday with a rare weekday afternoon game but said the wrist has improved since yesterday.

"He's better today. I wouldn't talk about his availability, but we'll see as the day progresses. We'll see. … He might play today [off the bench]."

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X-rays on Wieters' wrist were negative and Showalter didn't know of any further tests planned.

"It's a good sign that he's feeling better today," Showalter said.

Wieters suffered the injury while attempting to tag Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the sixth inning of Friday's 10-2 Orioles win. Tulowitzki hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Jonathan Schoop, playing to the left of the second-base bag, backhanded. Schoop's throw sailed over Chris Davis, but Wieters was backing up the play.

Seeing that Tulowitzki had made the turn toward second base, Wieters sped to first base to tag Tulowitzki, diving head first reaching his glove to the far side of the bag. But as Wieters went low, Tulowitzki went high leaping over Wieters, avoiding his tag and landing on the bag in the process.

As Wieters attempted to roll over to tag Tulowitzki as he left his feet, Wieters' glove was stuck under his body, twisting his wrist awkwardly.

-- Nolan Reimold, whose contract was officially selected before Suday's game, was in the starting lineup. Initially, he was supposed to start against left-hander Mark Buehrle, but Toronto shuffled their rotation and right-hander Marco Estrada got the start.

"We've got a guy with a neutral split," Showalter said of Estrada. "He's actually as tough on left-handed as he is on right-handers with as many changeups as he throws, so trying to not let [Reimold] sit around too long. Stevie [Pearce] needs a little break. It's a good time for him and he's familiar playing here."

-- Both shortstop J.J. Hardy and Showalter said that Hardy is ready to return from the 15-day disabled list when he's eligible on Tuesday.

Hardy has been taking batting practice and doing normal pregame fielding and running activities for several days now.

"He's going to be ready to go Tuesday," Showalter said. "He feels good. We knew he'd probably be ready for the DL period is over. He's ready. He'll be in the lineup on Tuesday."

-- Showalter said right-hander Miguel Gonzalez isn't yet ready to resume throwing. The club was waiting for the soreness and swelling in Gonzalez's elbow to subside before he can throw again.

Gonzalez received a cortisone shot Monday in his shoulder.

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"I talked to him yesterday, if he was feeling anything," Showalter said. "He said he hasn't had that leap, that jump, but we're not out there throwing every day, so there's really no way to tell. Richie said he's going through the exercises, the [rotator] cuff stuff and the elbow. I think the shoulder will come more quickly than the elbow, but I'm looking forward to him getting the ball in his hands."

-- The Orioles could send three minor league affiliates to the postseason. Double-A Bowie already clinched a playoff berth with a division crown and Triple-A Norfolk has clinched at least a tie for the division crown. Short-season Class A Aberdeen is also ½ game out of first in their division with two games to play.

"It's funny how when none of the teams win they say you're developing players, but when all the teams win, they say that winning is a part of development," Showalter said. "I think it's somewhere in between. You never let anything step in the way of developing players for the major league club, but when you play that many games, you like to get something for it."

Showalter, who followed the minor league system meticulously, said he was also impressed with the job done by former Orioles player Ryan Minor managing low Class-A Delmarva (37-31) as well as seeing several of this year's draft picks – including Ryan Mountcastle (supplemental first-round), Ryan McKenna (fourth round), Jason Heinrich (fifth round) and Jaylen Ferguson (ninth round) perform well for a Gulf Coast League team that's gone 34-25.

"Those guys are 17 and 18 years old playing every day in the Gulf Coast League and to finish eight or nine games above .500, that's pretty impressive," Showalter said. "And [they have] young pitching too. That makes me feel good."

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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