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Orioles catcher Andrew Susac hoping to get back on field soon after early scare

SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles catcher Andrew Susac missed his fifth day of workouts Thursday, while recovering from a staph infection, but is confident his time away won’t affect his preparation for the season.

Susac, 27, who is competing with Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns to be the backup catcher, said he doesn’t think he’s very far behind as the Grapefruit League season opens Friday.

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“Now I’m really glad I came out eight days early and got to catch a lot of these guys before we got going, but I think I was pretty close to catching most of the guys out there, so it’s just catching at the end of the day,” Susac said. “We are all going to get comfortable. I’m glad I’m not missing games. The last day I was here, we went over first and third defense, we did the bunts. I’ve just got to catch up on some sign stuff, get going from there, but I don’t think I lost too much time.”

After stepping away from the game last season, Colby Rasmus is ready to return to baseball with the Orioles.

The infection, which landed Susac in the hospital for two days, was the latest in a series of early injuries for the star-crossed former second-round draft pick. He opened last season with the Milwaukee Brewers on the disabled list with a trapezius injury, then when he returned and opened his season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, he suffered from headaches believed to be caused by the high altitude. He landed on the DL again later in the season. Susac said he’s missed time early in spring training in each of the past three years.

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“I try to be positive with everything,” he said. “At the same time, this is three years in a row now. If I had spring training in the batting cages back home, I’d be all right, and then I come here, and it seems like the first week of spring, someone’s [saying], ‘No, you aren’t playing.’ Luckily this is not going to be a thing that’s going to keep me out too long. I’m glad now versus like last year, when it was in the middle of games and you’re missing a big chunk of games. Hopefully I’ll be back the next couple of days here in full action.”

This time, Susac initially thought he had a bug bite. But when it started to swell, he developed a fever and he started having the chills, he knew it could be something worse. The next day, he was in a local hospital getting tests and treatment.

“I don’t know if it’s the humidity and wearing your sliders all day and a cup and come back in and it looks a little more red,” Susac said. “I’m stubborn. I don’t want to go back to the training room. I’ve been there, so I go home, I come back here the next day and it was really painful. I made it through the day somehow. Come back in, see the trainers, and it wasn’t good. They put me on oral antibiotic, kind of marked it off to see where the infection was. Came in the next morning and it had almost doubled or tripled in size, so they sent me to the hospital to make sure this thing stopped.

“[It was] better yesterday, two days ago really, where it was a big breakthrough and they kind of discharged me from the hospital. Got a lot of nasty stuff out and started on the healing process, but kind of had to let it take its toll and try a different antibiotic to see if they could get the swelling to go down. Started to get pretty out of control there, started to scare me a little bit. Other than that, they were just testing for MRSA and some of the worst things you can get, I guess. Overall, it looks like I lucked out there.”

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