Sarasota, Fla. — Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop sent a shiver through the Orioles fan base last week when he was scratched from the exhibition opener with a sore left elbow.
The problem was quickly diagnosed as an inflamed bursa sac and Schoop said it was no big deal, but everything concerning Schoop is a big deal because Schoop has become such a big deal.
So, for those who needed proof that the O’s weren’t covering for some more serious injury, Schoop hammered a three-run home run and a single in the Orioles’ 8-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday before an announced 5,760 at Ed Smith Stadium.
If that wasn’t enough, he teamed with new third baseman Tim Beckham to turn a pair of nice double plays early in the game.
“They drained his elbow [Friday],’’ manager Buck Showalter. “Maybe we should drain it again tonight.”
Now, everyone will have to shift their concern to Kevin Gausman, who got banged up in a collision behind home plate in the second inning and had to be removed from the game. He suffered a gash on his left cheek when he ran into on-deck hitter Jeimer Candelario when he was backing up a play. He also went through the concussion protocol, but said he was fine.
There was more reason to worry about the way he pitched before the injury. He gave up five runs on six hits and got just four outs in his first exhibition appearance, but it’s always a good idea to keep early preseason performances in their proper perspective.
The same goes for the Orioles’ spring record. They’re 0-4-1 after five preseason games, which isn’t pretty but also isn’t very important. If you want some proof consider that they started the 2017 Grapefruit League schedule on a roll and had their worst season of the Buck Showalter/Dan Duquette era.
The year before, they started 0-10-2 and had everybody wondering if they’d ever win another game … and they made the playoffs.