SARASOTA, FLA. — Even after an encouraging set of MRI results that found Orioles first baseman Chris Davis' sore elbow to have "no issues" structurally, manager Buck Showalter said the team is still going to be plenty cautious with its franchise first baseman this month.
"A little improvement today," Showalter said. "Anytime you start dealing in that area, you're concerned, but we were good to get the structural feel behind us. I think you'll see him. Hopefully, he manages well and he gets back in the flow sometime next week.
"We trust him. I can tell by the way he feels now that he wants to make sure it doesn't go backwards again. We're going to be cautious with it. But I don't think we're going to have to hold Chris back."
Showalter reiterated Sunday a three-to-five-day shutdown for Davis, and said missing that long won't necessarily hamper his preparation for the season. Davis might not return until he's comfortably able to play first base defensively as well as swing.
The soreness originated late last month when Davis felt as if he might have slept on his arm wrong, and was limited to designated hitter duty as a result. But the team scheduled an MRI on Saturday after the discomfort didn't improve, and Showalter said Saturday that Davis had some soreness in the flexor mass area of the elbow, which is often cited before more serious arm injuries.
"I don't think this was from swinging," Showalter said. "This was just some irritation he had there from throwing and it kind of got away from him. It's good to get it out of the way early, the way I look at it."
In the interim, the club will get more repetitions for Mark Trumbo and Pedro Álvarez at first base, with new camp invitee Danny Valencia also mixing in there.
Salcedo, Rosa reassigned
Showalter said nonroster infielders Erick Salcedo and Garabez Rosa were sent to minor league camp after Saturday's game with the Phillies, and said each made an impression in major league camp.
"Salcedo can catch the ball," Showalter said. "Very intelligent, smart baseball player. A guy you can trust. He knows how to play the game. The same things that they told me about him. It's good experience for us to get to know him a little bit better. He's a guy we always brought over. He's a guy who loves to play and knows how to play."
On Rosa, who was a frequent spring training presence in recent seasons even if this was his first time in major league camp, Showalter said he could be in the mix to come up this season.
"There's not many people here with a consistent track record in the minor leagues of hitting like Rosa," Showalter said. "He can hit, man. He's a much-coveted player in winter ball. He likes to play. He keeps playing. That's why you can never sell those guys short. They keep plying their trade. They keep grinding in winter ball. They keep doing what it takes. I have no doubt that if we brought him up, he would ambush some people offensively for a while. He just needs to be more selective once guys get a feel for him."
Left-hander Chris Lee was also optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. He’s out about a month with a right oblique strain.
Former Orioles relief pitcher Sammy Stewart, who helped lead the team to its last World Series title in 1983 before personal tragedy and drug addiction derailed his life, was found dead Friday in Hendersonville, NC. He was 63.
Showalter said he believes outfielder Craig Gentry (hamstring) will play Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins but that rookie Austin Hays (shoulder) could require another day or two after Monday's day off. ... On the team's race for the fifth starter spot, Showalter said there's been little done to make a decision. "I think it's a little early," he said. "We've got a lot of people that we're considering, and we've got it set up through the middle of the month. We should be able to take a really good look at guys. I'm not going to handicap it now. Nobody has really separated themselves negatively."
Despite tough start by Gabriel Ynoa, Orioles win 10-8 over Red Sox