Orioles reporters Eduardo Encina and Peter Schmuck discuss Harvey Hunter's first Grapefruit League game as well as the bullpen for Miguel Castro. (Eduardo Encina, Baltimore Sun video)
SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles outfielder Craig Gentry said Tuesday that his strained left hamstring is a minor one and he expects to be ready to returns to Grapefruit League within the next few days.
“It’s feeling a lot better,” Gentry said. “I think I caught it before anything serious happened, so I don’t know how long it will be. I wouldn’t expect it to be more than a few days or so.”
Gentry, 34, suffered the injury while making a diving attempt on a ball in center field early in Sunday’s road game against the Boston Red Sox. He initially remained in the game, but left before the bottom of the fifth inning after the hamstring started tightening on him.
“When I got up, I just noticed that it tightened up on me on that play, and kind of as the game went on it got a little worse, so it was really more of a precautionary-type thing,” Gentry said.
Gentry, who was signed to a minor league deal this past offseason, is competing for a right-handed-hitting outfield spot along with rookie Austin Hays and Joey Rickard in what will be one of the more open roster battles of camp.
“Of course you don’t want to be hurt in spring training,” Gentry said. “But luckily it was in the beginning and we have a lot of time left, a lot of games left, so hopefully we caught it early enough that it’s not going to be a big deal.”
Gentry made the Orioles’ Opening Day roster last year with a sensational spring training in which he had a .957 OPS in 29 Grapefruit League games while going 7-for-7 on stolen-base attempts.
Castro throws bullpen session
Right-hander Miguel Castro threw a bullpen session during Tuesday’s workout in Sarasota, his first side session since he was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday with patellar tendinitis and a sore back.
Castro threw all of his pitches in his session — his fastball, slider and changeup — and appeared comfortable working from both the windup and the stretch.
If all goes well, Castro, the front runner for the team’s fifth rotation spot, is expected to see his first game action in a “B” game Friday morning against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I feel very excited about that,” Castro said Tuesday morning before his bullpen session. “Just want to make good pitches and hopefully things go well.”
Late lineup change
Hays, who was relegated to serving as the designated hitter Sunday because of a lat muscle pull, was initially inserted in Tuesday’s lineup as an outfielder, but was shifted back to DH against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte.
Rule 5 draft holdover Anthony Santander started in the outfield in Hays’ place.
“Just giving his arm another day,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m just waiting for the trainers to give him the go-ahead. Thought it would be today, but after going through the pregame stuff, thought it would be good to give him some more time.”
Showalter said right-hander Kevin Gausman seemed OK the day after he got banged up in a collision with Detroit Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario on Monday. Gausman is tentatively scheduled to throw his bullpen session Wednesday, but it might be moved back a day. He’s still on the schedule to make his regularly scheduled start Saturday.
“Right now, he’s tentatively on schedule, because sometimes the soreness doesn’t fall in until the following day,” Showalter said, “so we’ll wait to see how he is in the morning. If he continues to have the indications he had today, he’ll stay in turn.”
Around the horn
Right-hander Andrew Cashner is scheduled to throw live batting practice Thursday, but neither he nor right-hander Chris Tillman is yet scheduled for an exhibition start. … Showalter said Tillman’s throwing session Tuesday went very well. … MASN announced its Orioles broadcast schedule Tuesday with 92 games airing live on MASN and 69 on MASN2. One Orioles game is scheduled to air on a national network in 2018. Gary Thorne and Jim Hunter will again share play-by-play duties for MASN, and will be joined by Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer and Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop Mike Bordick as color analysts.