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Orioles notes: Top prospect Hays sidelined until next week; Cashner pitches sim game

Orioles reporters Eduardo Encina & Jon Meoli discuss Andrew Cashner pitching in a "simulated" two-inning game. (Eduardo Encina, Baltimore Sun video)

SARASOTA, FLA. — Top prospect Austin Hays will be shut down from all baseball activities for three days after receiving an injection in his balky throwing shoulder, but the 22-year-old expects to be able to return to Grapefruit League games in full capacity by sometime next week.

Hays has played in two Grapefruit League games this spring – both at designated hitter – and hasn’t played the outfield since last Thursday’s intrasquad game. He received an MRI on his shoulder Wednesday and it showed inflammation in the back of the joint, so he received an injection.

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“Originally we were going to not throw but hit on the days I was down,” Hays said. “But since it is inflamed and since there is some irritation in there and since I’m not going to be throwing, we might as well give it complete rest and not hit for those days as well.”

Four months after forcing the Nationals to cancel an MLB exhibition series at the Naval Academy, the Orioles announced they will play exhibition game in Annapolis in 2019.

Hays said he will resume hitting Saturday by taking batting practice, but won’t start throwing again until Tuesday after the team’s lone spring training day off Monday.

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Hays said he’s only felt discomfort when he throws, specifically when he cocks back his right arm before making a throw, and it hasn’t affected him hitting at all.

“Since I’m not throwing and there is inflammation in there, it doesn’t bother me to throw,” Hays said. “But since I’m not throwing, we figured for the sake of making sure it doesn’t get aggravated, to just take the three days off of hitting and just completely rest it, do some treatment on it, get the inflammation down and then see there we’re at.”

Hays said he doesn’t think he will be hurt by missing time in the outfield.

“We do a really good job here as an outfield preparing for game-like situations,” Hays said. “It’s not just fungos. We do as much as we can to be in in-game-like scenarios, so when I do get back out there, I’ll be prepared. I’ll be ready.”

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Hays, who was last year’s Orioles minor league Player of the Year, is competing for the Orioles’ starting right field spot this spring.

Cashner looks strong in sim game

Right-hander Andrew Cashner threw a two-inning simulated game on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex Thursday morning.

Cashner faced Orioles hitters Mark Trumbo, Tim Beckham and Craig Gentry in the game, and ran his mid-90s sinker into the right-handed hitters, and broke two bats in the process.

The game was Cashner’s first time against any sort of game-simulated action since signing with the Orioles last month. He previously threw bullpen sessions and a live batting practice to hitters.

Cashner kept the ball low in the zone, grumbling to himself when he lost control of a pitch high, and induced four ground balls into play. He unofficially threw 37 pitches.

As in all simulated games, Cashner sat down between innings, and also simulated some situational scenarios, pitching from both the windup and the stretch. For example, at the end of his second inning, he threw to Gentry from the stretch, simulating a runner at third with two outs, even looking over to third base before throwing home.

Cashner is scheduled to see his next action in a three-inning simulated game Tuesday in Sarasota. There’s no word on when he would pitch in a Grapefruit League game, and manager Buck Showalter has said he’s going to steer some of his starters away from American League East competition and the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles’ first regular-season opponent.

“You get your pitch count started and get this one behind you,” Showalter said. “If you look at our schedule, with so many teams in the American League East and the Twins, who we play early in the season, I think he kind of likes how the program is set up. He'll get some live action, too, but things like that, if you've got the right mentality and the right simulation, you could tell he was treating it like a game. ... I thought he got a good return for it. He and [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] were happy about it.”

Around the horn

Showalter said neither infielder Éngelb Vielma nor outfielder Jaycob Brugman, who got late starts from camp, would be penalized for that. Vielma was late because of visa problems that kept him from arriving from Venezuela, while Brugman had to wait to clear waivers after the club designated him for assignment last month. Both started on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays. ... Showalter said Gentry (hamstring) would be in the mix to play after Monday's day off. ... Right-hander Kevin Gausman, who had a cut on his face after a collision behind home plate in his first start Monday, will be on the mound again Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater.

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