Sarasota, Fla. — Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop was scratched from this afternoon’s Grapefruit League opener with what the club is calling left elbow bursitis.
Schoop was initially slated to start at second base and bat second today in a lineup that featured seven starters. But the team released a revised lineup without Schoop and with utility man Luis Sardinas playing second and batting ninth.
The Orioles haven’t given a reason why Schoop was scratched, but he was seen in the Orioles clubhouse with his left elbow iced. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Schoop’s elbow was drained to relief some swelling.
“He bumped it on something, he’s really not sure what it was,” Showalter said. “He just kind of hit his elbow on something hard and it swelled up a little bit.”
Showalter said Schoop was scheduled to play in tomorrow’s home split-squad game, but is considered day to day.
“I’ve prepared for him not [to play],” Showalter said, “but I’ve got one [lineup] with him in it.”
Schoop has been one of the Orioles’ most durable players over the past two seasons. He played in all 162 games in 2016 and missed just two games last year.
“I’ve said all along, the ‘what ifs,’” Showalter said. “Our depth in the infield has been a challenge. It’s a scenario we haven’t really produced a lot down below.”
Any significant injury to an infielder would be a concern for the Orioles, because there’s no clear frontrunner for the team’s utility infielder roster spot this spring. Sardinas, Ruben Tejada and Engelb Vielma are competing for that spot, which had been held by Ryan Flaherty for the past six seasons.
“It’s more than that,” Showalter said. “It’s more than just one guy. There’s multiple guys. It’s all relevant. People say, ‘Oh, gosh. You need pitching.’ Yeah, we also … that utility role is important. It’s one of those things, you don’t realize how important it is until you don’t have it. So it’s something we’re really going to have to come out of here feeling good about. Not just that guy, but also the guy who is behind him. It’s the same thing as who’s your backup second baseman. Who’s your utility guy? Who’s your backup [to the] backup catcher.”
Both Sardinas and Tejada made errors in Thursday’s intrasquad game, and Vielma had yet to arrive at camp as of Thursday, held up by visa issues.