One of the Orioles' offseason priorities was improving the club's left-handed relief depth, especially given the prospect of fielding an all right-handed rotation. And now, less than two weeks before the regular season begins, Brian Matusz's nagging back injury has left the Orioles devoid of situational left-handed relief options, and the club is scrambling for bullpen help.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke with Chris Davis on Sunday and expects the suspended first baseman to soon go to the organization's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., in an attempt to stay sharp.
The Orioles clawed their way back from the hole dug by Chris Tillman -- thanks in part to rookie Jonathan Schoop's first multihomer game -- and catcher Nick Hundley, in his first game with the club, quickly went from goat to hero in a 7-6 victory in 10 innings.
Left-hander Troy Patton, the Orioles' fifth reliever, gave up two runs and three hits in the 13th, sending the club to its first loss in five extra-inning games this season with an 8-7 loss to the Indians.
It's expected that there will be another fresh pitcher in the bullpen tonight when the Orioles open a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards after Chris Tillman could only go one-plus inning Wednesday.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon hit two three-run homers, including one off Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez in the fifth inning, to give Kansas City an 8-6 victory and a split in the four-game series.
Extra days of rest have helped right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. On regular four days rest, he¿s 12-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 23 career starts. But when he receives more than four days rest, he¿s 9-7 with a 2.97 ERA in 24 career starts.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter always worries about the impact on his pitching staff when the schedule gets scrambled by bad weather, but the club figures to come out of Thursday's doubleheader in pretty good shape under the circumstances.
The Orioles already faced looming roster decisions before they officially placed first baseman Chris Davis on the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's game against the Kansas City Royals. And now the club's roster management is about to get trickier.
Before Sunday's game against the Kansas City Royals at Camden Yards, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that, while he's hopeful Chris Davis can return from the 15-day disabled list when he's eligible May 11, he's not expecting the first baseman to be recovered from a left oblique strain by that time.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy said Thursday before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre that he will no longer comment on anything having to do with contract extension talks until there are developments in the matter.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that third baseman Manny Machado reported normal soreness Sunday following his first extending spring training game and will play seven innings at third base Monday and then a full game at designated hitter Tuesday.
Left-hander Troy Patton, who is currently serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine, is eligible to come off the restricted list on April 30, and the Orioles might have a tough time finding a spot for him when he is able to return.