Orioles news and notes
I’m not sure how severe Chris Jakubauskas’ groin injury is, but bringing up another left-handed reliever in Clay Rapada makes a lot of sense during this home stand. First of all, Michael Gonzalez is really struggling, making it tough for manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor to trust him right now in a tough spot. Second, the three teams that the Orioles play over the next 11 days – the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox – are absolutely loaded with left-handed hitters so having two lefties in the bullpen could be crucial.
Rapada signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in January and is not on the 40-man so the Orioles will have to make a 40-man roster to accommodate him. I don’t like speculating on who could be jettisoned, but all it would take is one glance at the roster and you’d see a couple of people that have fallen down the organization’s depth chart and would probably be viewed as replaceable. Also, I don’t have any inside knowledge on this but another option would be transferring injured starter Justin Duchscherer (left hip strain) to the 60-day disabled list. Duchscherer’s DL-stint is backdated to March 29. If he’s transferred to the 60-day, that would mean he’d be eligible to come off during the weekend of May 28-30. That seems like a long way off, but the reality is Duchscherer isn’t even throwing from off the mound yet and he barely pitched this spring. So even when he starts throwing from the mound, he’s still going to have to make a bunch of rehab appearances. Again, I don’t know if that’s what the Orioles will do to free up a 40-man spot. But it is an option I’m sure they are at least considering.
A couple of minor league injury updates: Single-A Frederick right-handed starter Bobby Bundy left his outing today with right forearm soreness. However, Orioles Director of Player Development John Stockstill said that they don’t believe the injury to be serious and as of now, they expect Bundy to make his next start … Double-A first baseman Joe Mahoney still hasn’t been able to pass all his physical tests to return from a quadriceps strain and now it appears that he’ll be out until late this week.
And finally, just a quick rant from me: I’ve seen several blog posts on this and I’ve also received a handful of emails criticizing Derrek Lee for being indifferent and playing with no intensity, and essentially alleging that he’s just in Baltimore to collect one more paycheck. Lee obviously is not getting the job done right now as he’s hitting .212 with two RBIs in 14 games. Complaining about his play is understandable, but the criticism about Lee not caring and just going through the motions is ridiculous. The guy spends hours before the game in the video room studying the pitchers that he is about to face. After spending his whole career in the National League, these pitchers are mostly unfamiliar to him. He also took plenty of accountability yesterday. Asked about the offense’s struggles, he said, “Me sitting in the middle of the lineup and not getting on base doesn’t help anything.” Lee is an intense guy who takes pride in performing up to his standards. Just because you don’t see him whipping helmets and carrying on in the dugout doesn’t mean he doesn’t care and he’s just going through the motions.