The best thing that can be said about the Orioles after three games of spring training is that it doesn't count. It doesn't matter! As fellow Camden Chatter Chris Booze wrote earlier today, there's no reason to panic yet. It's a good thing that it doesn't count yet, too, because the Orioles pitching staff got kicked around the diamond again on Thursday afternoon as the team fell, 10-3, to the Rays.
Much the same as yesterday, an Orioles starting pitcher was scheduled to go two innings and could not even complete that assignment without getting blasted into the stratosphere. In today's case, that pitcher was Miguel Gonzalez. His struggles were dissimilar from Ubaldo Jimenez. Gonzalez was almost throwing too many strikes, relying heavily on a fastball that Rays radio noted was a couple of miles per hour below his working regular season velocity, and was too often elevated in the zone.
Well, that's what spring training is for, right? Work out all of the kinks. So far there are a lot of them, and not just for the probable major league starting pitchers. In another case of "it's only been three games, so don't panic, but there's nothing else to talk about so here we go," Hyun Soo Kim remains hitless in spring training. He's taken an 0-3 in each of the first three games.
For Kim, there will surely be an adjustment to make to MLB pitching. There's a month left to make that adjustment. Maybe this isn't even something that needs a big adjustment. Players go on slumps all the time for all kinds of reasons. If Kim went hitless from June 1-3, no one would really notice or care. It's just that right now there's nothing else to talk about, especially since for two of the three games in which he's played, Kim has been effectively the only expected Opening Day starter to be in the lineup.
Here's one more for the pile of stuff to work out. Right field is, early on, a mess. Yesterday, Mark Trumbo had two triples hit in his direction in the first inning, one of which was an obvious misplay. Today, Jimmy Paredes took his turn out there. This was the result:
Diagnosis on Paredes is sprained left wrist. Getting x Rays today. #orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) March 3, 2016
Paredes sprained the wrist while trying to dive for a blooper. From how it was described on Rays radio, the glove caught on the ground and bent his wrist a bit out of shape. It's the kind of thing that can happen to experienced outfielders too, but when you are throwing a DH out there, it's like, of course that happened! What else could you expect?
If the x-rays reveal nothing serious, then he probably won't miss a ton of time. Hopefully for Paredes's sake he doesn't have any impact on his hitting as a result of this wrist sprain.
Before the game, there was some news that an unspecified problem had cropped up with Brian Matusz's back either during or after he pitched yesterday. Matusz requested an MRI be done. The result:
Matusz had MRI on back. Buck said return not imminent. That's all we know for now -#orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) March 3, 2016
Your guess is as good as mine as far as what "return not imminent" is supposed to be saying. Buck Showalter tends to always look on the sunny side of players with injury issues, however, so for Buck to not be trying to run out the "day-to-day" outlook, that gives me the inkling that it's something at least vaguely serious. Whether it's "he's going to miss two weeks" or "he's going to miss two months," I guess we will have to see.
Speaking of players who have had injury problems, both Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey pitched in today's game. Neither one had his arm fall off. Bundy gave up a first pitch home run to Brandon Guyer, which is a situation that seems less than ideal. Harvey allowed a couple of two out singles that may have been corralled by superior defenders, but did not give up any runs.
The optimistic Showalter assessment of Bundy:
Buck said this was the best velocity Bundy has had all spring.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) March 3, 2016
That and a couple of bucks will get you a gallon of high-octane gasoline.
But remember, it's early and nothing counts yet, and in this case, that's good news. The Orioles are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they travel to the Blue Jays spring training facility for a 1:05 game. If you're an MLB.tv subscriber, you can watch the Blue Jays broadcast of the game. It'll also be on the radio in Baltimore on 105.7 FM.