The first week of spring training was not good to the Orioles with injuries. Chris Tillman, J.J. Hardy, and Zach Britton were all on the shelf either from the moment they reported or before they got into any action. For now, at least, it appears that all of those players are on the mend.
Following Thursday’s intrasquad game in which the Orioles beat the Orioles, manager Buck Showalter told Orioles reporters that all was “progressing as hoped” with Britton and Tillman.
Showalter added that Hardy has received an injection in his back, but this was explained as always being part of the plan. Does that mean that Hardy will be on track to start playing on March 4-5 as Showalter said before? Well, no, it doesn’t.
Hardy’s date for resuming baseball activities has already shifted from March 1 (Hardy’s first estimate) to March 4-5 (Showalter’s first estimate) to March 10, which was memory-holed to have been the plan all along a couple of days ago. Hardy said March 1 would mean he would be on track for Opening Day. Is March 10 the same? This question has not been answered yet.
Before the intrasquad game, Tillman said that he is working his way back into throwing. That’s mostly been playing catch at increasing distances to make sure his shoulder is back in the shape it needs to be for a full workload.
Similar to Hardy’s injury situation, whether all of that that means his recovery timetable is proceeding as previously stated, with Tillman being 2-3 weeks behind schedule of everyone else, is something we will have to wait and see. For Tillman, it’ll take even longer to know whether he’s on track, as he wasn’t scheduled for a simulated game until March 14.
Britton told Orioles reporters that there was “really good progress this morning,” although he’s still not cleared to do any throwing.
“We all agreed there’s no reason to go out there and go through the motions and possibly do any damage,” Britton said. “We have time right now on our side, so kind of just stay in here and treat it today and come in in the morning and see how I feel.”
That doesn’t sound quite like “progressing as hoped” to me, but then, I am neither a medical nor baseball professional. I’m just a guy who wants the Orioles best players to be healthy enough to play and I get nervous when things are happening that put that possibility in doubt.
It’s still only February 23, Opening Day is 39 days away, so for Britton in particular, if he’s a little behind, it may not be a huge deal. A starting pitcher has to build up strength to be able to handle 100+ pitches in an outing. Britton just needs to be ready to do his one inning-ish thing for roughly 65-70 separate games.