LAKELAND, Fla. — First baseman Derrek Lee appeared to be on the verge of making his Orioles exhibition debut, but he will be held out of Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox because of soreness in his right wrist.
Lee is coming back from surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right hand, and the wrist soreness might be related to the resumption of regular baseball activities after a lengthy layoff.
"The good news is there's no problem at all with the thumb. … It feels good," manager Buck Showalter said before Friday's win over the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. "He's got a lot of things he's firing on that he hasn't used in a while, and he's got some soreness here."
The Orioles are going to take things slowly during the first week of the Grapefruit League season.
"We've got time," Showalter said. "No sense in rushing."
After Friday's victory over the Tigers, Showalter renewed the call for the addition of a "team error" category to the defensive statistics. Brennan Boesch's pop-up that was lost in the sun by utility infield candidate Nick Green was ruled a hit, so Jake Arrieta was charged with an earned run, even though he made a great pitch to get what should have been the final out of the first inning.
"The guy gets an earned run for that?" Showalter said.
Starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer, who seemed fatalistic about his comeback after experiencing renewed soreness in his surgically repaired left hip, has bounced back to the point where he could pitch in an exhibition game as soon as Tuesday. He'll throw live batting practice Saturday.
Duchscherer could be a very important part of the Orioles rotation if he can get healthy and stay healthy, but nobody wants to look that far ahead at this point.
"We'll just let it play out," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "No sense jumping to conclusions, good or bad."
Showalter said that — so far — the amount of preparation time that Duchscherer has lost because of the soreness is not significant."
"In a perfect world, [you want to get] to that 20-27 innings — 20 is the minimum, 27 would be fine," Showalter said. "If he stays on schedule starting Tuesday, it would be fine. It's obviously a lot of bridges to cross, but so far, so good.
"We knew coming into this if he's healthy, he's worth a gamble. Especially the way Andy and them set up the contract. We certainly didn't come into this with a given that he was going to be healthy to start the season."
Around the horn
Comeback pitcher Ryan Drese made his second multi-inning appearance of the exhibition season and delivered two more scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and struck out one. In his Orioles debut on Monday in Bradenton, he retired all six batters he faced. … The Orioles are pleased with the way Josh Bell has accepted the challenge of acclimating himself to first base. "Anything he can do to enhance his versatility is a good thing," MacPhail said. "He looked good at third base last year. There's no reason he can't do some good things at first base." … Brian Matusz had successful laser surgery in Philadelphia to remove a wart on his pitching hand and was on his way back to Sarasota on Friday. Showalter indicated that his activities should be limited for only a few days.