Orioles' Guthrie still has sights set on pitching Sunday

Right-hander surprised he had pneumonia; Duchscherer has back worked on

April 07, 2011|By Kevin Van Valkenburg, The Baltimore Sun

Jeremy Guthrie says he's mentally preparing to pitch Sunday against the Texas Rangers and will do his best to convince manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles medical staff that he's ready, but ultimately he'll leave the decision up to them. Guthrie was released from the hospital Wednesday after spending several days in bed getting treatment for pneumonia.

"Even when I was sick and getting IVed up, I was thinking about Texas," Guthrie said Thursday before the Orioles' game with the Detroit Tigers. "But it's totally undecided. It will depend on how the body reacts. We probably won't have an answer until Saturday, but that's what I'm preparing for. If I can't make it, then it will be another day."

Guthrie started feeling sick Saturday night, while the team was still in St. Petersburg, Fla. But his symptoms faded somewhat, and by Sunday night, he said, he felt fine. Early Monday morning, however, after the team had returned to Baltimore, Guthrie again felt achy, his stomach hurt and he had a serious headache. His temperature climbed to 103 degrees.

"Just a few ticks slower than my fastball. In kilometers," Guthrie joked.

Still, he was surprised when doctors told him he had pneumonia.

"I thought it was kind of overkill to go to the emergency room," Guthrie said. "It turned out to be a pretty good decision. But that's why other people make those decisions and not yourself. You think you're all right and that you'll probably get over it."

Guthrie said he was pretty disappointed that he didn't get to participate in the home opener. He watched the game on television from his hospital bed.

"It's good to be back," he said. "I feel like I haven't really been a part of the team since we came home, which I haven't. It will be fun to be out there."

Duchscherer has procedure

Starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer was scheduled to have a medical procedure on his lower back Thursday, which doctors hoped would relieve pain that has sidelined him since spring training.

The procedure, an ablation, involves using radio frequency waves to heat up nerves, which can provide temporary relief from the painful area. Duchscherer has had the procedure in the past and gone pain-free for several months, so the team is hopeful he can still contribute and be a part of the rotation this year.

Showalter said his expectations for Duchscherer this year haven't changed. The Orioles understood that signing him was a bit of a risk considering his injury history.

"We came into it looking through clear glasses knowing some of the challenges he's had," Showalter said. "We were hoping we could get to a point where he could manage it. And we still hold out that hope. I think we'll know a little bit better what we're dealing with after we go through this procedure. We were willing to take the risk."

Matusz headed to Sarasota

Brian Matusz had his first day without pain Thursday, something Showalter interpreted as a positive sign in the starter's recovery from a muscle injury near his ribs.

"He was showing us some things in the office that he's been working on," Showalter said. "That's a good sign. We just don't want to get too quick."

Matusz will head to Sarasota, Fla., on Monday to continue his rehabilitation. His injury, an intercostal strain, is expected to keep him out three to four weeks. Matusz also had a wart removed from his left middle finger this week. He tried to have the wart removed in March but needed additional laser treatment.

Britton ready for home debut

Zach Britton isn't a superstitious pitcher. He usually tries to wear the same socks every time he takes the mound for a start, but only because he likes a particular pair that feels the most comfortable. So while he does have a routine he tries to stick to, he isn't going feel any extra pressure to duplicate in Baltimore what he did in St. Petersburg when he made his first major league start, He won't have to eat the same breakfast, listen to a certain song or wear a particular undershirt. He's just going to trust his stuff.

"I feel like if you have superstitions, and for some reason you're unable to do one of them, then what?" Britton said. "I feel like I try to avoid that as much as possible. If I feel like I am starting to do stuff the same, I'll switch it up right away."

Britton gave up three hits over six innings in his major league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. He said he's really looking forward to pitching at Oriole Park for the first time.

"I think it will definitely be exciting to finally throw in front of the home crowd," Britton said. "Obviously, I've been to the stadium before, but I'm pretty excited to throw off the mound in front of our fans."

Seasoned Tides lose opener

Right-hander Ryan Drese, 35, started for Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday, becoming the oldest Opening Day starter in the Tides' 51-year history. He passes Jose Lima, who was 33 when he opened for the Tides in 2006.

Drese lasted six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out three in the Tides' 4-3 loss to the Charlotte Knights. Mark Hendrickson took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits in two innings. Nolan Reimold homered in the loss.

Drese has more career big league wins (34), innings pitched (5652/3) and starts (96) than the Tides' four previous Opening Day starters combined: Hayden Penn (2007-2008), Brad Bergesen (2009) and Chris Tillman (2010).

kevin.vanvalkenburg@baltsun.com

twitter.com/KVanValkenburg

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