Orioles' Lee, Izturis likely headed to disabled list

First baseman's oblique strain not as bad as Hardy's; Tillman expected to make next start

May 17, 2011|By Peter Schmuck, The Baltimore Sun

BOSTON — The Orioles came out of Monday night's dramatic come-from-ahead loss at Fenway Park physically and emotionally bruised, and they were still feeling the after-effects on their unscheduled day off Tuesday.

First baseman Derrek Lee underwent treatment on his strained left oblique, but it seems unlikely he'll be able to avoid a stay on the disabled list to recover from an injury similar to the one that put J.J. Hardy there for a month.

Infielder Cesar Izturis returned to Baltimore before Monday's game with numbness in the fourth and fifth fingers of his throwing hand and almost certainly will be placed on the DL before Wednesday night's game against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park.

The only good injury news seemed to be that Chris Tillman is not likely to miss his next start after leaving Monday's game with soreness in his upper back. He was able to do his running and lifting Tuesday and is confident he'll be able to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Washington Nationals. Manager Buck Showalter also expressed optimism that Tillman would not need to miss a start.

The Orioles have postponed the roster move on Lee in the faint hope that he'll show dramatic improvement before they have to make a final decision, but even Lee seemed to be endorsing a DL assignment.

"It's not J.J.'s grade," Lee said, "and we're trying to prevent it from getting to J.J.'s grade."

Showalter danced around the subject for a while, but it wasn't hard to figure out which way he was leaning on Lee's roster status: better safe than sorry.

"We'd rather have Derrek active and be willing to wait [to see whether it's a short-term problem]," Showalter said, "but we also have the risk factors when you push an oblique."

The knuckleball lineup

The combination of the injury to Lee, the inclement weather and the prospect of facing knuckleballer Tim Wakefield led Showalter to post a very different Orioles lineup Tuesday — and one that was not likely to see the light of day if there had been any.

Robert Andino was in the leadoff spot, replacing Brian Roberts, who was more than willing to take the night off against a pitcher whom he has struggled against for years. Roberts has just eight hits in 47 career at-bats against Wakefield.

"I don't think Brian is too unhappy with me right now," Showalter joked before the postponement was announced.

Adam Jones moved up into the No. 3 hole behind Nick Markakis, and Jake Fox was in the No. 9 hole and listed as the first baseman, though it seemed likely that Brandon Snyder would have moved into the lineup if the rain had relented.

Quick turnaround

Snyder and Troy Patton found out that they might be summoned to Boston when they got off the Triple-A Norfolk team bus early Monday morning in Syracuse, N.Y.

"Last night, I got off the bus about 3 a.m.," Snyder said. "[Tides manager Gary Allenson] said there was a chance you might be going up in the morning, so get some sleep."

Snyder increased his value to the club when he took part in early catching drills at spring training. He would become the emergency catcher if Fox is needed at another position, though he arrived without catching gear because he does not carry it with him on minor league trips. Undoubtedly, he'll have some waiting for him in Baltimore.

"I haven't had a chance to catch since spring training," Snyder said, "but I was comfortable doing it there. It's about doing anything that will help the team."

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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