– Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden, sidelined with a back injury since the second Grapefruit League game of the spring, will open the season on the 15-day disabled list.
The move also means that reserve catcher Ronny Paulino, who missed the first three weeks of spring trainingwith visa issues, will make the Opening Day roster.
Teagarden, who will receive a second epidural on his lower back on Monday, is eligible to come off the disabled list on April 10, but he said a return by then would be the "best-case scenario."
"I want to come back feeling good," Teagarden said. "If it's a week after that or something I'd be really happy with that. The way things are going and the strength in my back and the way it's feeling, they are telling me I'm going to start doing a lot more dry-land activity and get out of the pool. I think two to three weeks from now is very reasonable."
Beyond throwing, Teagarden isn't doing any baseball activities. He said he might start jogging and hitting off a tee this week, but he said he's pain-free.
"It's discomfort," Teagarden said. "They'd get concerned if there was sharp pain, and I don't have any sharp pain. I just have discomfort. Every now and again, it will just kind of grab and it will let me know that it's still here. But it's not anything that's anything close to what it was on the actual day that I injured it. Nothing like that."
As for Paulino, a non-roster invitee who signed a minor-league contract, he finds himself back in the big leagues with his fourth major league team. He's stepped in for Teagarden adequately during the Grapefruit League season, but admitted he's surprised he is making the team.
"(I am) kind of (surprised), because it's a short time to learn the pitchers but at the same time, since I've been here, they've been giving me a chance to play and get to know every guy," Paulino said. "The biggest concern I had was getting to know all the starting pitchers, since I've been here, I've been playing almost every day, so it's helping me get to know what kind of stuff they have and their strengths."
Matusz settles in
Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz overcame a rocky start in the first inning against the Tigers on Friday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadiumbut settled in for another steady spring start in his final Grapefruit League outing.
Matusz yielded hits to the first four batters he faced and gave up three runs in a 32-pitch first inning but allowed just one base hit after that.
"(I) just came out of the gates amped up with a lot of energy," Matusz said. "The first inning, it killed me not getting ahead in the count, gave up some two-strike hits. After that first inning, I was able to shake it off and just get back to work with Wieters. I really found a nice rhythm."
Over five innings of work, Matusz allowed five hits and three runs, striking out four and walking one. He ended his outing retiring nine straight batters.
"I felt strong," said Matusz, who threw 86 pitches, 57 of them strikes. "I felt just as strong in the fifth inning as I did in the first. I was able to get my pitch count up and I was able to iron out the mechanical adjustments I've needed to."
Matusz, the favorite to win the No. 5 rotation spot, would be in line to start Wednesday's exhibition against Triple-A Norfolk. On the spring, Matusz allowed 10 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings for a 3.65 ERA, striking out 24 and walking just three.
"I did what I needed to this spring in order to go out and continue to build up my pitch count and get comfortable on the mound again," he said. "I feel like I've built my pitch count up and I'm strong and I've made the adjustments I've needed to mechanically and I feel like I'm on the right track to prepare myself for the season."
Showalter also lauded Matusz's spring.
"From where he was to where he is, I'm happy with the progress," Showalter said. "There's another level and we'll be making those decisions shortly. I'm pleased that he's been able to get a return on what he's put into it. Hopefully, he'll never go back to that place again."
Orioles fall to Tigers, 6-4
Tigers outfielder Tony Plagman drove in three runs, including a two-run triple in the ninth inning off Orioles reliever Jim Johnson to hand the Orioles a 6-4 loss Friday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.
After falling behind 3-0, the Orioles tied the game in the fourth on a RBI single by Endy Chavez, who had two hits in his first game back since missing eight games with a groin injury.
In the third inning, Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones hit his team-high fourth home run of the spring. Jones leads the club with 12 RBIs this spring.
The Orioles took a 4-3 lead in the seventh on Jai Miller's two-out double in the sixth. Miller, still fighting for a roster spot, broke an 0-for-18 slump with the hit.
Plagman's solo homer off reliever Luis Ayala tied the score at four in the seventh.
Left-hander Zach Phillips threw a scoreless inning in relief, his first back-to-back appearance, while Pat Neshek ran his spring scoreless-inning streak to nine.
Wada to throw Tuesday
Orioles left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, still seen as a rotation candidate, will pitch in Tuesday's exhibition game against State College of Florida in his final spring start.
Wada was initially scheduled to throw in Monday's exhibition game against Florida Southern, but that game is a paid attendance game, which wouldn't allow the Orioles to backdate a possible DL stint to allow Wada to come off on April 10. Admission to Tuesday's game is free, but donations for the SCF program are being accepted.
"In case he has a physical problem, it's just prudent," Showalter said. "More than anything, I just hope he's physically sound."
Around the horn
After a pregame throwing session, Showalter felt comfortable penciling in J.J. Hardy (right shoulder soreness) as shortstop instead of DH Friday. … Right-hander Jason Berken will start for Triple-A Norfolk against the Orioles in their exhibition game on Wednesday. Showalter refused to name an Orioles starter for that game. … Right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom re-aggravated a hamstring injury and was scratched from his scheduled appearance Friday. He will next pitch in a minor-league game.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times