By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
5:54 PM PDT, July 14, 2011
Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero didn't hit cleanup for the Orioles on Thursday night, but it had nothing to do with his waning production in the first half.
Guerrero came into the clubhouse Thursday afternoon still feeling discomfort in his right hand, were he was hit with a pitch by the Boston Red Sox's Kyle Weiland on Sunday.
"He came in about 1:30 and said he needed another day, pretty sore," Showalter said.
Guerrero was struck in the hand in the fifth inning and left Sunday's game — at the time, that concerned Showalter.
"As much as people pitch him inside and as much as he gets out over the plate, I've seen him hit a number of times through that area, and I thought to myself, at the time in Boston, for him to not be able to continue, he had to be in some real discomfort," Showalter said.
X-rays were negative, but team doctors might issue more tests, Showalter said.
"When you're dealing with that many small bones in that area, there's always concern that something might be there that didn't show up," he said.
Guerrero has hit .279 with seven homers and 31 RBIs in 83 games this season. Showalter said before the All-Star break that he would consider removing Guerrero from the cleanup spot in the second half if the likely Hall of Famer's production did not pick up.
On Thursday, Matt Wieters, usually the starting catcher, batted fourth and was the Orioles' DH. Showalter wanted to give him a day off from catching because Wieters caught in Tuesday's All-Star game and had two long flights this week.
Wieters returns as All-Star
Wieters said he had an excellent time at his first All-Star Game and was especially appreciative that the New York Yankees' Russell Martin suggested to American League manager Ron Washington that Wieters play instead of Martin, who has played previously in the Midsummer Classic.
"It was great for my first All-Star Game to be able to get in there and catch three innings. It was real big of [Martin]," Wieters said. "I appreciated the experience. It was a real great time. I was excited to get out there, and now I want to have a good second half."
Among AL players, Wieters said he specifically bonded with Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila, who was elected to his first All-Star Game.
"We hung out a bit," Wieters said. "He's a good guy, so it was fun to hang out with him."
Wieters grounded out in his only at-bat, and his only noticeable All-Star moment was when he allowed a split-fastball from Seattle Mariners closer Brandon League to get past him. Wieters hadn't allowed a passed ball in 656 innings this season.
"It was definitely pretty ironic. Those guys have some pretty outstanding stuff," Wieters said. "League has got a pretty good split. I don't like hitting against him. I don't like catching him too much, either."
Scott to get cortisone shot
Outfielder Luke Scott, who is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, said he expects he'll get a cortisone shot Friday and then begin to do some exercises.
He has not done any physical activity with the shoulder since going on the DL retroactive to July 4. He can come off Tuesday, but that scenario is unlikely.
"We'll see how it turns out. I don't have much information to give right now because my rest process hasn't been done yet," said Scott, who has a tear in his right labrum. "I still have to get my cortisone injection [Friday] before I start even testing it and see how it feels. I'm hoping that this down time was good for my shoulder."
He likely would have to go on a brief rehabilitation assignment in the minors before returning.
Around the horn
Showalter said infielder Cesar Izturis (right elbow surgery) had soreness Wednesday but felt better Thursday. If he stays on schedule, he could play in a game Wednesday (Gulf Coast League), then join Double-A Bowie for a couple of games before potentially returning to the Orioles on July 23 or 24. … Showalter said Mitch Atkins would start Sunday's series finale against the Cleveland Indians. Monday's starter against Boston is still to be determined. … Second baseman Brian Roberts met with sports concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh and was told that his situation is improving. He will be able to increase his workouts in Sarasota, Fla., but there is still no timetable for his return. Roberts has not played since May 16 in Boston, when he dove headfirst into first base trying to beat out a single. He has been limited to 39 games this year. … Right-hander Oliver Drake (Navy) was promoted from High-A Frederick to Bowie. First baseman Mike Flacco, brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, was promoted from Low-A Delmarva to Frederick while Keys first baseman Tyler Townsend was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.
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