Orioles may play it safe with Guthrie
Overcoming shoulder fatigue, right-hander may be skipped
NEW YORK -- He's back on the mound, if not back in business. Jeremy Guthrie threw his first bullpen session in three weeks on Saturday, but the Orioles still aren't certain whether the right-hander is completely over a case of fatigue in his right shoulder. Guthrie is tentatively scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, but the Orioles won't commit to starting him just yet.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said on Saturday that he hasn't plotted a contingency plan and that he'll need to speak with pitching coach Rick Kranitz, but Guthrie said he felt fine and considered himself healthy to pitch. However, a few moments later, Guthrie said that his gut feeling told him that the Orioles' braintrust would prefer to wait a little longer.
"They're definitely leaning toward not starting me Tuesday -- I guess that would be the indication," said Guthrie, gauging his manager's intention. "I would hope [to pitch], but that's not my decision."
The right-hander hasn't thrown since the end of August, but he's hopeful to get in two more starts before the season ends. The Orioles are wary of pushing him to the mound because they've had several injuries ripple through their pitching staff and don't want to risk another one. With Guthrie down, Brian Burres is the lone starter left from the Opening Day rotation.
"I think what I've tried to do [recently] is not even show my cards at all," said Trembley, speaking about his shortened rotation, "because I don't want to be put in a situation where I have to change it and then answer why I'm changing it. I've tried to stop announcing who's going to pitch. ... I'm taking it game by game, let alone looking ahead one or two series."
Guthrie said he threw about 40 pitches on Saturday and finished off his workout by running sprints in left field. Baltimore's staff ace said he was able to throw all of his pitches and that he felt physically capable of pitching on Tuesday.
"Everything felt great," Guthrie said. "My location was good, my down was good. I'm doing a lot more stretching than I've done in the past, which was necessary. I'll probably change that for the future, for shoulder-specific stretches."
Guthrie, who has pitched to a 10-11 record and a 3.57 ERA this season, is hardly alone on the injured list. Baltimore lost Adam Loewen to an early elbow injury that prematurely ended his pitching career. Matt Albers suffered a right shoulder injury at midseason, and the Orioles recently shut down Daniel Cabrera and relievers Dennis Sarfate and Jim Johnson for the year.
Sarfate, who will have surgery to repair a fractured right clavicle next week, pitched for most of the season with his injury. Trembley made sure to characterize it as a "non-baseball-related" injury on Saturday when discussing the state of his pitching staff, and he said that he's had to shuffle his pitching staff more times than he might have liked.
"The Cabrera thing, I didn't see that one coming, to be honest with you," said Trembley of his starter's season-ending elbow ailment. "None of them, you see coming. They just happen, you regroup and you go from there with it."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.