Guthrie cleared to start in O's finale
Right-hander set for last game of season after stimulated game
BALTIMORE -- Jeremy Guthrie has just three games left to make his final start of the season, and the Orioles ace finally seems to have convinced his team's decision-makers that he's fully over a case of right shoulder impingement. Guthrie threw a simulated game on Wednesday and got approval to start in Sunday's season finale against the Blue Jays.
"It's either going to be Sunday or nothing," Guthrie said Wednesday, explaining his limited options. "I've been a full go for about four days now. After the second bullpen, I knew there was zero pain and everything felt normal."
That may have been the case, but manager Dave Trembley wanted to err on the side of caution. Guthrie has been out for all of September, and the Orioles have conducted internal discussions about shutting him down for the season. The right-hander has steadily fought that direction, though, and Trembley said on Wednesday that he admires his persistence.
"The upside is let him pitch -- let him leave here knowing that he's 100 percent healthy," Trembley said of Guthrie. "We're going to limit, probably more than what he wants, the number of innings that he throws and the amount of pitches that he throws. It will be a limited start for him, more like a Spring Training start. I can tell you honestly, if there was any doubt at all amongst the coaching staff [and] the medical staff that he wasn't completely 100 percent, we wouldn't do it.
"I'm assuming that he's going to be fine when he comes in here tomorrow. He wants to throw another light sideline on Friday and do what he normally does before he starts. I think if he follows everything according to protocol, it's OK."
Guthrie (10-11, 3.57 ERA) had the same type of injury problems down the stretch in 2007. The former first-round Draft pick was bothered by a strained oblique last year, but he still fought threw it to pitch one last time. Trembley remembered that effort this year, which all but automatically extended Guthrie the benefit of the doubt.
"When he got done throwing a simulated game," said Trembley, "I walked to the mound, I shook his hand and I said, 'I just want to thank you for all the hard work that you had to do in order to get to this particular point in time.' Because he could have banked it. That's not the kind of person that Guthrie is. Just like last year, he could have cashed in his chips. ... And if he passes all the tests and the medical people let him go, these are the kind of guys I want.
"I want these guys who want to compete for all 162 [games], who want to help erase the bad feelings that have existed around here for a long time in September. I want winners, and Guthrie's a winner for me."
Guthrie, of course, is hardly the only injured pitcher Trembley has to worry about. Baltimore lost Matt Albers and Troy Patton to season-ending injuries early on and Adam Loewen had an ailment that prematurely ended his pitching career. Trembley also gave updates on three other injured pitchers -- Daniel Cabrera, Dennis Sarfate and Jim Miller -- Wednesday.
Sarfate, whose season is done due to a fractured right clavicle, will have a corrective operation Tuesday. And Cabrera will get his injured right elbow examined early next week to determine the root of his discomfort. Finally, Miller, who hurt himself while warming up on Tuesday, is likely done for the season as a result.
"The injury report the last six weeks has grown in leaps and bounds," said Trembley. "It seems like every day, I've gotten to a point where I cant announce who the starting pitchers are because we're trying to piecemeal this thing together because we've got so many darn guys hurt. Last night was the coup de grace for me. You've got an eighth-inning guy who's going to come into the game in Miller. He's [got] two pitches left to throw and he's going to come into the game. I'm on the top step of the dugout to go out there to bring him in, and the phone rings and [bullpen coach] Alan Dunn calls down and says, 'Hey, Miller can't go in. He just got hurt out here.' I think maybe now we've cleared it all. Maybe that was the last one. That was just incredible."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.