LAKELAND, Fla. -- Backup catcher Taylor Teagarden isn't quite ready to rule himself out of Opening Day, saying on Thursday that he will do everything he can to be available by April 6.
Teagarden, who on Wednesday received an epidural in his lower back to help calm inflammation in the area, said that it will take two or three weeks for his back to fully heal. He will take a few more days off and receive extra treatment while rehabbing the area, hopefully resuming baseball activities in a week or two.
"It could've been worse," Teagarden said, "but it is going to take a little bit more time. ... I was given the two- to three-week deal, but it depends on how I heal."
Teagarden has dealt with a back injury before, although the situation in 2005 was caused by the normal wear and tear of a Major League season more than anything else, he said.
Manager Buck Showalter is happy with his options if he has to replace Teagarden for Opening Day. Ronny Paulino, who made his first spring start on Thursday after arriving at camp three weeks late because of visa issues, would become the backup to starter Matt Wieters if Teagarden goes on the disabled list.
"If you go into the season assuming you're going to get as lucky as we did last year, with Matt being healthy for that long, you're kidding yourself," Showalter said. "In a perfect world, you're three or four deep."
Paulino went 0-for-3 in Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers but caught a strong performance from Brian Matusz, staying in for all of the lefty's six innings. Showalter plans to use Paulino on Saturday and Sunday as well, as the Orioles have two split-squad games each day. Showalter had promised he would work Paulino hard to get him up to speed, and he appears to be following through on that promise.
"It was good to get Paulino some innings under his belt. I'm sure he'll sleep well tonight," Showalter said. "He'll catch up in a hurry. ... By the time he gets to April, he'll be working a little harder on that visa next year."
Bergesen returning to former delivery
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Last season was a forgettable one for right-hander Brad Bergesen, who had a 2-7 record with a 5.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 34 games, 12 of them starts, in the Majors. He wasn't much better in 2010, with a 4.98 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 30 games.
So he is going back to the throwing motion he used in 2009 and in the Minor Leagues.
"I think it hides the ball a little longer," Bergesen said. "My arm comes out of the slot right when my shoulder's pulling open, so it kind of doesn't show the ball for very long and just comes out that quick slot.
"I feel good with what I'm doing right now. I changed and made that little bit of a turn in my delivery, and it's created a little bit of deceptiveness. It's just something that I'm continuing to work on right now."
The right-hander has pitched well this spring, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in seven innings. The Orioles have been stretching him out like a starter, and he openly said that his goal is to earn a spot in the rotation.
"Obviously, last year wasn't a good year for me. My hope is that they weren't giving up on me as a starter and I'll be given that shot again," he said. "They have been giving me the innings. They haven't told me what they view me as come the season, but [in my mind] right now, I'm planning as a starter and giving 100 percent right now with that."
Chavez's spring keeps heating up
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers' Justin Verlander was his usual ace-like self against the Orioles in Detroit's 4-2 win on Thursday, striking out eight of the 14 batters he faced in 3 2/3 innings. But there was one Oriole who got the best of the 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner.
Outfielder Endy Chavez added another accomplishment to his already impressive spring, leading off the game by blasting a 1-1 pitch to right field for a homer off Verlander. Chavez finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs, boosting his Grapefruit League batting average to .421.
Chavez was signed in late December to serve as the Orioles' fourth outfielder, but given the way he has played this spring, manager Buck Showalter admitted it will be difficult to keep him off the field on a regular basis.
"He's had a good spring. You can see why he was coveted. We had a lot of competition for him," Showalter said. "He's a really, really good fourth outfielder -- somebody you think might be more than that -- and brings something on the day he plays.
"I wouldn't [rule out] him getting some playing time. He's a guy that's going to push people. You're always trying to figure out a way to get his name in the lineup. He brings some energy to your game."
O's option Drake, will send Joseph to Minors camp
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Orioles optioned right-hander Oliver Drake to Double-A Bowie on Thursday and have told catcher Caleb Joseph that he will be sent to Minor League camp.
Both were on the travel roster for Thursday's game against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium, as was first baseman Joe Mahoney, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday.
Manager Buck Showalter said that the three will likely remain with the club through the weekend to help fill the roster for the Orioles' split-squad games, and he hinted that there should be more roster movement after Monday's off-day.
Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (inflammation in left elbow) could pitch an inning or two in Sunday's split-squad against the Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Wada, who threw a 33-pitch simulated game on Wednesday but hasn't seen any Grapefruit League action, told manager Buck Showalter that he is eager to get back on the mound and face Major League hitters.
Alfredo Simon (groin) could return on Saturday or Sunday, Showalter said, adding that the right-hander would have still been pitching if it were the regular season.
Jason Berken (right elbow) threw off flat ground and off a half-mound on Thursday morning. That's an encouraging sign for the right-hander, as he may be close to facing hitters.
Right-hander Miguel Socolovich tweaked his groin during the sixth inning of Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers. He recorded one out, gave up consecutive singles, threw a wild pitch to advance the runners, walked another batter to load the bases, then exited for righty Jon Link. Showalter said that the situation isn't anything serious but that the team doesn't want to take any chances.
Bench coach John Russell will manage Saturday's split-squad game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. Showalter plans to attend both split-squad games on Sunday, starting in Lake Buena Vista against the Braves at 1:05 p.m. ET, then driving to Sarasota for the 7:05 p.m. game against the Yankees.
Lefty Zach Britton threw two scoreless, hitless innings in a Triple-A game on Thursday, retiring eight batters on 31 pitches, then throwing four more in the bullpen. Right-hander Tommy Hunter is scheduled to throw four innings in a Minor League game on Friday.
Outfielder Nick Markakis, who made his spring debut on Wednesday after working his way back from offseason abdominal surgery, said he felt no pain on Thursday and plans to be in the lineup on Saturday as designated hitter.
"I just want to get some at-bats and get on the right track," Markakis said.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.