Alvarez stays patient, waits for his chance
DH hasn’t started in past 5 games; Pearce frustrated by arm injury
Designated hitter Pedro Alvarez has been one of the Orioles’ best batters in the second half of the season but is in the midst of another stretch in which the opponents’ starter and other circumstances conspire to keep him out of the lineup.
Alvarez, who is batting .259 with 11 home runs and an .884 OPS in the second half, didn’t start for a fifth straight game Thursday night, and didn’t even get at-bats as a pinch hitter in the first four games of that stretch. But he reiterated that there’s only one way for a player in his role to approach it.
“My job is not to write up the lineup or do anything else,” Alvarez said. “My job is to come here ready to play every day, and if I’m in the lineup, to do the best I can do and just stay ready. It hasn’t changed since day one. It’s not going to change until the end of the season. That’s all I’ve got on that.”
The reason for his extended absence is the Orioles’ reluctance to start Alvarez, a career .205 hitter against left-handers, when they face a lefty starter. That has been the case often this week.
He has had some success after days off this season, though, which is something the slugging designated hitter can consider while looking for a silver lining to his time on the bench. Pedro Alvarez Pearce hopes to play again: Steve Pearce still hopes that he can return this season from a nagging arm injury (flexor mass strain) that has hindered his ability to throw for most of the season, but the infielder-outfielder realizes he has several obstacles to overcome before he can contribute to the team’s playoff push again.
Pearce has received two injections over the past month — including a platelet-rich plasma injection Wednesday that will shut him down from all baseball activities for about 10 days — to reduce inflammation and help him get through this season. But now the pain in his elbow is affecting not only his ability to throw but also to swing.
“It’s frustrating, especially knowing where we’re at in the season,” Pearce said. “We’re so close to the playoffs, and just the timing of it, it’s not really ideal. It’s very unfortunate.”
When the Orioles reacquired Pearce at the nonwaiver trade deadline, he had already been dealing with pain in his throwing arm, so he was mostly limited to playing first base and designated hitter.
But the Orioles’ primary need for Pearce was in the corner outfield spots, and while the club attempted to manage his arm so it wouldn’t get worse, it did. He aggravated the injury making a throw home Aug. 7 and received a cortisone shot that day. He missed the next five games and did not return to the outfield for nearly two weeks. Then, on Monday night in Boston, Pearce’s arm bit again while he made a relay throw from left field. Miley likely for Sunday: Manager Buck Showalter said he is leaning toward left-hander Wade Miley starting Sunday against the Rays, despite the July 30 trade acquisition’s shaky results since coming over from the Seattle Mariners.
“We’ve got to see how we get through the next three days, and what we have available,” Showalter said. “But he’ll proceed like he’s starting Sunday with his work day and everything.”
Showalter cited several factors, including Miley’s favorable track record against the Rays in his career, though he allowed four runs in six innings in his one start facing them this season. Around the horn: Infielder Paul Janish was added to the roster Thursday, and right-hander Mike Wright was called up from Triple-A Norfolk. Showalter said Wright would provide length out of the bullpen. To add Janish, the team recalled left-hander Chris Lee and placed him on the 60-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain. … Showalter said outfielder Joey Rickard (torn thumb ligament) would play simulated games in Florida this weekend but might not be ready to return Monday. … Reliever Darren O’Day (rotator cuff strain) has his second simulated game today.
Starters: R. Sox’s Porcello (20-4, 3.12) vs. Dylan Bundy (9-5, 3.88) or TBA