Al­varez stays pa­tient, waits for his chance

DH hasn’t started in past 5 games; Pearce frus­trated by arm in­jury

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Ed­uardo A. Encina con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

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

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