Two of Baltimore’s veterans — shortstop Cesar Izturis and reliever Danys Baez — were gifted with their Gold card on Wednesday in recognition of eight years of big-league service. Both Baez and Izturis will be able to go to games (and bring a guest) for free for the rest of their lives. Both Baez and Izturis figure to have many years left in the game.
Cesar Izturis may be back sooner than expected. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said Friday that there’s a “very good possibility” that Izturis may return from his bout with appendicitis in the Orioles’ last series before the All-Star break.
“I think he’s getting close to going out on a rehab,” said Trembley. “I think he’ll stay with us through this series, and he may stay with us one day in Seattle. I haven’t decided yet. I want to check with [hitting coach Terry Crowley] and [infield instructor Juan Samuel].”
Trembley said that the Orioles aim for Izturis — who has been out since June 7 — back for the series against Toronto right before the All-Star break. Right now, all that’s missing is Izturis getting back on the field in a Minor League rehab stint to test his fitness.
“He took [batting practice] yesterday during the regular slot,” said Trembley of Izturis. “And then we had early hitting today at 2:30, and he was one of the guys who came out and had more of an extended session so that he could hit from both sides.”
The Orioles still don’t know when Cesar Izturis will be able to play again, but they can rest comfortably in the knowledge that he’s slowly rounding back into shape. Izturis, who underwent an emergency appendectomy a couple of weeks ago, rejoined his teammates for the first time on Tuesday and ran through a series of light baseball drills.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said the Orioles won’t know when Izturis will be able to return until next week, and he expected the shortstop to play a Minor League rehab stint. Izturis, meanwhile, said that appendicitis is one of the toughest things he’s dealt with.
“It’s scary, especially when you’re in the room by yourself. On that day, the room was cold and I was sweating,” he said of his bout with appendicitis. “I got Tommy John [surgery], but this one was worse. It was a pain to sleep and move around and stuff. It’s not that easy, especially the first week after the surgery.”
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said he’s still not sure of a timetable for shortstop Cesar Izturis, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last week. Izturis was slotted on the disabled list and will meet up with the team next week when the Orioles travel to Miami, and Trembley said he’s not sure whether the infielder will be able to do infield drills by then.
Ty Wigginton embraced a pair of firsts on Thursday, when he played shortstop for the first time in his career and delivered Baltimore’s first pinch-hit of the season.
Wigginton hit for Robert Andino in the sixth inning and delivered a two-run double, breaking an 0-for-16 pinch-hit streak for the team. Wigginton took Andino’s spot on defense and made a charging play in which he threw out speedster Brett Gardner in the sixth.
Baltimore’s starting shortstop, Cesar Izturis, is still bothered by a strained left groin. That left Andino — and then Wigginton — as the team’s only choices to man the position.
Baltimore’s bench depth was sorely tested on Sunday, when center fielder Adam Jones left the game early with a tight right hamstring and the Orioles needed pinch-hitters in the ninth. Manager Dave Trembley was prepared to use his final two players as pinch-hitters — catcher Gregg Zaun and shortstop Cesar Izturis — but Zaun struck out to end the game.
Izturis, who was getting a day off, ended the game in the on-deck circle, and Trembley said he doesn’t mind using all his players.
“You’re going to do what you’ve got to do to try and win the game,” he said. “I really didn’t think twice about what the alternatives were. I thought we had our guys lined up. If we get a hit there, we’re talking about winning the game, not losing it. The short bench doesn’t bother me. You win the games because your pitching gives you the opportunity to be in position to win. You don’t win the games because of extra guys that are on your bench.”
Baltimore’s bench may be even thinner on Monday, because Jones isn’t expected to be healthy enough to play. That would leave Chad Moeller as the backup catcher and Robert Andino as the backup infielder, severely limiting Trembley’s in-game options.
The Orioles got their first look at Cesar Izturis as a defensive difference-maker on Monday, when the slick-fielding shortstop made a play that saved a run and some momentum.
The Yankees were down three runs and threatening in the seventh inning, when Derek Jeter hit a two-out grounder back up the middle. Izturis ranged toward second base and made a diving stop, and when Xavier Nady rounded too far off third, Izturis threw behind him.
The result was an easy out on a ball that could’ve gone up the middle and drawn the road team within two runs. Furthermore, it was a play the Orioles never would’ve made last season.