Notes: Shuey to rehab in Minors
Veteran injures a tendon in his ankle, will see action in Triple-A
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Paul Shuey's recovery from a strained plantaris tendon in his right foot took another step forward on Wednesday, when the Orioles reassigned him to the team's Minor League camp in Sarasota. Shuey will continue his rehab for another few days before getting back on the mound in extended Spring Training.
"I think it will be within the next four or five days probably, to get back out on the mound," he said. "We've got a schedule where I'll hopefully get three or four outings in extended, and then we'll start moving from there."
That return will signify a victory for the veteran, who hasn't pitched since March 9. Shuey came to camp with the hope of ending a premature retirement caused by persistent pain in his right hip. He's had four surgeries to correct the ailment, and the most recent one was a resurfacing procedure that is unapproved in the United States.
Shuey plowed through the early days without any pain, and his velocity seemed to be back to the level it was at before his retirement. The veteran righty pitched well in his first two outings but felt soreness in his leg before the third. He eased off his throwing schedule, but when he pitched again, he injured himself breaking for home after a wild pitch.
The initial fear was an injury to his Achilles tendon, which could've kept him out for the year or irrevocably ended his comeback bid. Instead, Shuey was pleased to hear that it involved his plantaris, which carried a much shorter rehabilitation period with it. Three weeks later, he's looking forward to getting back on the mound again.
"Basically, we're just kind of keeping the progression going, and getting to where I'm moving around on the mound and able to field my position," said Shuey, who will likely join Triple-A Norfolk as soon as he has a clean bill of health. "We're [trying to] get to the point where I'm getting the outings I missed in Spring Training, basically."
Shuey signed with the Orioles because he thought he had a chance to make the team, but also because he liked the location of Triple-A Norfolk, which is relatively close to his home in North Carolina. That may mean Shuey gets to see his family more often than he would otherwise, but first he has to find his way back to the mound.
As of now, the best-case scenario has Shuey toiling for two weeks at extended spring before he joins Norfolk.
"It's a good training staff," he said. "They're just kind of holding me back, which is fine. Obviously, it's not easy sitting around and watching everyone else get a chance to throw when you want to throw."
Catching on: Alberto Castillo strode into the clubhouse on Wednesday, the last day of Baltimore's Grapefruit League schedule. The veteran backstop was acquired in a trade from Boston on Tuesday and will likely add to the team's catching depth at Norfolk, where he'll play and serve as a contingency plan for injuries on the parent club.
"There's always a need for catchers," said Castillo, who hasn't played in the big leagues since 2005. "I know we've got a few days left in Spring Training to break camp. If you show what you can do, you never know.
"I'll be ready. That's the only thing you can do. Whatever happens, happens."
Castillo, who turned 37 in February, is a career .222 hitter with 11 home runs in 407 games. He shares a similar statistical bent with catcher Paul Bako, who's the favorite to serve as backup to Ramon Hernandez. Neither Castillo nor Bako is known as much of a hitter, but both have fine defensive reputations.
"If they choose me for a reason, I'm here for a reason," Castillo said. "Let's see what happens [and] finish Spring Training strong. I had a good Spring Training. I'll continue to play good and see what I can do."
Castillo said he's not concerned with coming into camp at such a late date, and he said he shouldn't have much of a problem adjusting to an entirely new pitching staff.
"As long as you go in the bullpen and catch some side [sessions], you'll see the arm action of the pitchers," he said. "From there, you go to the game and take the best pitches. You adjust a little bit until you get to know them well."
Front and center: The Orioles didn't have any updates on outfielder Jay Payton's balky left hamstring on Wednesday, but all indications point to him going on the disabled list for Opening Day. That could leave the door open for Adam Stern or Freddie Bynum to make the team, based largely on their ability to play all three outfield slots.
"With Jay out, I'd think you'd need somebody who can play center field -- or all of them, really," said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. "I'd like to see more of Adam. It's been a little disappointing to me that I haven't been able to see him as much. He got hurt early, and then he got sick. Hopefully, in the next couple days, we can take a peek."
The Orioles clarified the situation after the game, when Stern was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. That likely ceded the 25th spot to Bynum, who hit .130 this spring, but has drawn attention for his ability to play both the outfield and the middle infield.
Quotable: "Being healthy. Being smart. Taking care of your body. There's always a need for catchers. Do the right things, do the little things and help the team win the game." -- Castillo, on his recipe for longevity
Coming up: The Orioles will leave Florida on Thursday morning to commence a three-day, three-city road trip against the Nationals.
Baltimore will play an exhibition game at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday at 4:05 p.m. ET. The second game will be at Harbor Park in Norfolk, Va., on Friday at 2:05 p.m., and the final tune-up game will be on Saturday in Washington at RFK Stadium at 1:05 p.m.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.