Teagarden plans to be ready for Opening Day

Teagarden plans to be ready for Opening Day

Teagarden plans to be ready for Opening Day
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."