Casilla frustrated after O's opt for late scratch

Casilla frustrated after O's opt for late scratch

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alexi Casilla was a late scratch again on Sunday, as he was forced off the team bus and not happy about it. Casilla hyperextended his left knee and there's still some swelling, so the Orioles decided to play it safe and not have him travel to play the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla.

"I feel good to play," Casilla said Sunday morning in the Orioles' clubhouse. "I know in the past, I've played with worse. Right now, I feel great just a little swollen. But they pushed me off the bus.

"When they pushed me -- the head trainer [Richie Bancells] pushed me off the bus -- I went to [manager Buck Showalter's] office and I told him, 'Hey I'm ready, I feel good to play.' But the head trainer, I know he's trying to protect himself. I understand his job. But he's not in my body to feel what I feel. If I say, 'I'm ready to play,' I'm ready to play."

Casilla, who was replaced at shortstop by Jonathan Schoop, said he planned to test his knee again on Sunday and is aiming to play in Monday's game. He dealt with a hamstring injury earlier this spring and has just five at-bats; he was also a late scratch in Friday's game in Fort Myers.

"This is so frustrating," said Casilla, who is competing for the utility spot. "So frustrating."

Also competing for the same role is Alex Gonzalez, who is 10-for-23 this spring and had a hit and a walk in Saturday's win. Jemile Weeks is also a potential fit, although both Casilla and Gonzalez have the ability to back up shortstop.

"When you have the track record that Alex has, you just trying to see if he's maintaining those skills, because if that's the case, he's easy to trust," Showalter said. "He knows how to play. You trust him defensively, especially. He presents a lot of options for you defensively, which you're always looking for.

"He kind of picked us as much as we picked him. I know this is something he'd like to do. We'll see where it takes him. We've got some other people doing well, too, so he's going to make it tough on us."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.