Notes: Costanzo makes most of luck
Non-roster invitee continues to shine while replacing ailing O's
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Lucky.
Or just really good.
The old saying goes that you need a little of both for each to happen.
On Thursday, after a 4-for-4 day in which Mike Costanzo had three RBIs, including a two-run homer, in the Orioles' 8-7 loss, he just happened to be wearing a black T-shirt with the word "Lucky" emblazoned across the chest.
"I guess it's a combination of both," said Costanzo, who laughed when asked if the shirt meant he was lucky or good. "I've just been giving 110 percent every day since I've been here and trying to make the most of my opportunity."
Costanzo, who is battling for a roster spot with Baltimore, hit 27 home runs for Double-A Reading last year and 14 for Class A Clearwater the year before. Costanzo came over to the Orioles as part of the Miguel Tejada trade in December after he had been traded to the Astros from the Phillies.
"He's made a commitment to getting better and proving he's worthy of a spot," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He would drive an hour and a half from Pennsylvania to [Baltimore] to train in the offseason and worked out in Sarasota a week before camp."
With most of the regulars back in Fort Lauderdale resting or recovering from the flu on Thursday, Costanzo used the opportunity to showcase his ability.
In the first inning, he ripped a run-scoring single up the middle that nearly took Twins starter Livan Hernandez's head off. In the second inning, the left-handed-swinging Costanzo smashed a 1-0 pitch off Hernandez over the right-field wall. The Coastal Carolina University grad finished the day with a single in the fourth and a double in the sixth to raise his spring average to .474.
"Is that what I'm hitting?" Costanzo remarked when told of his batting average. "Wow. Well, I'm just trying to take one at-bat at a time and one pitch at a time."
Costanzo said he couldn't recall a game in which he had a four-hit day and said he's doing whatever he can to impress the Orioles' brass.
Even if it means being put in the game at a position he's never played before -- as he was three games ago to catch in the late innings for Rocky Cherry and Esteban Yan.
"I'll do whatever they ask me to do," said Costanzo, who has also played first and third base this spring. "I was a closer my senior year [at Coastal Carolina], so even if they need me to pitch, I will. But if that happens, then the light at the end of the tunnel is pretty near."
For Costanzo, though, that light has been only positive and a shining one so far.
"He gives us a lot of versatility," Trembley said. "He's making the most of his opportunity. It's great that guys are being competitive. It will only make our club better."
So-so, but not oh no: Daniel Cabrera's start Thursday quickly turned into a short and rough one, as the right-hander allowed five runs, three earned, with two walks and two strikeouts. Cabrera, who tossed 54 pitches, 30 for strikes, was relieved in the second inning after recording two outs.
"I had a lot of good pitches go for foul balls, but I feel strong," Cabrera said.
Cabrera looked far different from his first outing of the spring, in which the 6-foot-9 righty worked three innings against the Nationals and allowed two hits with one strikeout on 27 pitches.
Following Thursday's game, though, Cabrera was hardly distressed.
"I feel strong," he said. "I threw a good changeup and I fielded the ball good today."
Other game bits: Luke Scott went 2-for-4 with two runs, including a solo homer, on Thursday to raise his spring average to .400. ... Guillermo Quiroz went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and is now batting .545. ... Rule 5 Draft pick Randor Bierd pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up two hits without allowing a run.
Injury update: Trembley said he still had not heard anything regarding Troy Patton (left shoulder) and Freddie Bynum (right knee), who both were scheduled to have MRI exams done on Thursday.
Trembley said that outfielders Jay Payton and Chris Roberson, among other players and coaches, are still sick with the flu and probably would miss a few more days of action. To help them get better and prevent others from getting sick, Trembley chose to bring Minor League outfielder Sebastien Boucher and infielders Jonathan Tucker and Blake Davis to Fort Myers for the game against the Twins. The three players will remain with the club through next week due to the flu bug.
Infielder Scott Moore's abdominal strain should need an additional "two to three days to calm down," according to Trembley. Moore's condition is not related to the flu and came about from action on the field.
Quotable: "Back in 1994, I logged 27,000 miles on the bus in one year. That's a lot of miles." -- Trembley, on dealing with the drive from Fort Lauderdale to Fort Myers
Up next: The Orioles host the Red Sox on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET, and right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will be matched up against Boston righty Julian Tavarez.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.