*Orioles starter Chris Tillman went 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with four strikeouts, although a bunch of the hits were infield singles.
“I’m going based off feel now,” said Tillman, who was clocked in the 90-92 range. “And as long as I feel like I executed the pitch well, physically felt well, that’s all that really matters…first-pitch strikes could have been better and two-strike approach.”
*Xavier Paul will get an X-ray on his right hand after getting hit by a pitch. We should know more on that situation tomorrow.
*Orioles manager Buck Showalter reiterated that the backup catcher providing offense will be seen as something extra, with the team basing the competition between Steve Clevenger and Johnny Monell on defense first.
*Jonathan Schoop continues his hot spring, doubling in a run for his fourth extra-base hit. HE also homered in both intrasquad games before Grapefruit League play started.
*Showalter singled out Urrutia as looking a lot better in the outfield and called Steve Pearce “a rock” for his professionalism and the way he approaches the game. Pearce hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Per a team release…
The Orioles today announced their 2014 promotions and special events schedule for the 60th Anniversary season. The schedule is one of the most robust promotional calendars in club history and is filled with many new items, as well as several returning fan favorites.
Three bobblehead giveaways will take place on three different weekend dates this season, including MANNY MACHADO on June 7, ADAM JONES on September 1, and the popular AT&T Fans’ Choice Bobblehead on September 21.
There are several 60th Anniversary themed promotions, including two during the Orioles vs. St. Louis Cardinals series in August. Following the August 8 game, the club will host a 60th Anniversary-themed fireworks and laser show, which will feature the return of many former Orioles greats. The next night, on August 9, the Orioles will give away a Wild Bill cowboy hat, in honor of one of Birdland’s most famous fans, to the first 20,000 fans age 15 and over.
Including the cowboy hat, there are six total hat giveaways: a Mother’s Day cap; a Father’s Day fedora; an Orioles floppy hat presented by Miller Lite on June 27; a 1954 Orioles cap presented by DAP on June 29; and an Orioles knit cap on September 20.
In addition to the fireworks and laser show on August 8, there will be five other Friday night fireworks shows, one per month of the season: April 25, May 23, June 13, July 3 and September 19.
There are eight total t-shirt giveaways, including six that are for all fans in attendance – one per month – as well as a Chris Davis performance t-shirt on June 28 and a 3/4 sleeve 60th Anniversary shirt on August 1.
Several kids-exclusive giveaways and events will take place, including new items such as a Chris Davis action figure presented by PNC on August 2; an Oriole Bird plush pillow on June 14; and an Orioles kids jersey on August 31; as well as returning favorites such as Kids Run the Bases, held post-game on both June 29 and August 31.
Other giveaway dates include a 2014 schedule and car magnet on Opening Day, March 31; an Orioles ripcord bracelet on May 25; Orioles sunglasses presented by Visit Sarasota County on June 6; and an Orioles tote bag presented by MLB Network on July 30.
Several season-long promotions will also continue in 2014, including Ollie’s Bargain Night, presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet (every Tuesday, all upper reserve tickets are currently $10) and AT&T Student Night (every Friday, all left field upper reserve tickets are currently $7 with valid photo ID).
*The Orioles have optioned left-handed pitcher Tim Berry and catcher Michael Ohlman to Double-A Bowie and reassigned catcher Brian Ward to Minor League camp. They now have 53 players at major league spring training, including 15 non-roster invitees.
Manager Buck Showalter was particularly impressed by Berry, who was protected on the 40-man roster this winter, and will be part of the Baysox rotation.
“Very intriguing what the future may hold for him,” Showalter said. “I think it’s going to be a big year for Berry. I think he’s got a chance to really pop.”
There will probably be two or three more cuts on Tuesday.
*Alexi Casilla (hamstring) is “real close” to being able to play and tomorrow is a “possibility” for him to get into the game.
*Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman will pitch in Thursday’s game on the road against the Yankees.
*The plan is for Adam Jones to play in Tuesday’s game and then fly to his fiancee, who will induce labor on the couple’s first child.
*Lefty Zach Britton is well aware of the Ervin Santana rumors, but the 25-year-old lefty —who is vying for a rotation spot this spring— isn’t letting the team’s possible acquisitions change his approach.
“I haven’t really looked into any of the stuff,” said Britton, who is out of options and could also be a bullpen guy if he doesn’t make the rotation “If we sign another guy, we sign another guy. That’s been my mindset. I know when I’m healthy and I’m pitching the way I am, I can compete with anybody that we sign. Whether I get the opportunity to do that, it’s out of my control. But just go out there and put on a good showing and hopefully I’ve got an opportunity on this team and kind of go from there.”
Britton has given up one run in six spring innings and said after Sunday’s game this is the best he’s felt in years.
“When a quality hitter swings and misses the sinker, that’s a pretty good sinker, especially at 93-95 [mph],” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s been sharp. I’m excited with how he’s doing. Hopefully, he’s following the same path as another guy [Chris Tillman] who was out of options last spring.
Britton, who would almost certainly be claimed off waivers if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, credits his offseason work and new mindset for his performance so far in spring. While there’s still progress to be made, the lefty is encouraged with where he’s at in the second week of March.
“A lot of the focus has just gone toward what I can do on the field to be successful and stopped worrying about signings that we do or roster decisions,” he said. “The focus is now completely out on the field and out on that mound and how can I improve and better myself this year.”
Jemile Weeks 2B
Quintin Berry CF
Delmon Young RF
Steve Clevenger C
Steve Pearce 1B
Henry Urrutia LF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Xavier Paul DH
Michael Almanzar 3B
Chris Tillman RHP
Michael Martinez 2B
Russell Martin 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Chris Dickerson LF
Travis Snider RF
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Josh Harrison 3B
Chris McGuiness DH
Clint Barmes SS
Jay Jackson RHP
SARASOTA, Fla.— Will the Orioles be the team to sign free agent pitcher Ervin Santana?
If Baltimore —rumored to be one of the final teams in the running along with Toronto— is going to end up with the right-hander, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette wasn’t going to tip his hand.
“I don’t really know,” Duquette said of if he had a sense Santana would sign somewhere in the next day or two. “I really don’t. I really don’t know what’s real and what’s not real in that case.”
Duquette did acknowledge that the Orioles —who have been very active this spring— could continue that trend, perhaps independent of a Santana signing.
“Our roster construction goes on all year,” he said. “We have some more resources that we can invest in our team and we’ll take a look at each case as it comes up.”
If the Orioles do end up with Santana, they have reportedly offered him a one-year deal similar to the $14 million on the table from Toronto, it would crowd their rotation and almost certainly mean a trade of either Bud Norris or Zach Britton. But Duquette mentioned several times that organization also feels confident in what they already have.
“I would say that we’re going to weed through the guys we have and see where that takes us,” he said. “We’re going to continue to evaluate the pitchers we have in camp.”
“We do have a little more pitching depth with our starting pitching going into the season and some of the young pitchers we have high hopes for are continuing to develop their skills. [Kevin] Gausman looked pretty good last night. [Dylan] Bundy is on track. We still have T.J. McFarland and Zach Britton to look at.
Greetings from Ed Smith Stadium, where the Orioles will take on the Pirates.
*The Orioles have reassigned three guys to Minor League camp: infielder Chris Marrero and pitchers Mike Wright and Fabio Castillo.
*No news on Ervin Santana, who is still weighing one-year offers of similar value from both Toronto and Baltimore. (You can read EVP Dan Duquuette’s comments here.) It’s impossible to handicap which team has the edge, although several Orioles joked this morning it shouldn’t be close if the right-hander wants to win. If Santana did come to Baltimore, it would almost certainly mean the team would make a trade with some of their pitching depth before Opening Day.
*Manny Machado will see the doctor on March 18 and he said this morning he expects to start sliding before he gets re-evaluated. Machado –who expects base running to be one of the biggest hurdles to cross– could be cleared for game action at that appointment, although even if he is he could start slow such as sim games or going to the Minor League complex.
*Miguel Gonzalez, who was hit with a liner during Friday’s game, will throw 15-20 pitches today to test his left shin. He called it a “touch and feel” session.
Here are your lineups…
David Lough CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Chris Davis 1B
Adam Jones DH
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Matt Wieters C
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Wei-Yin Chen LHP
Starling Marte LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Gaby Sanchez DH
Jose Tabata RF
Tony Sanchez C
Brent Morel 1B
Clint Barmes 3B
Michael Martinez SS
Edinson Volquez RHP
Also slated to pitch: Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Eddie Gamboa, Brock Huntzinger, Steve Johnson, Josh Stinson and Kelvin De La Cruz.
The Orioles and Rays game on Thursday afternoon has been cancelled due to inclement weather and will not be made up.
Fans holding paid tickets for today’s game may exchange them for any remaining home spring games subject to availability or obtain a refund. Additionally, the scheduled OriolesREACH Food Drive to benefit All Faiths Food Bank will now by held Thursday, March 27 at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Rays.
Baltimore is coming off a pair of road night games and it’s unknown how much this will alter the club’s pitching schedule, starter Miguel Gonzalez in particular. Rays ace David Price, who was originally scheduled to come, threw a simulated game in Port Charlotte instead.
Ubaldo Jimenez will still make his Orioles debut in Friday afternoon’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, and numerous Orioles will leave halfway through that content to fly up north to pay their respects to late public relations director Monica Barlow.
On non-game days, tickets may be exchanged at the stadium box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On the day of a game, beginning two hours prior to game time, tickets may be exchanged for that game only at the ticket windows. Fans who would like to exchange their tickets for a prime game will be required to pay the difference in cost.
To obtain a refund for paid tickets, fans should send the original game tickets via certified mail to:
March 6 Spring Training Rainout
Ed Smith Stadium
2700 12th Street
Sarasota, FL 34237
The refund check for the face value of the tickets will be mailed from Baltimore within six to eight weeks. Tickets must be postmarked no later than thirty (30) days after today’s date.
*Zach Britton said he’s fine after being hit in the right wrist last night on the mound. Britton said for about thirty seconds he thought something was wrong, but he doesn’t even have a bruise today and no plans for X-rays. His brother, Buck, forgot his jersey and there was a lot of confusion as to who No. 90 was. Britton joked that that got more attention than his performance on the mound.
*You can read about Britton’s outing and the rest of the Orioles 11-5 win here.
*Johan Santana joined the Orioles for his first workout, Chris Tillman talked about his experience in fishing tournaments and the team’s plans to honor Monica Barlow are all in last night’s notebook here.
*I started a Facebook page last night so you can keep up with the Orioles news and insights right in your mini-feed. Just click the “like” button and you’ll get all my articles, pictures and other content from Orioles.com. That link is on the side of the blog and you can also just click here.
Orioles lefty Zach Britton took a ball off his glove to end the fifth inning, but manager Buck Showalter said he’s expected to be fine and there aren’t any plans for X-rays on his right wrist.
Britton threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two, in his second spring game. He followed Chris Tillman in the Orioles’ 11-5 win over the Twins Wednesday night. The 25-year-old lefty is competing for a rotation spot this spring and has allowed one run over four innings.
You can read the full game story here.
Johan Santana is here and took part in his first practice in an Orioles uniform. Wearing his #57, Santana is still rehabbing and won’t be a full participant this spring with the O’s targeting June for the left-hander –coming off his second shoulder surgery– to be an option.
I’ll have a full story up on Santana on Orioles.com shortly, but here is a full transcript of what he said to the media..
On why he chose the Orioles…
“One of the biggest things is they understand exactly where I am as far as my rehab and everything. And then they’ve got the confidence that they’ll be able to help me to come back. We’re on the same page and I’m very happy for that. Also, Chris Correnti, who is an assistant trainer, I’ve worked with him in the past, so we’ve been together and working in some rehabs. Definitely, I feel good about it.”
On if he feels good with where he’s at in the rehab progress…
“Yeah, definitely. We still have some way to go but I’ve been throwing off the mound and getting my strength back, and so far everything’s been good. We don’t know how long it’s going to take, but we’re on the right track.”
On June being the target return date…
“I hope so. There’s nothing written down right now. I’ve got to go one day at a time and make sure every day is a good one and we’ll see when we’ll be ready. Right now, I’m throwing off the mound but I’m not facing hitters or anything and the intensity is not there yet. But the good thing is I feel good, and once you start building up and getting into baseball, it definitely should catch up quicker.”
On how to gauge when his velocity will come back…
“Honestly, I have no idea. Only time will tell how fast I will throw. But as long as I don’t feel anything in my arm, I’ll be able to go out there. I know what to do. And again, you’ve got to make adjustments. There’s no question about it. That’s what I’m going to do. But right now, I don’t really know what my velocity will be. This is just a process that we have to build up everything, and then we’ll see how it goes.”
On potentially joining the Orioles down the stretch…
“That’s a good situation that might happen with me. It could be sooner, it could be later. This team is going to contend. And I am going to prepare to try to help as much as I can in any way. So whenever it is time for me to join the team I’m going to help as much as i can and hopefully it will be sometime soon.”
On if it was important to him to join a potential contender…
“No question. You never know what’s going to happen and injuries are part of the game. Definitely being in this situation is good for me. I don’t even know when I am going to pitch again, but I hope I will do it and do it for this ballclub. And it means a lot to me. Because I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t know when my career is going to end. So you just got to take a chance and I think I’m in a good situation here.
On learning from last year’s situation, when he tried to come back and had to have surgery again…
“You got to take one step at a time. You got to listen to your body. Something was wrong. We didn’t know what it was until we saw the doctor and the medical point [of view], and they said there was something else in there. It was a tough situation but I did my best and they went in there and fixed it and now you start all over again. I’m just starting a new chapter of my career. now, I’m in Baltimore and I’m very happy about it.”
On if he thought his career was over…
“I never thought about it, but it was there, but I was told by the doctor the surgery was successful, and it was going to be up to me to come back, and that’s all I needed to hear. He told me it’s not about being a tough surgery or whatever, it’s just about how you’re going to handle it, and how much you put into it, and I really have worked hard to be up to this point, and I’m not done yet. I don’t want to go out in the game like that. I want to go out of the game on my own terms, knowing this is going to be my last game, knowing this is going to be my last year, and not just not knowing maybe that my last game was my last one. I don’t even know who I faced, and when it was; I might not want to remember.”
On mentoring some of the younger players…
“I can help any way. We’re definitely here, and I’m happy for the opportunity and they’re going to be my teammates, and their success is going to be my success and vice-versa. This is a team thing, and you know, you’ve got some good guys, good arms, and you’ve just got to take it through the whole process and get experience, and I’ll be happy to share everything I know.”
On if he’s spoken with anyone, such as Brett Saberhagen, who had the same procedure…
“I haven’t talked to him. When we talked to Dan Duquette, he told us that he had that kind of experience with him. He’s pretty optimistic that I’ll be able to come back, and the work ethic that we have will definitely help a lot. We’re working it as a project, I guess. You could call it a project or whatever where we have to build it up and see how it goes. Nothing to lose, a lot to gain, so that’s the way we’re looking at it.”
On if he will have any apprehension when he does face live hitters again…
“I went through it before so I’m just happy and anxious to come back and compete. Once I am there I don’t think about too much. I just compete and go, so whatever happens, happens. To me, I love this game so much and I just have fun every time I am out there so that’s what I’m going to do.”
On the plan after spring training…
“I’m going to be here until we start pitching and competing. But as of right now we are going to be here the whole time until we know we are going to be able to compete.”
On if pitching in relief is an option….
“The main thing here is to make sure the shoulder is back to being healthy. And then after that we will see how it goes. Definitely, my intention is to be a starter. There is no question about it, but at the same time we’ve got to make sure we are capable to do that in the long term. So I don’t really know as of right now. We’ll make adjustments as we go. But definitely the main focus here is getting the strength back. So, that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Greetings from Fort Myers, where the Orioles will take on the Twins…
*About 30 Orioles, including manager Buck Showalter, will leave Friday’s game about midway through and get on a private plane to the Virginia area to attend memorial services for Monica Barlow. Showalter said the plane was originally going to seat just 10, but there was such a demand that owner Peter Angelos, who is arranging the plane, expanded the aircraft.
“Everybody wants to go, we had that problem and Mr Angelos expanded the plane,” Showalter said. “He will be [angry] I brought it up, but it’s a hell of a gesture.”
The plan is for the group to leave around 4 p.m. ET and return around 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday night. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy and pretty much all of the team’s regulars will be going, with bench coach John Russell taking over and managing the rest of the game against the Phillies.
*Bud Norris will pitch Saturday’s home game against the Red Sox (which is on MASN), with Kevin Gausman traveling to Fort Myers for the night road contest. Miguel Gonzalez will start tomorrow with Ubaldo Jimenez making his Orioles debut on Friday.
*David Lough was supposed to come tonight, but he got hit with a line drive during outfield work in the right toe. X-rays were OK, but Showalter wanted to play it safe and left Lough at home.
*Suk-min Yoon will leave for Canada on March 10 and will “at least” pitch in a sim game before that. He will be gone a couple days to work out immigration issues.
*Manny Machado started moving side-to-side today in fielding ground balls, which is a good sign. He also had a mole removed off his back, but that’s not anything that will sideline him.
*Dylan Bundy has six more long toss sessions and he’s slated to throw off a flat ground mound on March 19.
*Alexi Casilla (hamstring) took live batting practice today and shouldn’t be too far away, Showalter is hoping he’d be available for Saturday’s split squad. Chris Marerro [oblique] took about 10 swings off the tee and isn’t doing much better.
*Henry Urrutia is a go now. He will be back in the mix for Thursday’s game after doing everything during today’s practice.
*The first round of cuts will likely come Sunday or Monday, after the team’s split squad game.
*Johan Santana held court with the media and you can read that here.
*Kevin Gausman is sporting a pair of prescription glasses today and he’ll try those out on the field. His contacts have been giving him some problems.
*Brock Huntzinger has been an interesting early name. He’s retired all six batters he’s faced, including striking out the side against the Yankees on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old threw a scoreless third inning against the Red Sox regulars, also on the road, before that and has been praised by manager Buck Showalter in both appearances.
“I was joking around with my buddies, I can’t remember the last time I struck out the side,” Huntzinger said, when asked if Tuesday’s trio of strikeouts was normal. “Probably in high school. I think it was all from getting ahead of guys. If I can start doing that, great. But no, I’m not going to strike everybody out. That’s not really my thing.”
Huntzinger has been sharp since arriving in Sarasota, and credits playing winter ball for the first time in his career for helping to keep him on track. He had two stints in the Dominican, including 15 2/3 innings with the Estrellas, where he pitched to a 1.15 ERA. He returned shortly after Christmas and pitched in the postseason for the Aguilas.
The Orioles bullpen has three or four unclaimed spots, and Huntzinger said he used to get really into keeping track of roster battles and what contract situation were in the clubhouse. But those days are gone.
“Coming here, I don’t know what guys are starters or relievers, who’s a free agent. And I think that’s just kind of freed up my mind to just go out there and do what I can do,” he said. “Obviously, I know they’ve got their guys or whatever, but they made me feel good in the process this offseason and they said there were going to be opportunities, so hopefully there’s an opportunity.”
Quintin Berry CF
Jemile Weeks 2B
Xavier Paul RF
Steve Pearce 1B
Johnny Monell C
Nolan Reimold DH
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Julio Borbon LF
Chris Tillman RHP
Also slated to pitch: Zach Britton, Tim Berry, Mike Belfiore, TJ McFarland, Troy Patton, Fabio Castillo, Steve Johnson, Eddie Gambo and Zach Davies
Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen made his first spring start, going two innings and allowing two runs on five hits including a walk. He also picked up a strikeout in the 42-pitch outing.
“I feel pretty good, it’s been a while since I’ve played in a game. Especially in a night game,” Chen said through his interpreter. “So I tried to make some adjustments, and I feel pretty good overall.”
Chen gave up a solo homer to Francisco Cervelli, but that was really the only hard hit ball.
“It’s still early in the spring, so I tried to make some adjustments,” he said. “Sometimes pitches weren’t ideal location-wise, but I made adjustments and overall I feel pretty good. And it’s still Spring Training, so I don’t mind it.”
Chen has knee surgery to remove the bone spurs from his right knee this winter and this was his first start since.
“It does feel somewhat different but I don’t know how to describe different how,” he said. “Compared to last year, I do feel a little more comfortable when I was pitching. So, I was happy about the result. and tried to make my pitches and not to think about that…I just feel comfortable right now. “
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Chen wasn’t as crisp as his last time out.
“He’ll get better, that’s why they call it Spring Training,” Showalter said. “He’s fine. Feels good physically, knee. So, that’s a good sign.”