For the third time in three spring games, the Orioles starter came up short of two innings, with Jair Jurrjens struggling with command and recording just three outs in Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.
“My timing today was way off,” said Jurrjens, who said it was a combination of things, including flying open in his delivery, that lead to three walks. “Yes, [it’s] a mechanics issue. I think having been in bad habits for a couple of years. I just got to figure out how to get the good habits back, the good timing. Get that feel back.”
Jurrjens, who also gave up a pair of hits, was charged with three earned runs and threw 34 pitches (13 strikes) in an outing that was supposed to last two innings. Asked if his poor mechanics was related to the right knee injury that has hampered his career, Jurrjens said yes.
“By trying to find a way to pitch without feeling pain you tweak some stuff with your mechanics,” he said. “You compensate and mess up more stuff.”
Jurrjen, who was signed to a Minor League contract after concerns over his right knee held up a potential big league deal, said he will take Thursday’s outing and use it as a reference point to make improvements in his next bullpen. He has made two spring starts so far, allowing four earned runs on five hits and four walks over two innings, and is vying for a rotation spot in what figures to be a tough competition in Orioles camp.
Manager Buck Showalter has said it’s too early to pass judgment on the starters and Jurrjens, who wasn’t helped by a fielding error by Yamaico Navarro, said Thursday’s outing shouldn’t be considered a step back.
“I’ll just lean on whatever he says,” Showalter said of Jurrjens. “ I think this time of year, we are not even to March yet, we are not going to close the door good or bad on anybody at this point. It’s a process with him. He’ll be fine.”
Jurrjens’ fastball hit 92 several times on the Hammond Stadium radar gun although it was mostly 89-90 during his inning.
*Tommy Hunter was originally scheduled to pitch multiple innings today after starter Jair jurrjens, but the rainout altered some of the pitching schedule. Hunter threw a light side back in Sarasota and will now pitch Saturday. The game is slated to be started by Wei-Yin Chen with Brian Matusz also pitching.
*Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia is here in Florida and is expected to report to Sarasota to go through his physical in the next day or two. He will be in Minor League camp at Twin Lakes.
“He’s been in Haiti for quite a while,” manager Buck Showalter said of Urrutia who reached an agreement on a Minor League deal with a $778,500 bonus in July. “So there’s a lot of unknown about what kind of shape he’s in.”
“He hasn’t been paid yet, he hasn’t been paid a penny til everyone passes [the physical],” Showalter added. “Look forward to getting him in. I know he is.”
Greetings from Hammond Stadium, where the Orioles will try to extend their 5-0 spring record in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Minnesota Twins. Here are your lineups…
Alexi Casilla SS
Manny Machado 3B
Lew Ford DH
Conor Jackson RF
Danny Valencia 1B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Yamaico Navarro 2B
LJ Hoes CF
Chris Robinson C
Jair Jurrjens RHP
Darin Mastroianni CF
Eduardo Escobar SS
Joe Mauer DH
Josh Willingham LF
Justin Morneau 1B
Ryan Doumit C
Chris Parmelee RF
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Brian Dozier 2B
Liam Hendriks RHP
Orioles starter Chris Tillman, making his first spring start after Tuesday’s rainout, tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Red Sox. Tillman got ahead of six of the eight batters he faced but labored after that and issued a pair of walks including a two-out free pass to Daniel Nava to end his night.
“First time out, I’m not really disappointed,” Tillman said of his outing. “I felt OK. Command was spotty at best. I guess you kind of expect it for first time out. Other than that, I felt pretty good.”
Tillman, who is out of options, is projected to be in the club’s starting rotation and threw 43 pitches (25 strikes) including a game-opening strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury.
“I was trying to work on my fastball command early,” Tillman said. “That’s what it’s all about the first time out. Mixed up my pitches. Fastball, changeup are there. Breaking stuff’s not where it needs to be right now, but it’s typical early in spring.”
Manager Buck Showalter has said it’s too early to start evaluating players one way or another and Tillman said he will take the longer spring and try not to think about it.
“It’s all about getting ready for April,” he said. “Just try to get my work in. Pitch when I’m told.”
As part of their Sarasota 365 commitment to the community, the Orioles and OriolesREACH will conduct three clinics for area youth on the main field at Ed Smith Stadium over the coming weeks. Two are for pre-selected children from local Boys and Girls Clubs and the third, on April 13, is open to Sarasota County youth ages 8-14. All participants will receive instruction in baseball fundamentals from Orioles players, coaches and staff members.
The first clinic will be held this Saturday, March 2 beginning at 12:30 p.m. and will include 50 youth from the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club in Sarasota. The second clinic will take place on Saturday, March 9 at 12:30 and will include 25 participants from the Gene Matthews Boys and Girls Club in North Port and 25 youth from the Robert and Joan Lee Boys and Girls Club in Venice. In addition to baseball instruction, the Orioles will provide transportation to and from the ballpark and refreshments for all the participants.
The final clinic, scheduled for Saturday, April 13 at 2:00 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, will be open to pre-selected Sarasota County youth ages 8-14. Those interested must complete an application form available now at Ed Smith Stadium or at http://www.orioles.com/sarasota and clicking “Community Calendar”. Print and mail the completed form to Ed Smith Stadium, Attn: April 13 Clinic, 2700 12th Street, Sarasota, FL 34237 or drop off at the Herald-Tribune Information Booth behind home plate on any gameday by March 30. From submissions received, 50 boys and girls will be randomly selected to receive instruction in throwing, hitting, fielding and baserunning from Orioles minor league players and instructors. Those selected will be notified by April 5.
*The Orioles will play the second half of a day-night doubleheader tonight against the Boston Red Sox. The 7:05 p.m. ET start will be broadcast on MLB Network.
*Also scheduled to pitch: Zach Britton, Troy Patton and Pedro Strop.
*The Orioles will face another lefty again tonight and Nolan Reimold will bat leadoff, with manager Buck Showalter trying to get Reimold as many at-bats as he can this spring.
*Wearing an Orioles’ poncho, pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada was feeling good about Wednesday afternoon’s bullpen session, joking with reporters as he relayed through his interpreter that without a crowd he was able to relax.
“Compared to Monday, I didn’t force it, I didn’t force it as much,” Wada, whose first bullpen attracted a throng of media and manager Buck Showalter, said through Seob Yoon. “It was more smooth. It felt good today.”
Wada, who is rehabbing from May’s Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, said he isn’t sure what the exact plan is moving forward although he figures to throw another bullpen session before the week’s end.
“It’s the first time I’m going through rehab like this,” Wada said. “I haven’t thrown a breaking ball yet so I’m not sure when the sim game is going to be.
“My elbow and overall body-wise, conditioning-wise, I do feel stronger. As time goes by I feel like I’m going to be able to swing my arms faster too. Gradually it’s going to get better day by day.”
*Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Ed Smith Stadium on March 7 for the Orioles game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He will also sign copies of his new children’s book, Wild Pitch, on the lower concourse from 2-4 p.m. ET. The visit is part of a national book tour for Wild Pitch, the third installment in the New York Times best-selling “Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars” series. Tickets for the Orioles-Blue Jays game are still available and can be purchased at the ballpark, via http://www.orioles.com/spring or by phone at 877-222-2802. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the game and will cost $16.99.
*Catcher Luis Martinez (left oblique strain) is still sidelined but is improving and hopes to be an option to play this weekend. Martinez has been getting rehab and doing pool work.
*The Orioles game notes have Chris Tillman, who is pitching tonight, going again on Sunday with Miguel Gonzalez following him in his first spring outing. Jair Jurrjens will start tomorrow’s game at the Twins with Tommy Hunter and Kevin Gausman also scheduled to go multiple innings. Jason Hammel will make his first start this spring Friday vs. Pittsburgh, with Mike Wright following him. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen will make his first spring start on Saturday at the Rays with Brian Matusz also slated to throw.
RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Shane Victorino RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Will Middlebrooks 3B
JD Drew SS
Jonny Gomes LF
Daniel Nava 1B
Mark Hamilton DH
Franklin Morales LHP
Nolan Reimold DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nate McLouth LF
Wilson Betemit 3B
Chris Tillman RHP
The Orioles are playing two games today with the first one a 1:05 contest against the Yankees which will be started by Jake Arrieta. The night game is a 7:05 p.m. first pitch versus the Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium with Chris Tillman getting the ball. (The later game will be on MLB Network.)
Tillman was originally slated to pitch on Tuesday, but was moved back with the rainout and it’s unclear how that will alter the rest of the team’s pitching schedule the next few days (Zach Britton was the original starter tonight and could work in relief or be pushed back). With the clubhouse open to the media in Sarasota at 2 p.m., I’ll be getting an assist in coverage from MLB.com’s Matthew Leach, who will have you covered in Tampa. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewHLeach and all your afternoon news and notes will be on Orioles.com as always.
In case you missed it, I wrote yesterday about Steve Pearce competing for a spot behind first baseman Chris Davis and you can read that here.
The talented Richard Justice came to Orioles camp earlier this week and wrote about the team’s mindset t0 prove everyone wrong once again. You can read that column here.
*The Orioles have set their pitching rotation for the next few days, although things could be altered with today’s rainout in Bradenton.
Chris Tillman, who was scheduled to start today, will now start Wednesday night’s home game at 7 p.m. versus the Red Sox. Zach Britton was originally scheduled to start that game with Jake Arrieta pitching in the afternoon road game against the Yankees. The rest of the rotation will be decided on by the team tonight and while some of it could be altered, here is what we were given earlier
Jair Jurrjens will start Thursday, Jason Hammel on Friday, Wei-Yin Chen will pitch at Tampa on Saturday (along with Brian Matusz), Tillman will throw Sunday, March 3, with Miguel Gonzalez to follow him. Following March 4′s off day, Jurrjens will throw on the 5th.
*Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day are slated to make their first official outing of the season on March 6 against Team Spain. Johnson and O’Day were among several Orioles who threw in a simulated game of sorts in the covered batting cages this morning. Hammel, Chen and Gonzalez also threw there and the group, which are being slow-played this spring, all have yet to make an official spring appearance. Although that will change with the schedule above.
The only guy that leaves is Luis Ayala. The right-hander is not scheduled to throw right now and he will be brought along really slow given that he just pitched in the Mexican Winter League. Ayala has been a little under the weather lately, but manager Buck Showalter said he would have been slowed in spring regardless and it’s not a health issue.
*Tommy Hunter will throw 2 or 3 innings on Thursday against the Twins (after Jurrjens) with Kevin Gausman also scheduled to pitch.
*Tsuyoshi Wada will throw another bullpen on Wednesday, after coming in today and feeling good following his first bullpen session on Monday.
Alexi Casilla SS
Lew Ford LF
Wilson Betemit DH
Steve Pearce 1B
Russ Canzler RF
Danny Valencia 3B
Jason Pridie CF
Taylor Teagarden C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Chris Tillman RHP
Starling Marte LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Garrett Jones 1B
Gaby Sanchez DH
Brad Hawpe RF
Michael McKenry C
Clint Barmes SS
Wandy Rodriguez LHP
Manager Buck Showalter offered his opinion on a few things following the Orioles’ 5-1 win over the Yankees…
On pitcher Zach Clark, who threw two scoreless innings…
“He’s got an idea. He’s a baseball player that happens to be a pitcher.”
On Brian Roberts, who doubled twice and scored a pair of runs, getting back to his old form…
“Brian is going to be as good as he’s capable of being. He’s getting there. I’m not going to get too over the top with the playing time but he wants to and you can see how engaged he is. It’s exciting to him to get out there with his teammates…we got a long way to go.”
On Trayvon Robinson’s hot spring start…
“Tray is playing with a lot of energy. It’s one thing to be able to say something, like, ‘You are going to get a chance regardless,’ but having what’s gone on here really in the last year-and-a-half, really two years. But especially last year. Guys know, players talk. Players talk all through baseball about where the opportunities are. He knows that he got here into big league camp. And he’s going to get a chance. And so far he’s taken advantage of it.”
Orioles lefty Brian Matusz, who is vying for a rotation spot, allowed a pair of singles to start the game and retired the next five batters in a scoreless two-inning start against the Yankees Monday afternoon. Matusz threw 30 pitches, 20 strikes, in his first spring start.
“It was nice to get out there and get the first one out of the way, kind of get in the rhythm again,” said Matusz, who was used out of the bullpen for the Orioles down the stretch last year. “It’s been a while since I’ve been a starter. It’s nice to work on the routine again and try and find that. Out there on the mound, working well with [Matt] Wieters and the group, establishing the fastball. Threw some changeups, got a couple of groundballs out of it…It was a nice first start. Good to have something to go off of now.”
Of the two hits, one was an infield single that speedy Yankees outfielder Brett Garnder beat out after Chris Davis made a great stop at first base and relayed the throw to Matusz.
“I thought I felt good from the get-go,” Matusz said. “Gardner, he’s a tough out. He puts the ball on the ground. You’ve got to be perfect. He’s so fast. [Jayson] Nix, [hit] a little bleeder. Those type of things happen. Nice to be able to bounce back and get good defense.”
The Orioles turned a double-play on Matt Diaz’s ball for the first two outs of the game and Matusz, who said he was able to fall into a rhythm, followed that up with a strikeout of Juan Rivera.
Asked what he’s working on this spring, Matusz said everything.
“Finding a routine as a starter, get everything going, fastball in-and-out, curveball, slider, changeup,” he said. “Right now, my focus is getting my fastball and changeup established. Breaking pitches [are] a little bit behind right now, curveball and slider aren’t there. Like I said, got the fastball and changeup going, the curveball and slider will work out.”
*The Orioles will take on the Yankees this afternoon in a 1:05 p.m. game that will be broadcast on MASN.
*Tsuyoshi Wada threw a bullpen session this morning his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in May. It marked Wada’s first time on a full mound since a rehab start April 19 for Triple-A Norfolk in which he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on six hits and four walks with a strikeout.
You can read more on that here.
*Nolan Reimold gets the starts at leadoff and in left field, with Conor Jackson getting time in right field. Brian Matusz will make his first start of the spring, with the rotation resetting tomorrow with Chris Tillman getting his second start.
Also slated to pitch behind Tillman: Todd Redmond, Steve Johnson and Dylan Bundy.
*Wednesday’s split squad games will be started by Jake Arrieta (1:05 p.m. at New York Yankees) and Zach Britton will start the night home game vs. Boston. Former Oriole Koji Uehara is on the travel list for the Red Sox.
*The Orioles will have a simulated game on the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow, with several veterans throwing. Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez are among the starters who haven’t appeared in an official game and could throw there or at the Minor League facility at Twins Lakes Park.
Nolan Reimold LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis 1B
Conor Jackson RF
Manny Machado 3B
Brian Matusz LHP
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix 2B
Matt Diaz DH
Juan Rivera RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Melky Mesa LF
Dan Johnson 3B
Gil Velazquez SS
Kyle Roller 1B
Vidal Nuno LHP