February 2013

Spring Training Day 12: Game 2 lineup

Adam Berry here, pinch-hitting for Britt today. 

Before heading off to Dunedin, where the Orioles will take on the Blue Jays in their second Grapefruit League game, here’s today’s lineup, with Nolan Reimold set to start in left field. Be sure to check back later for more updates.

2B Alexi Casilla
LF Nolan Reimold
3B Wilson Betemit
DH Conor Jackson
CF Lew Ford
RF Steve Pearce
1B Danny Valencia
C Taylor Teagarden
SS Ryan Flaherty
RHP Jair Jurrjens

Game 1 notes and quotes (updated)

As always there will be a full gamer and notebook up on Orioles.com, but here are some game notes and quotes…

The Orioles first run of the spring was scored by catcher Matt Wieters, who doubled to open the second inning off Twins starter Kevin Correia. Wieters moved to third on Chris Davis’ infield hit with shortstop –and former Twin—J.J. Hardy bringing him in with a sacrifice fly.

The Twins took the lead with a two-run homer from Josh Willingham off Tommy Hunter in the top of the third inning. Hunter gave up a leadoff double to Darin Mastroianni in a 25-pitch frame, throwing 13 strikes.

Orioles lefty Zach Britton had a scoreless spring debut Saturday afternoon, facing five batters in a 19-pitch first inning against the Minnesota Twins in the two clubs Grapefruit League opening game.

Britton, vying for a rotation spot, gave up a one-out infield hit to Eduardo Escobar on a tough backhand play that hit off third baseman Manny Machado’s glove and Josh Willingham followed with a left-field single. Britton got Ryan Doumit to ground out on a would-be double play ball except Brian Roberts bobbled it and they couldn’t turn two. But the play didn’t end up costing the Orioles with Chris Parmelee lining out to end the inning.

Roberts, coming off of season-ending hip surgery, grounded out in his first two at-bats.

Jake Arrieta followed Britton and threw 11 pitches, seven strikes, finishing up in the bullpen to get his pitch count around 30. Arrieta issued a two-out walk to Drew Butera for the lone runner in his frame.

Chris Davis had hits in his first two at-bats and made a few nice defensive plays at first base, while Steve Johnson pitched a scoreless fourth inning with a walk.

Orioles top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy worked his way out of a bases-loaded spot in the fifth inning in his spring debut. Bundy struck out Darin Mastroianni on three pitches to start things off and allowed a broken-bat single to Eduardo Escobar and a right-field hit to Brandon Boggs. Brian Dinkleman worked a two-out walk on a full-count before Bundy fanned Chris Colabello on a called strike three.

Here’s what Britton had to say about his outing…

[on how he felt] “It was okay. Definitely trying to be relaxed the first time out. Don’t want to overdo it or anything. It’s easy to do that. Felt pretty good. Made some good pitches down in the zone. Left some balls up. There was a hit, but for the most part, it was a pretty good first one.”

“I haven’t pitched in Spring Training in a whole year,” said Britton who started last year on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury. “It’s nice to get out there. I felt pretty good. You build off this one and go get ‘em the next time.”

[on how his offseason was different this year] “I cut back on the amount of throwing I did. I just wanted to take more time to build strength and throw later in the offseason. I think there’s positives and negatives to that. Obviously, I think your velocity might come a little later in the spring rather than the first game out and you’re ready to go.”

[on foul balls meaning his sinker is working]“It was actually really good today. Moving a lot. I threw a couple good down in the zone that they took for balls, too, so it’s a give and take. The four-seamer was a little up. They hit the ball pretty hard on the four-seams today. They were up and over the plate, so I’ll just make an adjustment next time.”

Here’s what Arrieta had to say about his outing…

(on how he felt) “I felt strong. I wanted to really drive the fastball downhill, bottom of the zone. Guys now are probably going to be swinging early and often, especially as spring gets underway. They haven’t acquired really many at-bats, so they want to jump on fastballs when they see them, but that’s what we want to work on: command of fastball, keeping it down, and then mixing breaking balls when we need to. I only threw two of them. One was up in the zone, the other was really good. For the short amount of work in today’s game, I was pretty pleased with it.”

(on if command led to his struggles last year) “Command wasn’t as refined, so just tightening up the fastball command, and obviously you have more room for error if the ball is down than up in the zone. I’ve talked to Wieters about this a few times. He’s like ‘don’t be so conscious of spotting it in and out. Keep the ball down with your stuff and you’ll be fine.’’’ That’s really the main concern, keeping the ball down with everything, just drive the ball downhill.”

(on only pitching an inning with the World Baseball Classic lengthening camp this year) “Spring’s a little different this year, so I think innings are going to be a little harder to come by at the start of camp. A lot of guys have got to get innings. We’ll get innings, and the guys who need to get stretched out to start, they get innings. You just have to go out there and take advantage and get your work in and get people out. That’s what it’s about.”

Spring Training news & notes Day 11 (Grapefruit opener)

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*The Orioles will open the Spring Training season with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium, with the game being broadcast on WBAL radio. You can also follow along on MLB.com’s Gameday.

*The Orioles, who will wear a patch on their uniforms in tribute to Earl Weaver this season, also had a No. 4 painted by the home dugout here at Ed Smith Stadium and there is slated to be a moment of silence and video tribute for Weaver, who died last month at age 82.

*In case you missed it, I wrote yesterday about Wei-Yin Chen’s goals for the season and his offseason emphasis on adding strength. You can read that here.

*Starter Zach Britton will be followed by Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Steve Johnson, Dylan Bundy, T.J. McFarland, Todd Redmond, Zach Clark and Adam Russell. Most of the team’s regulars are expected to start, with Brian Roberts getting one or two at-bats and then going to a wedding at night.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold will start tomorrow’s game in Dunedin, with Jair Jurrjens pitching and making his Orioles debut. The lineup is below, with Nick Markakis at designated hitter and Chris Dickerson in right-field. As manager Buck Showalter joked to reporters, he’s “got a real good feel” of Markakis can do in the field.

Showalter relayed a funny story today about Markakis making sure to call him, and others in the organization, this offseason during the World Series to tell everyone he would have been ready to play.  He’s very locked-in to camp this year, with Showalter pointing out that having to sit on the sidelines with an injury during the postseason probably added some extra fire for Markakis.

There are seven pitchers throwing sides who won’t throw in the game, with one of those guys likely getting the start on Monday. Britton and Arrieta will both start the next time around, with the Orioles scheduled for two games on Wednesday: a 1:05 p.m. game in Tampa against the Yankees and a 7 p.m. contest at home against the Red Sox.

*Danny Valencia will see time at first base this spring, along with Steve Pearce, Conor Jackson, Travis Ishikawa and Russ Canzler. There’s a spot there to be won behind Chris Davis, with Ryan Flaherty also in the mix. Jackson, who has been slowed by a back injury, is doing better and he’s expected to play tomorrow.

*For those who have asked about televised games, MASN kicks off its Grapefruit League schedule with Monday’s game versus the Yankees. The next game will be March 7 versus Toronto and the other televised games are: March 14 (vs. Tampa Bay), March 17 (vs. Twins), March 23 (vs. Phillies) and March 27 (versus the Yankees).

*Showalter hinted that with spring being longer than usual, some guys who need to pitch will start off at the Minor League complex at Twin Lakes Park. I’d imagine guys like Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and relievers Jim Johnson, Luis Ayala and Darren O’Day could see some time there.

Monday’s starter for the home game against the Yankees is Brian Matusz with Mark Hendrickson, Pedro Strop and Daniel McCutchen. The Yankees will start lefty Vidal Nuno.

TWINS LINEUP

Darin Mastroianni CF
Eduardo Escobar 3B
Josh Willingham LF
Ryan Doumit DH
Chris Parmelee RF
Chris Colabello 1B
Brian Dozier 2B
Drew Butera C
Pedro Florimon SS

Kevin Correia RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Brian Roberts 2B
Nate McLouth LF
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Chris Dickerson RF

Zach Britton LHP

The start of the tribute to Weaver on the video board.

The start of the tribute to Weaver on the video board.

Spring Training news & notes Day 10 (updated)

* Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada inched close to throwing a regular bullpen session on Friday, throwing 15 pitches off the half-mound after a long toss progression on the back fields at the team’s Ed Smith Stadium complex.

Wada, through interpreter/athletic trainer Seob Yoon, said it was the best he’s felt so far in rehabbing back from May’s Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow and the plan is for him to throw off a regular mound Monday.

“I feel that it’s gradually getting better and better, day by day,” said Wada, who did the same thing Monday and Wednesday. “Today was more like getting ready for Monday, that’s the whole purpose of today’s half mound and it went well so I’m happy about that.”

Wada’s early timetable is a May or June return to Baltimore.

*The Orioles will host a moment of silence and do a video tribute for Earl Weaver prior to the start of tomorrow’s Spring Training opener. The 1:05 p.m. contest will be against the Minnesota Twins with gates open two hours prior to the start.

*Zach Britton will start tomorrow’s game and will be followed by Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Steve Johnson, Dylan Bundy, T.J. McFarland, Todd Redmond, Zach Clark and Adam Russell. Most of the team’s regulars are expected to start, with Brian Roberts getting one or two at-bats and then going to a wedding at night, although manager Buck Showalter said he hasn’t made a final decision on Nolan Reimold.

There are seven pitchers throwing sides who won’t throw in the game.

*Sunday’s game in Dunedin will be started by  Jair Jurrjens with Troy Patton, Mike Belfiore, Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Daniel Schlereth and Eduardo Rodriguez. Most of the team’s regulars (including Roberts) won’t go to Dunedin, but will play Monday’s home against the Yankees.

*Allen de San Miguel will leave today for the World Baseball Classic, with Jonathan Schoop’s last day tomorrow.

*The Orioles have signed right-handed pitcher Kevin Jacobs and  lefty Harry Marino to Minor League contracts according to Baseball America.

Spring Training news & notes Day 9 (updated)

Phelps 1

Phelps 2

Phelps 3

Adam Jones getting help on his golf swing from Hank Haney.

Adam Jones getting help on his golf swing from Hank Haney.

*The Orioles got a special guest for Thursday’s batting practice session, with Olympic swimmer –and Baltimore County native— Michael Phelps taking swings at Ed Smith Stadium, signing autographs and hanging out with the players prior to the team’s intrasquad game.

Phelps wore uniform No. 18, a tribute to the number of gold medals he’s won, and took five rounds of batting practice. He got tips from numerous guys, everyone from centefielder Adam Jones to hitting coach Jim Presley and –despite joking before stepping in that he might need a tee – got better each time out, hitting long fly balls on his final go-through’s.

“I wanted to hit one out, but we caught a couple that were close,” said Phelps, who got some good-natured teasing from first base coach Wayne Kirby about using his lower body more. “I did [listen to the advice] and I started to tell when I was hitting underneath it instead of on top of it. As soon as I started thinking about it, I saw some changes, which was good.”

Phelps is in town shooting Season 5 of the “The Haney Project” on the Golf Channel, the show features host Hank Haney improving amateur golfers’ game, and they spent Wednesday at Laurel Oak Country Club. Haney, who also took BP and had an Orioles jersey, is a renowned swing coach who worked with Tiger Woods and he gave Jones some tips on the side of the field. The pair’s trip to the stadium will be featured toward the end of the series, likely episode seven or eight, with third base coach Bobby Dickerson throwing the celebrity batting practice.

Phelps, the most decorated medalist in Olympic history with 22 medals, wasn’t able to attend any Orioles’ game last year –as he put it, he was “a little busy” with the Games—but he won’t miss out on 2013.

“I’ll be there Opening Day,” said Phelps, a frequent fixture in attendance during the Ravens games this past season. “It’s been a good year. Obviously the Orioles making the playoffs for the first time in a loooong time. And then with the Ravens bringing back the ring. [Orioles manager Buck Showalter] was saying, they all set the bar high.”

The lineups for the second day of intrasquad games are below, with Troy Patton,  Daniel Schlereth and Eduardo Rodriguez, Pedro Strop, Daniel McCutchen, Mike Belfiore and Kevin Gausman all pitching following the starters. The 4 1/2-inning game was at 1:05 p.m. on the main field at Ed Smith Stadium with the idea to mimic the schedule of real games, which begin on Saturday.

Matt Wieters homered off Troy Patton (but didn’t have to round the bases) and they ended innings based on pitch count, not outs. Gausman, last year’s first-round pick, struck out Lew Ford, got LJ Hoes to ground out to second base and struck out Chris Robinson in the top of the fifth. He stayed out there to get his pitch count up.

“You can see why everybody things so highly of him,” manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman. “He’s got a great delivery and does a lot of things to make himself successful. The changeup he has should play better at higher levels. He’s one of those guys who looks real comfortable on the mound.”

Nolan Reimold wasn’t originally scheduled to play today, but did get an at-bat and some time in left field.

“I sat down and talked to him today,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He wanted to get out there and get some at-bats. He’s been a full-go since he got here. He’s been a full turn-loose. It’s just waiting on the strength to come back.

“It’ll be a process. You’re not always going to be able to dictate some of the things you can do like you can in an intrasquad game. It was his idea as much as it was ours.”

I wrote the other day about Reimold’s recovery. For more on that, click here.

 

 

*Zach Britton will start Saturday’s game and will be followed by Jake Arrieta, with Jair Jurrjens starting Sunday’s game.

*O’s minor league pitcher Jonatan Isenia has made the Netherlands World Baseball Classic team. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2012.

TEAM 1
Adam Jones CF
Wilson Betemit DH
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Manny Machado 3B
Nate McLouth LF
Steve Pearce RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Matt Wieters C

Chris Tillman RHP

TEAM 2
Xavier Avery CF
Russ Canzler DH
Alexi Casilla 2B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Travis Ishikawa 1B
Jason Pridie RF
Trayvon Robinson LF
Taylor Teagarden C
Danny Valencia 3B

Mark Hendrickson LHP

Spring Training news & notes Day 8 (updated)

*In case you missed it yesterday, I wrote about Nolan Reimold’s season-ending neck surgery in June and the process of regaining his strength –particularly the left arm– this winter. Reimold still isn’t 100 percent, but is getting better every day and there are no restrictions on him in camp. It’s a big year for the 29-year-old Reimold, and you can read more on that here.

Reimold wasn’t in any of the starting lineups today and he won’t play tomorrow, as manager Buck Showalter said he’s trying to ease him back in.

*The team held a pair of intrasquad games today (the lineups are below). Each pitcher threw an inning in the three-inning contests that had a nice little crowd watching.

intrasquad lineups

Noticeably absent was Nick Markakis, who had the same test done that Manny Machado and Zach Braddock did earlier this week, involving acid reflux.

“When they say that [they have acid reflux in their physical], they follow up on that and find out what they are testing for, if it’s acid reflux or an ulcer,” Showalter explained. “This test tells you what it would be before you medicate it…they are trying to eliminate which one it is with all three of those guys.

Instead of it being a problem in May or June, let’s find out right now what we are dealing with.”

Markakis will fly back to Baltimore later today to attend a funeral and Showalter said he’s expected back on Friday.

*The pitchers who threw today: Field 3, Visiting team pitchers: Steve Johnson, Zach Clark, and Mike Wright. Home team pitchers: Todd Redmond, Dylan Bundy and T.J. McFarland. Field 4, Visiting team pitchers: Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton and Adam Russell. Home team pitchers: Jake Arietta, Brian Matusz and Jair Jurrjens. Minor league callups for the intrasquad games were outfielders Glynn Davis, Brenden Webb and Johnny Ruettiger and infielders Buck Britton, Adrian Marin and Ty Kelly.

*A few impressions from the games: Matusz was throwing really hard and looked good in his inning, while Russell –one of the biggest guys in camp– is an interesting option throwing sidearm and got a lot of uncomfortable swings. Brian Roberts got a nice round of applause when he stepped in the batter’s box and drove in Nate McLouth –who doubled– with an RBI single off Britton. Dylan Bundy gave up a leadoff single to Chris Dickerson –who was later picked off– and retired the next two batters, while Chris Davis crushed an opposite-field homer off Hunter. (Davis also tried to bunt, unsuccessfully, off Russell.)

*The players participating in the golf tournament today are wearing grey striped polo shots that say Miracle League of Manasota on the sleeve.

*Thursday’s intrasquad game will start at 1:05 p.m. and be six innings on the main Ed Smith Stadium field. No word yet on whether that game will be open to the public. Thursday’s Visiting team pitchers: Mark Hendrickson, Troy Patton,  Daniel Schlereth and Eduardo Rodriguez. Home team pitchers: Chris Tillman, Pedro Strop, Daniel McCutchen, Mike Belfiore and Kevin Gausman.

*Conor Jackson said his sore left back is “definitely better” today and he will get treatment and take another day’s rest. Jackson, who came out of yesterday’s workout, will see how he feels tomorrow and try to not stay sidelined long.

“It’s frustrating, to say the least,” he said of dealing with an injury in a new organization. “Obviously, you want to make an impression, and it’s hard to make an impression when you’re not on the field. Just got to treat it until it gets better and get back out there and play baseball.”

Getting ready for the game

Getting ready for the game

Mike Bordick and Jim Palmer

Mike Bordick and Jim Palmer

Brian Roberts hitting off Zach Britton

Brian Roberts hitting off Zach Britton

Ryan Flaherty.

Ryan Flaherty.

New third base coach Bobby Dickerson and  third baseman Manny Machado.

New third base coach Bobby Dickerson and third baseman Manny Machado.

Reimold on his neck injury, recovery and staying on the field

SARASOTA, Fla.– He had hit long home runs, the kind that you hear off the bat before rocketing undoubtedly onto the other side of outfield walls, but this wasn’t one of them. Nolan Reimold wasn’t sure where the 1-1, 90-mph sinker he got a hold of from Angels righty Jerome Williams would end up, and he wasn’t planning on watching.

Physically, he couldn’t.

One of Baltimore’s more reserved players, there was nothing unusual that April 20 night about Reimold dropping his bat and running down to first base without celebrating a two-run, seventh-inning homer that — at the time — cut the Orioles’ deficit to three runs. Only upon close inspection of the replay can you see him cock his head several fractions to the left and stop, as the club’s hottest hitter raced down to first base instead. It was easier that way, because the pain in his neck, which had started three days earlier, was only tolerable when Reimold looked straight ahead.

Reimold wouldn’t exactly see where the ball landed until he rounded first base, but the left fielder felt the aftermath of that swing the rest of the night. It would lock up his trapezius muscle in the outfield — particularly on the left side, where he started to get tingly and lose feeling — and later keep him awake in his hotel room, unable to roll over despite some strategic pillow placement.

“I would wake up in the morning and go to the field, and every day I would think, ‘How the heck am I going to play today?’” said Reimold, who eventually had four pieces of a ruptured disk in his neck removed and the vertebrae fused back together as part of a season-ending procedure in June. “And by game time, I just played.”

For the rest of the story on Reimold’s recovery and his motivation this spring, click here.

***

As is usually the case in a longer feature story, I had some leftover Nolan Reimold quotes that didn’t make it in the Orioles.com piece and those are below…

[on being called injury prone] “I’ve had injuries, I’m not denying that obviously. But I’m not, tweak here I’m going to sit out. I played with my neck until I absolutely couldn’t play. I tried to stay on the field and I shouldn’t have. That’s what did it to me is because I kept playing. That’s the reason why it got as bad as it did.”

“If you think about those two injuries [the neck and the Achilles] they are kind of out of your control. It’s not lack of being prepared or being out of shape.  In all honesty, after I had those muscle spasms I should have stopped playing and let it heal. I just kept pushing it and pushing it and pushing it until finally it was too late.”

[on where he is in his recovery with his left arm] “It’s still early for something like this and it will keep getting better and better. My arm feels a lot stronger since I’ve already been done in Sarasota. My forearm feels stronger, hand on the glove, hand on the bat. So I still have a long time here in Sarasota, but I feel pretty good…I think I’ll be able to do everything [this spring]. I don’t plan on going slow.”

[on if anything bothers him in particular] “No, I’m pretty far along. All I’m waiting for is all the strength to come back in my arm, which it will. So there’s still a lot of progress to be made but I’m far along and I’m able to play. And it’s going to keep better and better, we still have a lot of time this spring.”

[on his neck mobility] “It’s still a work in progress. It’s only been 7 ½ months. The neck is fused, but it still takes [time] the neck is still loosening up. the mobility doesn’t really affect me when I’m hitting or swinging or anything. that’s not a problem. I got a lot of strength back, I’m pretty far along, but there’s still progress to be made. Which it will,  because I’m getting better and better and better.”

[on watching the 2012 season and being hurt] “Yeah, it kind of sucked. I’m sure it was a really fun summer up here. I was down in Florida doing my rehab, weak as hell and just trying to get better. It was a lot better once I was able to start doing stuff so I could feel like I was making progress toward getting back. But just sitting around, not being able to do much, I think early on was the toughest part. Later on when they were in the playoffs, that was exciting. I was sitting there watching it. I wish I could have been part of it but, I just couldn’t.”

[on getting neck surgery] “Neck surgery is scary, but Mr. Angelos went out and did research on who to do my surgery, so he hooked me up with the best surgeon so I had all the confidence in the world that he was going to do the best job. But that being said, it’s still neck surgery. You can’t really get too much worse than getting your neck cut open, having spine surgery.”

[on if he saved the four pieces of bone they took out of his neck] “I wanted to, I was going to tell the doctor save them for me but then my wife was like, ‘That’s disgusting don’t do that’.”

Spring Training news & notes Day 7

Wayne Kirby getting ready to lead the outfielders through some work.

Wayne Kirby getting ready to lead the outfielders through some work.

Darren O'Day and Jim Johnson

Darren O’Day and Jim Johnson

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Adam Russell and Mark Hendrickson, who were watching O'Day pitch, listen to Bill Castro go over stuff.

Adam Russell and Mark Hendrickson, who were watching O’Day pitch, listen to Bill Castro go over stuff.

*Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold, coming off June’s neck surgery, is out of options and ready to prove he can be a go-to guy for Baltimore. Reimold talked about the scary moments of the injury –which he played with for several weeks– the recovery process and regaining forearm strength here.

*There weren’t any bullpen sessions on the original schedule today, as the Orioles will have intrasquad games tomorrow and Thursday in preparation for the first game on Saturday.

The plan is for the games to start early, around 10:15 a.m., and for 12 pitches to throw an inning each on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. It will probably be two three-inning games, with the Orioles set for an early day to held to the Third Annual Birdland Golf Classic, which benefits the Miracle League of Manasota. (Closer Jim Johnson is one of the guys heavily involved with the organization and is part of the organizing.) The intrasquad game is open to the public tomorrow.

Thursday’s game will start at 1:05 p.m. and be six innings on the main Ed Smith Stadium field. No word yet on whether that game will be open to the public.

Wednesday- Field 3, Visiting team pitchers: Steve Johnson, Zach Clark, and Mike Wright. Home team pitchers: Todd Redmond, Dylan Bundy and T.J. McFarland.
Field 4, Visiting team pitchers: Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton and Adam Russell. Home team pitchers: Jake Arietta, Brian Matusz and Jair Jurrjens.

Thursday: Visiting team pitchers: Mark Hendrickson, Troy Patton,  Daniel Schlereth and Eduardo Rodriguez. Home team pitchers: Chris Tillman, Pedro Strop, Daniel McCutchen, Mike Belfiore and Kevin Gausman.

Minor league callups for the intrasquad games: outfielders Glynn Davis, Brenden Webb and Johnny Ruettiger and infielders Buck Britton, Adrian Marin and Ty Kelly.

*Nick Markakis will play in Wednesday’s game and leave for Baltimore after that to attend a funeral. Markakis will miss a few days, according to manager Buck Showalter.

*Conor Jackson and Luis Martinez left today’s workout early with Jackson dealing with lower back tightness from taking ground balls, and Martinez dealing with a left oblique strain. Both injuries are considered minor and both guys said they hoped to be slowed for just a day or two.

*Manny Machado and Zach Braddock were back in camp today after missing yesterday’s workout. Machado said everything is fine –it was an acid reflux issue– and he’s a full go.

*Luis Ayala decided yesterday he will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Team Mexico and said today he needs the rest. It was a tough decision for Ayala, who has pitched in the two previous Classics.

Ayala, Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day did throw bullpens today, the trio are being slowed down from the rest of camp, and it was interesting to see sidearmers Mark Hendrickson and Adam Russell watching O’Day’s session. O’Day, who signed a two-year agreement yesterday, taught himself how to throw sidearm after being cut from his college team as a freshman and has been giving the other guys tips in camp. He also taught Yankees pitcher Cody Eppley. You can read more about his journey to the Orioles, in a feature story I wrote on him last spring here.

*Orioles first baseman Chris Davis talks about his defensive preparation in Spring Training and building off his successful 2012 campaign in a video here.

Spring Training news & notes Day 6 (updated)

Tsuyoshi Wada coming over to chat with reporters after throwing.

Tsuyoshi Wada coming over to chat with reporters after throwing.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette watching some pitchers.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette watching some pitchers.

*Luis Ayala has apparently decided not to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, with manager Buck Showalter telling reporters that Ayala informed pitching coach Rick Adair of the decision earlier in the day. Ayala was on the preliminary roster for Team Mexico.

*Third baseman Manny Machado and pitcher Zach Braddock did not work out today as the pair had to undergo additional procedures as part of their physicals. The team said it was minor and they are both expected back in camp tomorrow.

*Tsuyoshi Wada threw 20 pitches off of the half-mound mound this morning and he will repeat that again on Wednesday and Friday. Assuming all goes well he will thrown his first regular bullpen, off of an actual mound next Monday.

Wada, who generally needs interpreter/athletic trainer Seob Yoon, didn’t need any help when asked if he was excited about today’s progress.

“Yes,” he said. “Yes. Real good.”

Wada has been on the half mound before today, but this was the first time he actually threw with some effort and he estimated it was about 70-80 percent of his normal effort.

“I do feel better day by day,” said Wada, who had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in May. “There was a good tightness after I threw on my elbow. It was a good tightness. This was a real good day for me.”

*Chris Davis was launching the ball during batting practice today. Twice he eclipsed the field and the pitchers throwing by the batting cages had to duck and cover.

*The Orioles officially announced Monday morning that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Darren O’Day on a two-year contract with a club option for 2015.

O’Day, 30, went 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA, setting career-highs in wins,  innings pitched and strikeouts in 2012.  It was his first season with the O’s after being claimed on waivers from Texas on November 2, 2011. The deal avoids arbitration and keeps one of the team’s best bullpen pieces in the organization for at least the next two seasons.

Last season, O’Day stranded 37 of 43 inherited runners (86 percent), the third best mark in the American League, and went 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 36 games against AL East opponents, holding hitters to a line of .135/.207/.270.  He tossed two scoreless innings in the AL Wild Card Game at Texas and made four scoreless appearances in the ALDS against the Yankees.

I’ll have more from O’Day and manager Buck Showalter after today’s workout.

*Those throwing bullpens today, with hitters tracking (not swinging) include: Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Pedro Strop, Mark Hendrickson, Daniel McCutchen, Daniel Schlereth, Troy Patton, Mike Belfiore, Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez.

*The team had a nutrition meeting today. And, yes, there are still 41 bags of donuts in Gausman’s locker from yesterday. He joked he’s going to eat one a day for the rest of camp.

*Have mentioned this before, but Zach Britton looks really good in camp. Catcher Matt Wieters, who isn’t one to heap on praise, approached Britton after his first bullpen this spring to tell him how impressive he looked and it seems he’s finally healthy and back to form.

*Speaking of back to form, Nolan Reimold hasn’t been slowed in outfield drills at all, a good test for his neck and left arm. He’s  been able to do everything in the field with the rest of the group, who got their first full workout in on Saturday.

*The Orioles open their Minor League mini-camp today, with Gary Kendall going over to the facility at Twin Lakes to get that going. Those players will be used for early Major League games along with the pair of scheduled intrasquad games.

Spring Training news & notes Day 5 (updated)

Jair Jurrjens throwing his first bullpen as an Oriole.

Jair Jurrjens throwing his first bullpen as an Oriole.

Manager Buck Showalter watching Jurrjens and looking stealth.

Manager Buck Showalter watching Jurrjens and looking stealth.

*In case you missed it, Jair Jurrjens joined the Orioles yesterday and you can read more about that here. He’s pictured above warming up and than he went inside to finish up.

*The Orioles had pitchers throw with hitters in the batters box tracking (not swinging) today in the covered batting cage area. Those who threw: Jurrjens, Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Todd Redmond, Dylan Bundy, Zach Clark, Mike Wright, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Adam Russell, Steve Johnson and T.J. McFarland.

Jurrjens said he’s trying to back to his mechanics from before his right knee injury and he’s thrown a lot of bullpens this offseason to prove he’s healthy. He expects to be ready to pitch in spring games once they start next weekend.

“We’re at the point now where we’re seeing if he’s favoring the knee or whatever,” manager Buck Showalter said of Jurrjens. “Rick [Adair] and I were talking about getting some tape pulled up when he was right and when he was struggling and see what the difference is. See how the knee may have affected his mechanics.

“This guy at one time had outstanding command. Most of the problems he had can be traced to the issues he had with his knee. So, we’ll see.”

*Brian Roberts told reporters when he spoke to us last week that he wanted to play as much as possible this spring, and Showalter seems to agree.

“We’ve gone over the whole spring, we’ve sat down multiple times,” Showalter said. “He will have a pair of [road] gray pants in his locker, unlike some of our guys.

“He wants to play as much as I’m willing to play him, [we’re] going to emphasize the last seven to 10 days, I’m not going to beat him up, he’s still getting ready for the season. But he will get more at-bats than he normally does in the spring. “

*Showalter also reiterated that he would like to get J.J. Hardy out of the second spot in the batting order, although he conceded it may not happen depending on injuries and other unforeseen things.

“I think his skill set serves him better and our team better somewhere else, but I’m not committed to that yet,” Showalter said. “Just like last year he was our best option there, he did a good job for us. But I think we could put him in a better position to do what he does best if I can get him down some. It’s one of the things I’m hoping we feel comfortable doing when we break here.”

*There’s still no word on whether Luis Ayala will pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Team Mexico, but here are the final days in camp for the guys who are definitely leaving: Adam Jones (March 2- Team USA), Pedro Strop and bullpen coach Billy Castro (March 3- Team Dominican Republic), Chris Robinson (March 2- Team Canada), Jonathan Schoop (February 23- Team Netherlands), Allan De San Miguel (Team Australia- February 22).

*Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman, who has been given the nickname “Dunkin” by reliever Darren O’Day found a surprise at his locker this morning from centerfielder Adam Jones and you can see that picture here. The donuts are a tribute to Gausman’s habit of eating powdered donuts in between innings of his college starts.

It took about an hour to get the whole thing set up and Gausman got a text last night telling him to not come to the Ed Smith Stadium Complex until 8 a.m. because the veterans had something to do. How many donuts are there in total? More than 1500, with Gausman taking some good-natured ribbing for it and O’Day proudly holding up his “one-of-a-kind” bag autographed by Hostess.

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