Spring Training news & notes Day 27 (updated)

*The Orioles optioned right-handed pitcher Zach Clark, lefty Mike Belfiore and outfielder Xavier Avery to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Monday’s game. The moves put the Orioles at 53 players at Major League Spring Training, including 16 non-roster invitees.

Clark and Belfiore were both added to the 40-man roster this winter with Clark going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in five spring games (seven innings) while Belfiore went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four games ( 7 1/3 innings). Avery hit .182 (2-for-12) with two RBIs in 12 games.

*Jonathan Schoop went 1-for-3 with a walk in the Netherlands 7-6 win over Cuba to advance in the World Baseball Classic.

*The Orioles pregame notes have Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman slated to start in Thursday’s game vs. the Rays. Both will pitch in the game, but the order is TBD. Brian Matusz will start Wednesday’s game with Tuesday’s intrasquad pitchers listed as: Jason Hammel, Steve Johnson, Mike Wright, Jair Jurrjens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Troy Patton and Daniel Schlereth.

*Jake Arrieta is starting with Zach Britton going second, which is a reversal of the original plan. The club had no reason for the switch.

*Chris Tillman is feeling better today and he plans on playing catch to see how the soreness in his abdomen responds. Tillman was scratched from yesterday’s start and was getting treatment on the area this morning.

*Taylor Teagarden got back into spring action on Sunday and he will play in Wednesday’s game against the Twins following Tuesday’s off day.

*The Orioles will hold an intrasquad game in lieu of any games Tuesday with several guys, including Jason Hammel and Jair Jurrjens starting, getting in their innings against some of the organization’s Minor League hitters. Nolan Reimold, Wilson Betemit and Teagarden will hit in that game at the top of the order to get in some extra at-bats.

*Second baseman Brian Roberts held court at his locker this morning and talked about a variety of topics, including being ready for Opening Day.

“If I was ready on February 24, I hope I’ll be ready on April 2nd,” said Roberts, who has been a full participant in spring games.  “I’m excited. [Orioles manager Buck Showalter] would probably tell you I’ve been champing at the bit in his ear; I want to play. It’s been hard to be held back almost. When you haven’t played in so long…I enjoy getting my work in on the days when I don’t play, but I enjoy the game more than I enjoy the staying back working. I’ve been back working for a long time so, but I know that’s it’s a long season, and we’re trying to take the approach that will have me ready to play.”

Does Roberts foresee himself diving in the field and on the basepaths still?

“I don’t foresee it being a problem,” he said. “I guess I haven’t necessarily; I dove for one ground ball, maybe. I haven’t dove headfirst on a steal yet.

My doctors don’t’ foresee it being a problem. I have the confidence now just in being out there every day and feeling very different than I did last year. I think moving forward everything is in the right place.”

ORIOLES LINEUP

Alexi Casilla SS
Lew Ford CF
Conor Jackson 1B
Steve Pearce DH
Russ Canzler RF
Danny Valencia 3B
Yamaico Navarro 2B
LJ Hoes LF
Luis Exposito C

Jake Arrieta RHP

PIRATES LINEUP
Sterling Marte CF
Jose Tabata RF
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Felix Pie LF
Clint Barmes SS
Michael McKenry C

Jeff Locke LHP

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