Lots of odds and ends today pregame…
*The Orioles have reassigned Lew Ford to Minor League camp, bringing the spring roster to 37, including nine non-roster invitees. Obviously yesterday’s injury to Wilson Betemit changed some things and the Orioles will probably take a first base/outfield type with Ryan Flaherty likely making the team in Betemit’s spot. Conor Jackson and Steve Pearce are two options in camp and manager Buck Showalter –while not completing ruling out starting the season with an extra pitcher and short bench– said he’s prefer not to.
*Steve Johnson’s start on Thursday is in jeopardy as the right-hander –who had the original start pushed back a day– is still dealing with some lower back discomfort. Given how late it is in camp, it’s probably safe to say that Johnson –who already had an outside shot to break with the Opening Day team — will likely start the season with Triple-A Norfolk.
*The Orioles are still mulling over whether to place right-hander Chris Tillman on the disabled list, which would be backdated to his last spring start, and they should have more on that tomorrow. The team has floated the idea to Tillman, who is a little behind after dealing with some abdominal soreness, and a move there would open another roster spot to start the year.
It could also allow the Orioles to keep Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland, who Showalter confirmed today will only make the team in a long relief role. That would free up right-hander Tommy Hunter, should he make the club, to be used in another role and also give them two lefties –in Brian Matusz and Troy Patton– to use in the later innings.
The Orioles need a fifth starter just once before April 21 and Matusz, who has been stretched out as a starter this spring, could be a candidate to make that spot start if they do DL Tillman. Jake Arrieta appears to be the guy who will win the rotation spot with Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez also penciled in.
*Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day will throw at the Minor League complex today, along with Arrieta, to give the pair of relievers back-to-back outings.
*The plan today is for Kevin Gausman to go four or five innings today and get up around 70 pitches.
*Mark Hendrickson will not stay in extended spring and the lefty- who is working on a new sidearm delivery– is still in camp and an outside option to make the club. If not, Hendrickson could be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk or Bowie, which is a lot closer to his York, PA home.
*There are a lot of balls up in the air but Miguel Gonzalez will start Saturday’s game vs. the Mets.
*Jake Arrieta threw six innings at the Minor League complex and is scheduled to throw again on the team’s off day, March 31.
*Showalter called the Wilson Betemit news “as good as we could have expected”. To read more on that, click here.