Hammel OD starter and other pregame notes
*As expected, the Orioles have named Jason Hammel the Opening Day starter and he will be followed by Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez.
*Chris Tillman will start the fourth as long as he avoids the disabled list that is. Tillman will pitch Friday’s game first and manager Buck Showalter said that decision is still “close”. If he does get DL’ed, he would be eligible to come off and pitch the fifth game of the season because they can backdate when he went on.
*Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Jair Jurrjens are all options for the fifth rotation spot, with Arrieta considered the frontrunner. Matusz is expected to be a bullpen guy if he doesn’t make the rotation with the Orioles informing Tommy Hunter today that he has made the team as a reliever.
The decision on Rule-5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland is also expected to go down to the wire and it could change depending on what the team does with Tillman.
*Kevin Gausman was reassigned to Double-A Bowie today, with first baseman Travis Ishikawa and catcher Chris Robinson also reassigned to Minor League camp.
*Pitcher Steve Johnson has been shut down with a strained right lat and he could start the season on the disabled list. Johnson is not expected to pitch again this spring, and he said earlier this afternoon that the issue first crept up in the bullpen he threw in advance of Friday’s start.
Johnson was supposed to start on Thursday and now it will be a combination of a couple different guys, probably some from Minor League camp.
*Lefty Mark Hendrickson has made an impression this spring and he will be a final decision in camp. Showalter said he would be surprised if Hendrickson, who has reinvented himself as a sidearmer, didn’t help the big league club at some point this season.
*The team’s final bench spot is still up for grabs with Conor Jackson and Steve Pearce the leading candidates on that front.