News & notes Day 12 (updated)

*The Orioles are expected to Nelson Cruz’s one-year contract later today with a press conference expected on Tuesday morning. Cruz was here yesterday getting his physical and was listed on the original sheet for today’s practice, but he didn’t work out with the team.

The hope is Cruz will be at tomorrow’s practice and manager Buck Showalter said he talked to the outfielder last night and he was “excited” about joining the O’s.

*Quintin Berry exited Monday’s workout with a back spasm and the outfielder will get an MRI to make sure its nothing more serious.

Berry, who said he hadn’t dealt with the issue before, didn’t seem overly worried about it being an issue. The non-roster invitee was in the clubhouse walking around and was optimistic he would be at practice on Tuesday.

“I hope, we’ll see,” manager Buck Showalter said of Berry’s back being a minor issue. “He went down pretty good there.”

*Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz will leave the team a few days after pitching in Wednesday’s intrasquad game to get a wart removed from his left index finger in Philadelphia. Matusz had the same issue in the spring of 2011 and also went to Philly. He is expected to be back that night, but will likely be sidelined for at least a couple days after.

*Hitting coach Jim Presley was gone today, as he got an epidural for a pair of building disks in his neck. He’s expected back tomorrow.

*Suk-min Yoon will throw his final bullpen on Tuesday and then progress to throwing to hitters with the target date for his first spring game March 6 or 7. Yoon hopes to secure a work visa in the next week, since he will need one to pitch in a Grapefruit League game.

*The “Two Minutes with…” series continued with Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez yesterday and you can catch up with him here. Gonzalez threw live batting practice today with a couple of the guys coming over from Minor League camp.

*Hall of Famer Frank Robinson is here and addressed the team this morning before they went out for stretch. Robinson also held court with the media and you can read that interview here.

Showalter asked one of the Orioles’ young players, last year’s sandwich pick Josh Hart when he was walking with Robinson if he knew who he was. When Hart said no, Showalter assigned him a one-page paper on Robinson to be put on his desk by Tuesday.

*Ubaldo Jimenez also hopes to get into a spring game the first week. Jimenez, like Yoon, will throw another bullpen before facing hitters. While the right-hander didn’t throw any bullpens before camp, he said his arm feels good and he’s not worried about being behind at all.

Jimenez, who signed last week, has really enjoyed just being out on the field with new teammates after a winter of waiting around.

“I was kind of desperate to be out there, be with a team, doing my stuff,” he said this morning. “I’m used to every year in February be doing something. And this year everything was different, so it was hard. It was hard to be waiting so long. It feels like I’m able to breathe again. I’m able to be happy.”

Jimenez played a Double-A All-Star game with Miguel Gonzalez and was Little League teammates with Alexi Casilla. They go way back, playing together when he was 12 or 13.

“He was an unbelievable hitter,” Jimenez said of Casilla.

*The Orioles have said all along that they want to extend J.J. Hardy and the shortstop and his camp have made it clear that they want it done before Opening Day. Hardy said today that there a meeting between the two sides. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s obviously encouraging that they’re going to start getting things going.

*I keep getting asked about the Orioles interest in Ervin Santana, which is a rumor that won’t go away. Again, I’m told there’s no substantial interest by the O’s and Santana would have to fall in their lap price-wise for anything to get going. It seems Santana’s camp is OK with waiting instead of dropping their asking price, which makes him even less likely to be an Oriole. Baltimore is OK with its pitching depth as it stands now, and payroll-wise they don’t have a whole lot of room to work with.

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