News & notes day 21 (updated twice)

Greetings from Fort Myers, where the Orioles will take on the Twins…

*About 30 Orioles, including manager Buck Showalter, will leave Friday’s game about midway through and get on a private plane to the Virginia area to attend memorial services for Monica Barlow. Showalter said the plane was originally going to seat just 10, but there was such a demand that owner Peter Angelos, who is arranging the plane, expanded the aircraft.

“Everybody wants to go, we had that problem and Mr Angelos expanded the plane,” Showalter said. “He will be [angry] I brought it up, but it’s a hell of a gesture.”

The plan is for the group to leave around 4 p.m. ET and return around 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday night. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy and pretty much all of the team’s regulars will be going, with bench coach John Russell taking over and managing the rest of the game against the Phillies.

*Bud Norris will pitch Saturday’s home game against the Red Sox (which is on MASN), with Kevin Gausman traveling to Fort Myers for the night road contest. Miguel Gonzalez will start tomorrow with Ubaldo Jimenez making his Orioles debut on Friday.

*David Lough was supposed to come tonight, but he got hit with a line drive during outfield work in the right toe. X-rays were OK, but Showalter wanted to play it safe and left Lough at home.

*Suk-min Yoon will leave for Canada on March 10 and will “at least” pitch in a sim game before that. He will be gone a couple days to work out immigration issues.

*Manny Machado started moving side-to-side today in fielding ground balls, which is a good sign. He also had a mole removed off his back, but that’s not anything that will sideline him.

*Dylan Bundy has six more long toss sessions and he’s slated to throw off a flat ground mound on March 19.

*Alexi Casilla (hamstring) took live batting practice today and shouldn’t be too far away, Showalter is hoping he’d be available for Saturday’s split squad. Chris Marerro [oblique] took about 10 swings off the tee and isn’t doing much better.

*Henry Urrutia is a go now. He will be back in the mix for Thursday’s game after doing everything during today’s practice.

*The first round of cuts will likely come Sunday or Monday, after the team’s split squad game.

*Johan Santana held court with the media and you can read that here.

*Kevin Gausman is sporting a pair of prescription glasses today and he’ll try those out on the field. His contacts have been giving him some problems.

*Brock Huntzinger has been an interesting early name. He’s retired all six batters he’s faced, including striking out the side against the Yankees on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old threw a scoreless third inning against the Red Sox regulars, also on the road, before that and has been praised by manager Buck Showalter in both appearances.

“I was joking around with my buddies, I can’t remember the last time I struck out the side,” Huntzinger said, when asked if Tuesday’s trio of strikeouts was normal. “Probably in high school. I think it was all from getting ahead of guys. If I can start doing that, great. But no, I’m not going to strike everybody out. That’s not really my thing.”

Huntzinger has been sharp since arriving in Sarasota, and credits playing winter ball for the first time in his career for helping to keep him on track. He had two stints in the Dominican, including 15 2/3 innings with the Estrellas, where he pitched to a 1.15 ERA. He returned shortly after Christmas and pitched in the postseason for the Aguilas.  

The Orioles bullpen has three or four unclaimed spots, and Huntzinger said he used to get really into keeping track of roster battles and what contract situation were in the clubhouse. But those days are gone.

“Coming here, I don’t know what guys are starters or relievers, who’s a free agent. And I think that’s just kind of freed up my mind to just go out there and do what I can do,” he said. “Obviously, I know they’ve got their guys or whatever, but they made me feel good in the process this offseason and they said there were going to be opportunities, so hopefully there’s an opportunity.”

Quintin Berry CF
Jemile Weeks 2B
Xavier Paul RF
Steve Pearce 1B
Johnny Monell C
Nolan Reimold DH
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Alex Gonzalez SS
Julio Borbon LF

Chris Tillman RHP

Also slated to pitch: Zach Britton, Tim Berry, Mike Belfiore, TJ McFarland, Troy Patton, Fabio Castillo, Steve Johnson, Eddie Gambo and Zach Davies

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