News & notes Day 39 (updated)

The Orioles lost 4-1 to the Twins today, with Bud Norris turning in a solid outing in his final spring tuneup. (You can read Norris’ quotes on that here.)

“He should have given up what, one run maybe at the most,” manager Buck Showalter said of Norris, who had some shaky defense behind him. “Was a good outing for him. Got his pitch count where he needed it to be. Got his ups where he needed to be. Bud’s a good fielding pitcher, just got to slow his clock a little bit. He’s one of our better fielding guys…Got a couple outs off the change up and also set up a couple with the change up. So, I like the progress with that. Now it’s a matter of if he’s going to carry it over into the season.”

*The O’s could make a few cuts tonight. So, stay tuned for that.

“They’re good tough,” Showalter said of the looming roster decisions. “In the past, we’ve had last man standing. These are quality pitchers we think if they are not here they are going to provide depth. I hope we don’t see anybody we sent down, but chances are [we will]. That keeps the competition (going). Sometimes people in the big leagues don’t think there’s anybody behind them that can take their place. We will have those this year.”

*Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter will pitch back-to-back outings and go again on Wednesday.

*The Orioles will likely have Norris and Miguel Gonzalez stay back and not travel to Norfolk on Saturday, and pitch in Sarasota that day instead. They’d meet the team in Baltimore.

*Ryan Flaherty was officially told that he made the club, which manager Buck Showalter joked was done partially so Flaherty could stop “walking on eggshells” around the facility. Flaherty will start the season at third base with Manny Machado on the disabled list.

It seems fairly obvious that the plan is to have Steve Lombardozzi start at second base, which puts Jonathan Schoop at Triple-A Norfolk to start the season. The utility infield spot will be either Jemile Weeks or Alexi Casilla, with the edge going to Weeks who can be sent down and has been able to stay healthy all spring. (Casilla has been limited with a pair of injuries.)

In that scenario, if the club needed a backup for J.J. Hardy, Flaherty could move to shortstop and Lombardozzi to third with Weeks at second.

*Wei-Yin Chen will start the third game of the season, as expected. Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez will follow, but the club isn’t sure of the order just yet.

*Michael Almanzar will be shut down for at least a few days after an MRI on his left knee yesterday revealed patella tendinitis. He’s a possibility to go to the disabled list, according to EVP Dan Duquette.

*Steve Clevenger was also told yesterday by Showalter that he has made the club. It was pretty much a formality with the club designating Johnny Monell for assignment, but still makes the roster picture a little clearer. Clevenger, a local product, said it still won’t feel official until he puts on his uniform on Opening Day.

*The Orioles roster is starting to take shape with Showalter planning to make cuts after tomorrow afternoon’s game and again after the nightcap.

*In case you missed it, the big news out of Orioles camp yesterday was the trade of Alex Gonzalez in exchange for Lombardozzi. More on that from the Orioles side is up here, and here is what Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski had to say about the swap which –at first blush–looks really, really good for the Orioles…

“We like Steve. what really happened for us is our situation changed dramatically for us at shortstop when we lost [Jose] Iglesias. So it’s a situation where we had a guy that we thought would play 150 games at shortstop and that he could play whenever Brad would want to play him. We don’t have that luxury now, the way we’re set up. We need a couple guys that can play shortstop on a regular basis, and in our mind, we don’t think that he can do that.

So when you look at it, yes, we do like him. Is it a lot to give up? Perhaps. People may look at that he’s younger. We looked at him as a real good utility player when we got him, and that’s how we looked at him now. We figured he’d play that role, but we’re somewhat in a jam. And we’re getting a guy that we like and we think can do the job. The other way to look at it is we’re trading a guy that we do like for a guy that we think can play the majority of our games at shortstop. [Gonzalez] was going to make the Orioles club.”

*MLB.com columnist Richard Justice previewed the AL East and you can read that here.

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ORIOLES LINEUP
David Lough CF
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Henry Urrutia RF
Delmon Young LF
Steve Clevenger C
Nolan Reimold DH
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Steve Pearce 1B
Alexi Casilla SS

Bud Norris RHP

TWINS LINEUP
Brian Dozier 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Joe Mauer 1B
Josh Willingham LF
Jason Kubel DH
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Oswaldo Arcia RF
Aaron Hicks CF
Pedro Florimon SS

Mike Pelfrey RHP

1 Comment

Still, I like our end of this deal better.

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