More pregame notes
Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman will start Saturday’s game against Puerto Rican development program team on the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium. Matt Wieters, as scheduled earlier, will catch the game and manager Buck Showalter said it’s not a ploy to have Tillman avoid the O’s scheduled spring opponent, the Rays.
“[Pitching coach Dave Wallace] Wally liked to be able to control the environment a little bit,” Showalter said of the game, which will start at 2 p.m. “I’m kind of over that keeping him away from people. There’s no secrets here. Tillman has pitched how many games against [Tampa Bay]. Sometimes he might pick up something from them. Chances are he’s not going to see a lot of guys in that [regular]lineup anyway.”
Wieters is slated to catch 5-7 innings, though that’s subjected to change based off feel. He will also pitch on Sunday in the “B” game.
There are no plans yet for Steve Pearce to play third base though it remains an option and in the back of Showalter’s mind. It’s an unusual spring for Pearce, who isn’t fighting to make the club and hasn’t been a regular fixture on road games because he’s a veteran.
“He will get plenty of [playing time], we are still three weeks away,” Showalter said of the challenge of holding back Pearce, who has always had to fight for a spot, a little bit in camp. “You don’t want to take away from who he really is. I’ve had a lot of players like that, that’s what made them good was knowing they worked harder and were more prepared. But with Steve, if he wasn’t starting he’d probably take 100 swings in the cage over the course of the game to be ready for that one at-bat to help the team. And now if he’s doing that and playing five or six days a week that’s counterproductive. I think it helped him stay healthy last year. When a guy has more problems with his wrist when he’s on the bench and not playing every day as opposed to when he’s playing every day, you know how much work he’s doing. We hear a constant ding in there, balls going off the cage. We all know who it is.”