Pregame notes

*The Orioles expect to make around five cuts today, with just one pitcher in the group. Some of what they do also depends on shortstop J.J. Hardy who reported to be feeling better today. The team will know more after he gets an MRA on his left shoulder on Monday.

*Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching on the road against Toronto today, meaning he will face a lineup of Blue Jays regulars. It’s an interesting decision considering the O’s have gone to great lengths to have certain starters avoid their AL East opponents late in spring. The O’s have their home opener, the fourth game of the season, against Toronto.

“The most important thing for him this spring to is to pitch as many innings as he could possible pitch regardless of [the opponent],” Showalter said of Jimenez, who is working on a simplified delivery and trying to bounce back from a disapointing 2014. “If a starting pitcher is on their game it doesn’t matter who they are facing. If they are on their game. There’s certain things that lead to it, but it doesn’t mean they will face him during the season. With the off day [after Game 3] we can do pretty much whatever we want to do.”

*Showalter acknowledged yesterday that it would probably require a trade for the Orioles to keep both Rule 5 Draft pitchers: Logan Verrett and Jason Garcia. Of the two, Verrett –who has allowed two earned runs over 12 innings– appears to be the more likely guy the O’s keep. They really like Garcia as well, but it would be tough to have two more un-optionable pieces in the ‘pen without clearing a spot with a trade of another reliever.

Verrett has impressed the O’s, pounding the strike zone and issuing just one walk all spring, which came back on March 3.

“He’s been as advertised completely,” Showalter said. “I’m a little surprised he’s been just as advertised. Strike-thrower. The whole camp, I’ve been really surprised by the velocity.”

Verrett has been up a tick, hitting 93 mph at times, and Showalter said he had to go back and look at the Rule 5 reports to see if that was what the O’s had.

“So many of the guys in the Rule 5 have been hurt, or they’re a ‘tweener,” Showalter said. “It’s going to hard to carry [Garcia and Verrett]. It affects the rest of the bullpen and our staff if we carry them.”

*David Lough (back) is expected to return to the lineup and start Monday’s game.

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