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Duquette on Yoon

As I wrote earlier, the Orioles have agreed to release Suk-min Yoon from his contract at his request. The club will save about $4.3 million per an industry source and Yoon has signed a four-year deal with the Kia Tigers of the KBO.

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette held court on the Yoon situation and confirmed that the club has no further financial obligations to Yoon, who had two more years left on his original three-year contract.

“We thought that Suk-min Yoon could develop into a decent pitcher here, but it didn’t work out,” Duquette said. “Some of [international signings] are going to work, some of them aren’t going to work. The good part of this is that this didn’t work, but we were able to correct the mistake, if you will, and we have that money to available to invest in other players.”

Duquette said Yoon’s camp approached the Orioels about this about a month ago and the two sides have been hammering out the details.

“He was down here throwing, getting ready for Spring Training, and his former team, I think, really wanted him back,” Duquette said. “Kia was the team he played with before, and he was a franchise player for Kia before he signed with the Orioles.”

Yoon released, Machado note

*The Orioles have released Suk-Min Yoon from his contract allowing him to sign with the Kia Tigers of the KBO. Yoon requested his release and the O’s granted it.

*

SARASOTA, Fla.— Manny Machado was hitless in his first spring game on Wednesday, but the third baseman was happy to just get back on the field.

So what did Machado, who last had played in August, miss the most while recovering from his second consecutive season-ending knee surgery?

“Just being on the field,” Machado said. “Being in the dugout, waiting for that anticipation to go back out onto the field. And get an at-bat. Those are the things I most miss.”

Machado, who is a full-go this spring, said there are no more physical tests to pass and it’s just a matter of getting reps in during camp.

“‘[I’m at the] beginning of spring training, just like everybody else,” he said. “I’m getting my at-bats and timing down, just getting my feet wet basically.”

Machado will get a lot of playing time this spring and he was slotted in the leadoff spot for Thursday night’s game, which marked the first time he hit first since September 2013. Asked jokingly if he felt pressure to bunt, Machado said it’s time for him to swing the bat.

“It was just overall a great feeling [Wednesday] to get back out there and get in the groove of things and get out there rolling,” he said. “I’m excited to get out there and get my at-bats and get where I need to be.”

Orioles split-squad game

Wei-Yin Chen threw two scoreless innings in Port Charlotte this afternoon and the Orioles will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound for tonight’s home game. Here is the lineup for the game (which will be on MASN)…

ORIOLES LINEUP

Manny Machado 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Delmon Young RF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters DH
Steve Pearce LF
Ryan Lavarnway C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Miguel Gonzalez

Gausman to be held back early this spring

SARASOTA, Fla.—Kevin Gausman’s spring debut didn’t last long, as the right-hander worked a scoreless first inning on 14 pitches in Wednesday’s game against the Tigers. But that’s all part of the Orioles’ plan, as the club hopes the 24-year-old right-hander can avoid getting shut down early again this season.

“Every year is a little bit different,” said Gausman, who is in his third big league camp. “My first year I wanted to come into camp and show what I had and possibly be an option for later in the year, knowing I wasn’t going to make the team. But pitched well. Last year came to camp, felt I had a good chance of making the rotation and then we signed Ubaldo [Jimenez]. So, it’s one of those things. Every spring is going to be different.

“That’s one thing that’s different this year is they kind of held me back. [The Orioles] told me don’t throw any bullpens before you get to camp. Normally I throw 7 or 8 bullpens before camp.”

Gausman said he tried to approach the one-inning spring debut like a regular start and, overall, was pleased with how he felt. Gausman allowed a leadoff single to Anthony Gose before getting a double play ball. He ended the frame by striking out J.D. Martinez.

In 2014, Gausman threw 113 1/3 innings in the Majors and 45 1/3 in the Minors. He started the season in Triple-A and Baltimore was cautious with his innings early to keep him as an option for the Orioles during the postseason.

Spring Training home opener

After some technical difficulties, the blog is back in business. The Orioles, fresh off a 15-2 loss to the Tigers, will be hosting Detroit today for their home opener at Ed Smith Stadium. Ubaldo Jimenez had his first spring start yesterday and it didn’t go particularly well, as the right-hander struggled with his command at key times. (More on that here.)

*Infielder Paul Janish, who has surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow last month, continues to progress and will take ground balls again today. He will try to throw this weekend and hopes to get into spring games around March 20.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Alejandro De Aza RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters DH
Chris Davis 1B
Delmon Young LF
Manny Machado 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Caleb Joseph C

Kevin Gausman RHP

Spring training news and notes Day 7

Not a whole lot of news out of camp today….

*The Orioles will play just one intrasquad game, manager Buck Showalter said today, and it will be on Sunday at Ed Smith Stadium. As expected, catcher Matt Wieters will be behind the plate but not throw down to second base. The O’s hope to have Wieters’ legs in shape enough that when he is cleared to throw full throttle –on March 17–he can catch between 5-7 innings.

*Everth Cabrera got reps in at second base today and will move to third on Friday. Steve Pearce will be with the outfield group on Friday. Chris Davis could also get some time in the outfield and at third base this spring, Showalter said.

*The plan remains for Wieters, Davis and Manny Machado to get a lot of extra at-bats this spring.

*Showalter said he received a text from Nick Markakis clarifying the outfielder’s quotes in USA Today. Apparently, Markakis explained the context of what he said compared to how it came across in the actual story.

*Ubaldo Jimenez will start the first spring game on Tuesday and the O’s have the first week of pitching mapped out. The way the schedule falls, Jimenez could pitch a lot of games on the road this spring.

Jimenez to pitch spring opener

SARASOTA— Ubaldo Jimenez will start the Orioles first Grapefruit League on Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla. against the Detroit Tigers, manager Buck Showalter announced on Thursday.

“Last year was tough,” said Jimenez who went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in first year of a four-year, $50 million contract with Baltimore. “This is the beginning of 2015 and I’m excited to be part of the first game.”

The way the Orioles schedule lines up, Showalter said that Jimenez could be on the “gray pants schedule” that means he would pitch a lot of road games. The right-hander pitched just once away from Sarasota last spring, but said that doesn’t matter much to him.

“It’s part of the game,” Jimenez said. “This year if that’s how it has to go down ill take it. It’s baseball you have to get ready for everything.”

Jimenez, who has used a more simplified delivery this season, will be watched closely as getting him back on track would be huge for the Orioles. The team also has six starters vying for five spots in the rotation, making it one of the more interesting storylines in camp.

Jones on Markakis: “I know the truth”

It didn’t long this morning when Adam Jones walked in for a media scrum to follow and ask for his reaction to former teammate Nick Markakis’ comments in yesterday’s USA Today. None of this is new from what happened this winter –it was widely reported here and in other places that Baltimore didn’t want to go more than three years because of concerns for his neck on the MRI– but it is interesting that Markakis is still harboring some resentment over it.

“Don’t believe a word they say,” Markakis told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “It was all because of my neck. They can say what they want to make them look good. It’s all B.S.”

Markakis maybe didn’t follow along this winter, but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said several times this winter that the Orioles had some health concerns with a long-term deal for Markakis. Saying he was still dealing with neck issues could have worsened Markakis’ standing in other negotiations and publicly delving further into his MRI results could have been a potential HIPAA violation.

Jones, who was not happy with the news this winter, didn’t fault Markakis for how things went down.

“I know what’s going on,” Jones said Thursday morning. “I know the truth. It’s a move he made for himself. I never fault him for it.”

As for Markakis –who signed a four-yea deal with Atlanta– wanting the Orioles to be more public about the reason they balked at anything longer than a three-year deal, Jones agreed with his friend and former teammate.

“I don’t know what he played with, he never disclosed anything to anybody,” Jones said of Markakis, who took great pride of playing every game. “Check all 750 players something hurts, something is not normal. If that’s the real reason he’s not here I hope someone can man up and say it instead of beating around the bush.”

But Duquette did say it already, including at FanFest.

“It always comes out later,” Jones said. “That’s just how this game is.”

Probably the most surprising part about Wednesday’s article was that the quiet Markakis said anything at all.

“I’m glad he said something because he never says anything,” Jones said of the uncharacteristic outburst. “I’m glad he said something, he should say stuff. He has a lot on his mind, very articulate man, very smart man. He doesn’t say much, but when he does people listen. He’s got peoples attention. That’s why you are all in front of me now.”

Cabrera introduced

SARASOTA, Fla.— New Oriole Everth Cabrera has reached a plea agreement stemming from a resisting arrest charge in September and will be eligible to play in 2015 while on probation. Cabrera, who will wear No. 1, paid a fine and will have to do community service, according to executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

Resolving the issue —which originally had a court date set for April— was vital to adding Cabrera, according to both Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.

“It was a prerequisite,” Showalter said of finalizing the one-year, $2.4 million contract on Wednesday. “That’s why it took as long as it did [after word leaked of an agreement]. It wasn’t going to happen until it did and we felt comfortable with it.”

Cabrera, who was also suspended in 2013’s Biogenesis scandal, is hoping for a fresh start in Baltimore.

“We always learn from, [and I did from] making the mistakes I did,” he said. “I’m fresh. My mind is fresh and I’m ready to move [on]. I’m ready to play baseball and happy to be here.”

The Orioles have a recent history of taking on players with some baggage, including Nelson Cruz last season. Cruz was also implicated and suspended in Biogenesis and flourished on a one-year deal with the O’s.

“You can say the same thing about Delmon [Young]. Almost more so than Nelson,” Showalter said of bring in a player with previous indiscretions into the clubhouse. “That part of it I feel real confident. Already seen a couple things today, you see guys running from field to field…I don’t have a lot to compare it with.

You talk about a clean slate and  open mind that’s what’s going on right now with him.”

Cabrera could see time in the outfield this spring, but not initially. The 28-year-old, who could make another $600,000 in incentives, said it doesn’t matter to him where he plays.

“I’m open to everything,”said Cabrera, who has 99 stolen bases over the past three seasons. “I have a little experience before playing centerfield, right field. I want the opportunity and I want to play.”

Another key component in the Orioles decision was Cabrera’s offseason attention to getting his legs back. Duquette said Cabrera spent the past eight weeks at St. Thomas University working to resolve some of the soft tissue injuries” that resulted in hamstring issues and limited him last season.

“He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s made the All Star team in 2013,” Duquette said of Cabrera. “He can play a premium skilled defensive position. He’s a switch hitter. He’s an outstanding baserunner and a premium base stealer. So, he’s got a lot of assets that could help the ball club and I’m sure we will find some spots to help us win some ballgames.”

Added Showalter: “I’m not going to walk around behind [Cabrera] or browbeat him. I’m going to see if he takes the opportunity he’s given here and run with it.”

Spring training news and notes Day 6

Today was the first full-squad workout and there’s not much newsy to report from that. The players worked on relays and coverage while some of the pitchers threw in the covered batting cages to hitters tracking pitches. The media isn’t allowed in there to see those, so I can’t report on how anyone looked. But manager Buck Showalter said everyone scheduled threw with no physical issues.

*New Oriole Everth Cabrera has reached a plea agreement stemming from a resisting arrest charge in September and is on probation. Cabrera, who will wear No. 1, paid a fine and will have to do community service. Resolving the issue, which originally had a court date set for April, was vital to adding Cabrera, according to both executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.

“It was a prerequisite,” Showalter said. “That’s why it took as long as it did [to finalize the contract]. It wasn’t going to happen until it did and we felt comfortable with it.”

Cabrera could see time in the outfield this spring, but not initially. The 28-year-old said it doesn’t matter to him where he plays.

“I’m open to everything,” Cabrera said. “I have a little experience before playing centerfield, right field. I want the opportunity and I want to play.”

*Chris Davis held court this morning about his therapeutic use exemption, his 25-game suspension and his mindset this spring and you can read that story here.

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