Wieters update

SARASOTA, Fla.— Orioles catcher Matt Wieters started at designated hitter again on Tuesday, going back-to-back for the first time this spring as he continues to creep closer to his first start behind the plate

“The thing is getting everything else in shape where nothing else is going to get fatigued,” said Wieters, who is slated to make his catching debut March 17, nine months after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. “Try to keep the arm as strong as possible, as long as possible. And that will be kind of the battle during the beginning of the year, making sure the arm doesn’t get tired and I start using bad throwing mechanics to where I could possibly hurt it again. And that’s the biggest thing, keeping it where it’s strong enough and fresh enough where I feel like I can throw at anytime.”

Wieters has been throwing down to the bases for about a week at 70-80 percent, trying to simulate game situations as much as possible. When March 17 comes, assuming there are no setbacks, he will be able to throw full-throttle down to the bases.

“It’s different with adrenaline when an actual baserunner takes off on you,” he said, “but we are going to cross off as many question marks as we can before the game.”

The All-Star catcher said knowing he was going to be able to serve at DH early on in camp should also help him find his timing. Wieters last played in a Major League game in May.

“I knew that it was going to be, I was going to have the at-bats in Spring Training where it wasn’t going to be, ‘OK I feel like I really need to get going here,’” said Wieters, who is among several guys manager Buck Showalter plans to give plenty of spring playing time to. “It’s a long process and you are always going to want to get hits, I don’t care if you’re hitting BP or in a game. But as far as going out there and making sure I can take full swings, cut it loose and know the elbow is going to be fine, mentally is big for me.”

Webb’s MRI comes back clean

SARASOTA, Fla.— Orioles reliever Ryan Webb had an MRI on his left knee on Monday that came back structurally OK and he’s day-to-day.

“I was playing catch and it kind of came up feeling funny for a second,” Webb said of the injury, which occurred during Sunday’s workout. “I was shaking it out and playing catch, finished doing the PFP drills and I came in and said it felt like I tweaked it. They took a look at it and iced it and iced it for the rest of the day and the swelling came up a little bit. We think I had a reaction to the ice so it swelled more than it should have.”

Webb, who was getting electronic stimulation on the area instead, said he doesn’t have any history with knee issues and was relieved the MRI came back clean.

“I was a little worried there for a second because it swelled up pretty bad, but I was thinking I didn’t do anything bad…couldn’t have been anything too serious,” he said. “It’s a big relief.”

Orioles cut 5

SARASOTA, Fla.— The Orioles trimmed their spring roster by five on Monday afternoon, optioning right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigning infielder Michael Almanzar, catcher Brian Ward and pitchers Dane De La Rosa and Chris Jones to Minor League camp.

With these moves, the Orioles now have 52 players at Major League Spring Training, including 12 non-roster invitees.

De La Rosa never pitched, while Jones appeared twice and allowed one run over 2 2/3 innings. Drake allowed four earned runs over 1 1/3 innings.

Ward went 2-for-4 at the plate while Almanzar went 2-for-5 with a homer.

Webb injures knee

SARASOTA, Fla.— Reliever Ryan Webb injured his left knee during Sunday’s workout and will be sideline at least a few days, according to manager Buck Showalter.

“He’s not real sure how or when he did it, but he’s got swelling,” Showalter said of Webb’s injury which could require X-rays. “He’s going to be down for a while.

”He’ll probably get some pictures on it and see what we’ve got. They’re waiting for one of the doctors to look at it first.”

Webb doesn’t have any history of knee problems according to Showalter and the team is still waiting to officially diagnose the injury and timeframe for his return.

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.

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