News & notes Day 31 (Machado has setback)

The Orioles will take on the Yankees, who are without most of their regulars as the team is playing exhibition games in Panama.

*Third baseman Manny Machado will not make his re-evaluation appointment that was tentatively scheduled for March 18, as he’s been unable to run for the past five days. Machado has been dealing with some scar tissue in his knee, which manager Buck Showalter said was to be expected, and he’s been doing everything else but running. He won’t get checked out again, by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, until he’s able to run and do everything since it will determine if he’s cleared to play in games. While getting at-bats won’t be an issue, Machado could always go to the Minor Leagues, it’s getting tougher to imagine a scenario in which Machado will be ready for March 31′s Opening Day. Showalter wouldn’t publicly rule out him being ready for the season opener, however.

There’s no timetable right now as to when Machado will see ElAttrache, who is based out of Los Angeles. The team is trying to work out a scenario that wouldn’t involve Machado flying to the West Coast for when he’s ready to go see the doctor.

*If Machado does start the season on the disabled list, it could open the door for top prospect Jonathan Schoop –who is having a fantastic spring– make the club at second base with Ryan Flaherty shifting over to third. Alex Gonzalez also has a much better chance at making the team given the injury to Alexi Casilla (see below.) It probably doesn’t give Rule 5 Draft pick Michael Almanzar a better chance since the organization isn’t too high on him at third.

*Nick Markakis is serving at designated hitter today because, as I wrote yesterday, he’s dealing with a little left shoulder tendinitis. Showalter said he wanted to give Markakis another two days with the veteran scheduled to make the team’s trip to Clearwater on Monday.

*David Lough (neck) reported to feeling better today and Showalter said everything went well in his appointment with the neurologist yesterday. Lough will undergo more tests just to be sure.

*Catcher Matt Wieters (ankle) took batting practice yesterday, but said that his ankle is still a little stiff and the team is playing it safe in giving him an extra couple days. The plan is for him to play Monday.

*Alexi Casilla, left knee, is understandably disappointed about missing time with his second spring injury but hoped to play in Sunday’s game. Casilla hyper-extended his knee after suffering the initial injury covering the second base bag on a double play several days ago.

*With Adam Jones slated to fly back today and David Lough dealing with a neck issue, the Orioles outfield is rather interesting today. Nelson Cruz is playing centerfield and has played just three innings at the position, back in 2006.

*Suk-min Yoon is making his Orioles debut and will go one or two innings in today’s game.

*Zach Britton, who Showalter said could be stretched back out, will still go just one inning today. It appears more and more that he will be in the team’s bullpen to start the season.

*Follow along with the Orioles on Facebook for more news and pictures and Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Nelson Cruz CF
Chris Davis 1B
Steve Pearce LF
Delmon Young RF
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Caleb Joseph C
Alex Gonzalez 3B

Chris Tillman RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Austin Romine C
Ramon Flores LF
Mason Williams CF
Kyle Roller DH
Carmen Angelini SS
Francisco Arcia 1B

LHP Vidal Nuno

More on Lough and Casilla, Chen quotes

Orioles outfielder David Lough and infielder Alexi Casilla were both late scratches from Friday’s game, with Lough dealing with a neck issue and Casilla hyperextending his left knee.

“He had an appointment three o’clock to see somebody about it,” manager Showalter said of Lough, who drove back with Casilla to Sarasota. “I don’t sure what’s going on with it, his neck has been stiff, hasn’t felt quite right the last couple days. Decided to not take any chances with it…we wanted to get it looked at so it didn’t linger. Way too early to talk about it, but I know he’s dove a couple times in the outfield, he had that collision over in Fort Myers with the Red Sox. I don’t know.

He wanted to play, he’s not real happy about it.”

As for Casilla, he got hit covering the base on a double play a couple days ago and there was some swelling today and the knee didn’t feel quite right. Casilla was also slowed by a hamstring injury earlier in camp and has played in just three games.

The pair of injuries added to a growing list of issues for the Orioles, who are without catcher Matt Wieters (rolled ankle) and should have Nick Markakis tomorrow, though he’s had a little shoulder tendinitis.

“All of those would have been able to play during the season,” Showalter said. “They had stuff like that all year last year that they played through. There’s no reason to have it turn into something else. None of those are acute things to worry about long term. I’m anxious to see what they say about Cassy and David. I think they during the season they would have played and not been a DL kind of thing.”

****
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen put on a clinic of what spring starts should be, and Showalter pointed it out to reporters post-game. He hit the 60-pitch mark on the nose and allowed one run on three hits over four innings.

“Yeah, I think everything is on pace according to the plan — only maybe some of my off-speed offerings I need to work on for a little bit,” Chen said through his interpreter. “But everything else is in place for getting ready for the opening series.”

“Except for the walk I issued in the second inning, I was overall pretty pleased with my start. But I didn’t have good command on that at-bat. I was upset about that. But except for that, I was pretty pleased.”

News & notes Day 30

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Greetings from Fort Myers, where the Orioles will take on the Twins. Lots of little notes today from manager Buck Showalter’s pre game session…

*Matt Wieters’ ankle is not coming along as quickly as the team had hoped and he won’t play in Saturday’s home game. Showalter said they could push it if it was during the season, but right now they are shooting for Monday.

*Nick Markakis is dealing with some left shoulder tendinitis, but is a go for Saturday’s game. He may just serve at designated hitter.

*Suk-min Yoon will go one or two innings in his Orioles debut on Saturday.

*Alexi Casilla was a late scratch with a hyperextended left knee that he informed the team about when he got here. Jonathan Schoop is playing shortstop in his place.

David Lough was also scratched as a precautionary measure with a stiff neck, with Xavier Paul taking over in left field.

*Zach Britton was originally slated to pitch today but will get one more day rest, as the team stretches him back out a little bit.

*Adam Jones will return from Baltimore, after the birth of his first child earlier this week, on Saturday but probably won’t play until Monday. Sunday’s game is in Dunedin.

*The Orioles announced that Dylan Bundy has has been optioned to Double-A Bowie. It’s really just a paperwork move, as the right-hander will continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

*If you’re on Facebook, you can “like” my page for more photos and stories from the spring. I posted an album today of some of my favorites from camp so far.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Xavier Paul RF
Jemile Weeks 2B
Henry Urrutia LF
Steve Pearce 1B
Steve Clevenger C
Nolan Reimold DH
Jonathan Schoop SA
Quintin Berry CF
Michael Almanzar 3B

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

TWINS LINEUP
Alex Presley CF
Kurt Suzuki C
Joe Mauer 1B
Josh Willingham LF
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Chris Parmelee DH
Darin Mastroianni RF
Eduardo Escobar 2B
Jason Bartlett SS

Mike Pelfrey RHP

News & notes day 29 (updated)

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Greetings from Tampa, where the Orioles will take on the Yankees.

*Adam Jones and his fiancee welcomed a baby boy yesterday in Baltimore and the expectation is he will return to play in Sunday’s game.

*Pitching prospect Mike Wright reported to Minor League camp yesterday has been dealing with right elbow tendinitis, which probably explains why he wasn’t as crisp in camp as the organization had hoped. Wright, who was reassigned on Sunday, allowed a run on three hits and three walks over three innings with a pair of strikeouts. According to MASN.com’s Steve Melewski, Wright pitched two innings in a Triple-A game on Thursday.

*Suk-min Yoon, who had his flight cancelled yesterday from Canada, is on his way back to Tampa today and he will make his Orioles spring debut on Saturday.

*Catcher Matt Wieters said his right ankle feels better today and he’s still shooting to return to the field for Saturday’s home game. Wieters left Tuesday’s game early after suffering a minor sprain rounding the third base bag.

*Manager Buck Showalter said there were 16 scouts in attendance for yesterday’s game (he gets the list) as the Orioles have a lot of out of option players. One of the guys attracting the most attention is lefty pitcher Zach Britton, who has pitched three times in the last week as the club appears set to have him as a bullpen option. Showalter wouldn’t go that far, saying they will continue to get Britton stretched out, although it looks to be a formality in case of injury at this point.

*Wei-Yin Chen will start Friday game’s with Chris Tillman on Saturday and Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday. Brian Matusz and Kevin Gausman will pitch Monday’s day game in Clearwater while Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch Monday night. Bud Norris will throw Wednesday following the off day with Chen and Tillman making the two starts after that.

*Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for additional coverage.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Quintin Berry CF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Henry Urrutia LF
Steve Pearce 1B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Delmon Young DH
Xavier Paul RF
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Caleb Joseph C

Bud Norris RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano LF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Dean Anna 2B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Russ Canzler 1B
Michael Pineda RHP

Jimenez on his outing

Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez was hit hard by a sluggish Phillies offense on Wednesday afternoon.

Dominic Brown hit a bases-clearing triple to right field in the first inning, scoring Ben Revere, Freddy Galvis and Ryan Howard. Galvis delivered his own triple the following frame, scoring Revere again for the Phils fourth run off Jimenez in two innings.

“It was a tough day,” Jimenez said. “The first time I got to pitch from the stretch in a game and it got the best of me. I couldn’t find a good release. When I got from the stretch. And that was after the leadoff guy got on base right away, so it was a little bit tough to get in a good rhythm.”

Making his second start since signing a four-year, $52 million contract with Baltimore, Jimenez allowed four runs on four hits with three walks. He threw 50 pitches in the outing and finished up with 15 more in the bullpen, citing the work put it as a positive on the day.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, in spring training or wherever. You never want to give up runs,” he said. “But this is spring training and that’s where it’s going to stay. There’s nothing you can do about it. I got my work in. You’re never happy to give up runs, but you’re here to get your work done and get your arm ready for the regular season.”

All of Jimenez’s runs were two-out runs. Does that make it even more frustrating for the righty?

“I was probably a pitch away from closing the inning, especially in the first inning with the bases loaded,” he said. “I got two outs. But it happened. I left a pitch high and he got a good swing on it.”

Cal on Hardy, his future and the Orioles

Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. was on hand on Wednesday afternoon to promote his newest children’s book and throw out the ceremonial first pitch, a strike to shortstop J.J. Hardy.

But does one of the most famous shortstops in baseball history see another return to the field?

“The safe answer is to say, I’m very happy doing what I’m doing right now because anything else I say can be pulled in different directions,” Ripken said. :That would be the safe answer. I’ve had success in a couple of business models from the kids models that I’m looking to duplicate around the country, which requires time and planning, but there is a side of me that would like to be able to apply what you know at this level. I have no plans. I have no business strategy. I have no professional baseball strategy whatsoever, but there’s a side of me that feels that way. Does that leave the door open?”

Ripken, who said he’d have to “undo” some of his life to be more present in the Orioles organization also came around for a similar signing last spring and the ball park trips have been a welcome part of the book tour.

“I get a glimpse of what my life used to be like and also stay busy and do some of the things that I like to do as well,” he said. “I feel very comfortable going into Buck [Showalter’s] clubhouse. I sat down with [Alan] Millsy and Scotty Mac [McGregor] and Bordy [Mike Bordick]. In many ways, it feels like old times, which is really cool, and I enjoy that. Spring Training time is a very busy time of the year for me in some of the other businesses that I have going on, so it’s not always as easy to schedule a block of time.”

Ripken said he hadn’t had a chance to really evaluate the Orioles flurry of signings this spring, but he was familiar with the additions of pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Suk-min Yoon and outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

“It’s kind of funny to me, being around Baltimore, that the expectations have risen the last couple of years about this team,” he said. “In the early parts everyone was saying, we hadn’t made any moves, kind of stood pat to improve the team, so there’s an expectation now that there’s a foregone conclusion you’re a competitive playoff team and that you need to improve your team each and every year like everybody else in your division is doing.

So, to see the flurry of moves, Jimenez, I guess he’s on the mound right now. That’s an interesting arm and an interesting addition to the staff because the potential from now is really interesting. And to add a big bat to the lineup, is really interesting. The DH role, managers utilize it in many different ways with many different people. I’m of the opinion that DH is a position in the American League. If you have one person that can handle that, he’s in scoring position when he steps into the batters box. That’s a big plus to have on your team.”

Ripken also praised Hardy for being an exceptional shortstop “without a lot of fan fare” and for being such a consistent presence in the Orioles lineup. With the O’s shortstop in a contract year and the team working toward an extension, would Ripken like to see Hardy remain in Baltimore?

“Well, think about what you have now. You have one of the best shortstops in the league playing shortstop for you every day, being productive. And then you have a young kid next to him [in Manny Machado] that has proved out that he can be considered one of the best third basemen in the league,” Ripken said. “So you have a great left side of the infield. So who wouldn’t want that?

Now having said that if JJ goes down to injury or J.J. ends up moving on, it’s interesting to look at the skills set that Manny Machado brings. And to project him at the position. But I’m not in the inner meetings of Buck Showalter and [executive vice president] Dan Duquette and kind of thinking about what they are doing. I’m saying it from a shortstop’s perspective seeing a skills set that Manny brings and the strength of arm. At some point it would be interesting to see him apply those types of skills to the position of shortstop. But if you had a choice of having those two guys for five, six more years, that’s a pretty good left side of the infield.”

Ripken, who was promoting his book Squeeze Play —the fourth installment of the “Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars” series , also praised the potential of the Orioles lineup.

“You have the nucleus of every day two-way players that is pretty good,” he said. “And you add [Nelson] Cruz to that lineup and the evolution of [Chris] Davis as a premiere power hitter in the League positions you pretty well. And Manny Machado is just going to get better and better and start to learn his skill set and his power. Because he does possess power, as you’ve seen many times. So, potentially this offense has the potential to be one of the better offenses in the League and score a lot of runs. What wins ultimately is your ERA and your pitching. So the potential for this team too to have a deep pitching staff is there as well.”

News & notes day 28 (updated)

*Brock Huntzinger was reassigned to Minor League camp today after an impressive spring campaign. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one run on two hits over 3 2/3 spring innings. He struck out four and didn’t issue a walk in the three outings. He is expected to be part of Triple-A Norfolk’s bullpen and could be an option for the Orioles later this season.

*Suk-min Yoon will return to Orioles camp on Thursday and could make his Orioles debut on Saturday. Yoon has been in Canada working on securing his work visa.

*Matt Wieters is not in the lineup due to a minor right ankle strain that he suffered running the bases yesterday. Wieters said it’s not a big deal, there are no plans for X-rays, and he wouldn’t play in either of the team’s upcoming road games anyhow so it’s really just one extra day off. He will take today off and possibly try to swing the bat on Thursday, with manager Buck Showalter saying the target is Saturday’s home game.

*Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will be here shortly and is slated to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign copies of his new children’s book, Squeeze Play, on the lower concourse beginning at 2 p.m.

Showalter said it’s always exciting to have a guy like Cal in camp and has made it no secret that he’d love to see it become more of a regular thing.

“He’s so busy, we try to get him down here as much as he can,” Showalter said. “He’s the type of guy if he isn’t able to commit for a long period of time he’d rather not, because he doesn’t want to just come in and out as some figurehead…just being around him I’m honored. I know our players like having him around.”
 
Ripken will sign the first 300 books for fans. The visit is part of a national book tour for Squeeze Play, the fourth installment in the New York Times best-selling “Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars” series. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the game for $16.99. Due to time constraints, Ripken will be unable to sign items other than his book.

*Nolan Reimold is playing at designated hitter today and will head over to the Minor League complex to get additional at-bats starting on Thursday.

*Ervin Santana has agreed to one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. MLB.com first reported it was close and the deal –for $14.1 million– was reported this morning and officially takes Santana off the board.

*As a reminder, you can make donations to late public relations director Monica Barlow here: http://events.lungevity.org/site/TR/Events/General?pxfid=41040&fr_id=1030&pg=fund

*Registration is now open for Youth Baseball Day, presented by Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), to be held Sunday, March 23 at Ed Smith Stadium. All youth baseball teams that sign up will receive discounted tickets ($10 each) to the Orioles’ 1:05 p.m. game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and may participate in a pre-game, on-field parade around the warning track.

Players whose teams are not registering may still take part, but players must be in team uniform to participate in the parade. To inquire about registering, email springtix@orioles.com or call 941-893-6300. Registration deadline is March 17.

ORIOLES LINEUP
David Lough CF
Jemile Weeks 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Chris Davis 1B
Nelson Cruz LF
Ryan Flaherty 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Clevenger C
Nolan Reimold DH

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

PHILLIES LINEUP
Ben Revere CF
Freddy Galvis SS
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard DH
Darin Ruf 1B
Domonic Brown LF
Cameron Rupp C
Bobby Abreu RF
Maikel Franco 3B

A.J. Burnett RHP

Wieters exits early, rolls ankle

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters exited Tuesday’s game after rolling his right ankle in the bottom of the fourth inning in Baltimore’s 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

“Just precautionary,” manager Buck Showalter said of the move. “He’s fine, went in and got some ice on it.”

Wieters walked in a run in the fourth and moved to second on a wild pitch, suffering the ankle injury running to third on Ryan Flaherty’s inning-ending groundout. With a home game tomorrow and then a pair of road games, he could get a few days breather just to make sure.

Showalter said there were no plans yet for an X-Ray.

“[Head athletic trainer] Richie [Bancells] said during the season he would have continued to play,” Showalter said. “Just wanted to get some ice on it make sure it doesn’t turn into something worse.”

Gonzalez on his outing

Miguel Gonzalez pitched three innings this afternoon, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk, and said he had no issue coming off of Friday’s game. In that outing, Gonzalez was struck with a liner in the left shin and had to leave the game but he was able to avoid any serious injury.

“I thought it was going to be worse,” Gonzalez said after Tuesday’s outing. “Having to get hit last time and being able to be under control this time was fun to be out there again.

“I felt good throughout all three innings. All I wanted was to be out there and try to throw 45 to 50 pitches and that’s what I did.”

Gonzalez said the pitch he hung to Brock Holt, who hit a solo homer, was a fastball up in the zone and the emphasis for the right-hander –who was also slowed with back spasms– will be to just get his innings up.

News & notes Day 27 (updated twice with cuts)

*The Orioles have reassigned Eddie Gamboa, Chord Phelps and Julio Borbon to Minor League camp.

*The Orioles have agreed to contracts for 2014 with 19 players and renewed Manny Machado. All 19 guys were under team control, with Machado –who said he was disappointed in baseball’s system of contracts for guys with less than three years service time– getting a $100,000 bonus for winning the Platinum Glove.

Guys who agreed to contracts were: Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Johnson, Josh Stinson, Chris Tillman, Mike Belfiore, Tim Berry, Zach Britton, T.J. McFarland, Johnny Monell, Michael Ohlman, Michael Almanzar, Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop, Jemile Weeks, David Lough and Henry Urrutia.

*Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said there has been no progress on extension talks for J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters or Chris Davis and that they visited the idea of an extension for Machado last winter. The team did not have any of those talks with Machado’s camp this offseason as the emphasis is on him getting healthy.

*As for the market for Ervin Santana, Duquette called it “interesting” and alluded to the fact that it was an ongoing process with other teams around baseball getting involved due to various injuries in camp.

*Jonathan Schoop has been making noise in camp, but he’s also impressed inside the Orioles clubhouse and you can read more on the O’s top prospect and his chances of making the club here.

*Nolan Reimold will head to Minor League camp in an effort to get more at-bats, where he will serve at designated hitter only and lead off innings for various affiliates. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he talked to Reimold about doing this yesterday as a way to catch up on him missing a good chunk of the past two seasons, and this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not an outfield option for the Orioles this season.

*Francisco Peguero has been sidelined with a right wrist strain and he’s considered day-to-day right now. Showalter said the issue was made known to him during batting practice on the back fields about four days ago and Peguero will get an MRI on the area in the next couple days.

*Brian Matusz had a pretty bad allergic reaction on Sunday night, going to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, but after resting yesterday he said he would be able to pitch in toddy’s game.

*X-Rays on Xavier Paul’s hand, after being hit in yesterday’s game, were negative and he’s listed as a reserve today.

*Adam Jones is not playing today, as he’s scheduled to fly back to Baltimore this afternoon in advance of his fiancé being induced with the couple’s first child. There’s no timetable for Jones to return following the birth of his son.

ORIOLES LINEUP
David Lough CF
Nick Markakis RF
Nelson Cruz LF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Matt Wieters C
Delmon Young DH
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Alexi Casilla 2B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP

RED SOX LINEUP
Daniel Nava 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
A.J. Pierzynski C
Ryan Lavarnway DH
Corey Brown LF
Alex Hassan RF
Brock Holt 2B
Deven Marrero SS

RHP Allen Webster

Also on the sked to throw: Alex Wilson, RHP Brayan Villarreal, RHP Francisco Cordero, RHP Miguel Celestino, RHP Noe Ramirez.

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