What’s happening: The Orioles play the Dominican Republic’s entry in the World Baseball Classic this afternoon. Kevin Gausman pitches for the Orioles and he’ll face a star-studded lineup featuring his teammates Manny Machado and Welington Castillo, and former teammate Nelson Cruz, among others.
Showalter isn’t worried about the Orioles being overly excited because they’re playing what, in effect, is a major league All-Star team in the 12th game of spring training.
“I’m actually looking forward to it, because during the spring you need little pick-me-ups a little bit. It’s a really good team,” Showalter said.
With Castillo gone, the Orioles have added minor league catcher Austin Wynns to major league camp. Wynns initially received an invitation, but was shelved after suffering an ankle injury in winter ball. He caught Logan Ondrusek in the ninth inning of Monday’s game.
Former Orioles first baseman/outfielder Christian Walker, who was lost on waivers to Atlanta on Feb. 25, was claimed on waivers by Cincinnati on Monday. Walker was 2-for-16 (.125) with a home run and two RBIs for the Braves.
What’s happened: Dylan Bundy threw three scoreless innings Monday in the Orioles’ 7-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. What was most impressive was that Bundy had to sit while the Orioles scored six runs in the top of the third, and he pitched a scoreless inning after a long delay.
Last August against Chicago, the Orioles scored 10 runs in the first three innings for Bundy in a game in which Manny Machado hit three home runs. This one reminded the right-hander of that game.
“You’ve just got to stay focused and try to throw some more pitches in warmups. Get out there quick after the half-inning and throw a lot more pitches during warmup,” Bundy said.
After pitching a scoreless sixth inning, Mychal Givens left to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. Givens allowed one run in four innings this spring.
“I’m going to miss the guys, but I’m still going to work my butt off to bring back a Gold Medal,” Givens said.
As Givens departed, Showalter grew wistful.
“We lost Mike today, saying his goodbyes in the dugout. It’s a little tough, seeing those guys walk out the door and say goodbye. That’s not fun,” Showalter said. “The good part is, I’m looking forward to the hello part of it, good to see you again.”
Adam Jones, who did not play Monday, also has left for Team USA.
What’s up with: J.J. Hardy. The starting shortstop has yet to play this spring because of back spasms, and he hopes to play soon. Originally, Showalter had targeted March 10 as a likely debut for Hardy, but it will probably be a few days later.
“I think they’re going to obviously take it a little slow. I haven’t hit on the field, stuff like that, but my back is all better and now it’s just a matter of progressing baseball-wise, and not being stupid and rushing it too much,” Hardy said.
What they’re saying: “My back feels fine. It’s basically I haven’t done anything for five weeks, so everything I did this offseason has been kind of washed out. So, I’m just getting back into shape.”– Hardy on his health.
What’s the number? 35 — That’s how many minutes the top of the third took. Two Tigers pitchers, Mike Pelfrey and Dustin Molleken, exhausted their pitch count during the interminable inning.
What’s the record? 6-5-1 — The Orioles have won three straight and have allowed four runs in the three games.
“I’m just trying to get to the end game,” Showalter said. “I would have taken where we are physically, and everything we needed to accomplish early. We’re where we need to be.”