Spring Training Primer: Fifth-starter redux; Buck on Frohwirth's passing; Crichton thriving - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Fifth-starter redux; Buck on Frohwirth’s passing; Crichton thriving

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening: The jockeying for the Orioles’ fifth starter job continues. Over the weekend, right-hander Gabriel Ynoa and left-hander Jayson Aquino made their cases.

Ynoa became the second starter to complete five innings, allowing just one hit against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night, and Aquino gave up one run on three hits in four innings when he faced the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

One of the five candidates, left-hander Chris Lee, was sent to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday.

Lee had a rough start Wednesday, and was pulled after two innings.

Manager Buck Showalter refused to remove Lee from consideration for the fifth starter’s role, though, since that spot won’t be needed immediately and, therefore, the competition’s winner won’t necessarily break with the club.

“He still might be,” Showalter said of Lee as a candidate. “(Just because) we send (them) down, doesn’t mean they’re not our fifth starter.”

After Sunday’s 2-1 win, Showalter was more emphatic.

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“Our fifth starter is going down, but someone is going to have to come back up,” Showalter said.

Mike Wright, who is the most experienced candidate, had a horrible second inning Friday night against the Twins, when he allowed five runs on six hits. There wasn’t a third inning for Wright.

Another candidate, Tyler Wilson, starts today against Boston.

Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop and Welington Castillo all played Saturday night for the first time since returning from the World Baseball Classic.

Adam Jones, who also returned, didn’t play over the weekend, and isn’t scheduled to play Monday. Showalter said that he may not play until Thursday, the Orioles’ final Grapefruit League game.

Chris Tillman threw for the first time Sunday since his March 15 cortisone shot. Showalter said it went well, and he expected Tillman to throw again Tuesday.

What’s happened: Todd Frohwirth, a submarining relief pitcher with the Orioles from 1991-93 and a scout since 2003, died Sunday at age 54 after a lengthy bout with cancer.

While scouting for the organization, Frohwirth taught fellow sidearmer Darren O’Day a changeup.

“A special member of the Oriole family,” Showalter said of Frohwirth. “One of our best scouts, and a great human being. He’s been a big contributor here.”

Chance Sisco caught the entire game Sunday and continues to intrigue Showalter with his defense.

“We all know that Chance has a chance to hit up here, no pun intended, but the thing that’s been impressive are the strides he’s made throwing,” Showalter said.

Seth Smith, who hadn’t played since March 8 due to a right hamstring strain, returned to the lineup Saturday and the left-hander had two opposite-field hits against left-handed pitching. Previously, Smith was 1-for-11 in Grapefruit League games.

Ryan Flaherty, who last played March 13 due to a sore right shoulder, returned Friday.

Outfielder Chris Dickerson (right shoulder) hasn’t played since March 20, but should play today, Showalter said.

Michael Bourn (right ring finger fracture) was re-examined, and he still is wearing a splint. He’s not expected to resume baseball activities for several weeks.

What’s up with: Stefan Crichton. Showalter has been impressed with the 25-year-old right-hander, who has been regularly been brought over from minor league camp for impromptu appearances.

In his first six outings, Crichton pitched six scoreless innings, allowing four hits.

On Sunday, Crichton was scheduled for the sixth inning and was told the night before that’d he pitching in the game. He responded with a perfect sixth, striking out one.

“That was the whole idea with [pitching coach Roger McDowell]. Get in there before the ninth inning and know a day in advance that he’s going to pitch,” Showalter said. “It’s good to see for us the same guy showed up.”

What they’re saying: “Pretty cool catch, pretty great moment. Sorry it had to be my boy Manny, but it’s part of the game, part of that process.” — Jones on robbing Machado of a home run in Team USA’s win over the Dominican Republic in the WBC’s second round.

What’s the number? 5 – Outfielder Craig Gentry stole second and third in the first inning Sunday, his fourth and fifth steals of the spring. In the 2016 regular season, Joey Rickard led the Orioles with four steals.

What’s the record? 15-11-2 — With four Grapefruit League games remaining, the Orioles have guaranteed they won’t leave Florida with a losing record. There’s also a game scheduled Friday in Norfolk with their Triple-A team.

Rich Dubroff covers the Orioles for PressBoxOnline.com. You can read his stories here.

 

 

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