Spring Training Primer: Rotation, bench shaking out; Verrett stumbles; Wilson making case - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Rotation, bench shaking out; Verrett stumbles; Wilson making case

What’s happening: Kevin Gausman was chosen, as expected, to be the Orioles’ Opening Day starter next Monday. Once Chris Tillman was ruled out with a sore right shoulder, Gausman was the obvious choice.

Manager Buck Showalter picked Dylan Bundy to start the season’s second game, April 5.

“I had some guys to pick from. I just thought Kevin was best equipped in a lot of different areas,” Showalter said. “Kevin is the guy who can help us put our best foot forward. There are some other guys you could pick from.”

Lefty Wade Miley, who starts today against Atlanta, needs a lengthy performance to show the Orioles that he’s ready for the season. Miley hasn’t pitched in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and was scratched from his March 20th start against Boston with flu-like symptoms.

Showalter said that he has narrowed down the candidates for the fifth starter’s job when the club needs one April 15.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of where we’re going,” Showalter said.

Lefty Jayson Aquino and right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who both pitched well over the weekend, seem to be in the lead.

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Showalter said that major league experience isn’t necessarily a factor in the decision. Tyler Wilson, who started Monday, and Mike Wright have the most starts in the majors.

“I don’t think we’ve got anybody with enough track record to really jump out at you,” Showalter said. “It could be if we had someone like that. You could kind of throw out spring training a little bit. We’re not in that position.”

What’s happened: Wilson, who has an outside chance to be the fifth starter, could come north with the team as its long man in the bullpen.

He allowed one run on three hits in four innings Monday.

“The last couple of outings, I’ve just found my rhythm a little bit more, found my timing and my delivery, and just executed pitches more consistently, and that’s really the name of the game, right?” Wilson said.

Showalter has liked what he’s seen from Wilson, who picked up his third win without a defeat in spring games.

“He’s come on, really the last three or four outings. He’s been solid. Presented himself well again today,” Showalter said Monday. “Pretty good lineup today.”

Boston sent several regulars, including Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez.

Former Orioles’ farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez allowed six runs, four earned, in six innings. Closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a two-run homer to minor league outfielder Cedric Mullins in the eighth.

Outfielder Michael Bourn, who signed a minor league contract with the Orioles on Feb. 20, but broke his right ring finger catching a football on Feb. 24 and never played, exercised the opt-out on his contract. He’s now free to sign with anyone.

So is infielder Chris Johnson, who signed a minor league contract on Feb. 13, and is the son of Norfolk manager Ron Johnson. He was released by the club Monday.

Catcher Chance Sisco was reassigned to minor league camp. The Orioles have 38 players left in spring training.

Rookie outfielder Anthony Santander, a Rule 5 draft choice, is likely to start the season on the 10-day disabled list with elbow soreness.

What’s up with: Logan Verrett. Verrett, who could be competing with Wilson and a few others for a final bullpen spot, had a rough outing, giving up five runs to seven batters in the fifth.

“Just elevated some balls. Command was a challenge for him,” Showalter said.

Before the game, Showalter tried to offer some clarity on the roster.

“We’ve got a couple of spots in the bullpen to figure out. We’ve got about four guys competing for that. A couple of decisions with position players,” he said.

What they’re saying: “Thought I might have a chance obviously with Tilly out. That’s one thing. If Chris is healthy right now it’s his game to start.” — Gausman on Showalter’s choice of him as Opening Day starter.

What’s the number? 3 — That’s how many pitchers the Orioles needed to get through Monday’s fifth inning. Thirteen Boston hitters came to the plate, nine scored.

After Verrett allowed five runs while recording two outs, minor league pitcher Brian Moran, nephew of former Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff, faced four batters, all of whom scored. Bobby Bundy, older brother of Dylan, allowed one hit, but recorded the final out of the interminable inning.

Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon hit two home runs in the inning, one of them a grand slam.

What’s the record? 15-12-2 — The Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at Lake Buena Vista today. Miley starts against Atlanta’s Jaime Garcia. It’s the only meeting of the spring between the teams.

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

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. woody

    March 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

    So what’s your expectations of the rule 5 picks? Looks certain that Santander will be returned – though i’m sure we’ll look at him for a while longer with DL/rehab – hard to see it working at present. Do we lose Tavarez as well? Or do we lose Gentry? Or spell Joey Rickard back to the minors for a while? Or will we DL Smith? IMO it would be a shame to go with the low ceiling of Seth Smith AND Gentry (34 and 33 yrs old) on the 25 and lose a prospect – though it may be most efficient to let Joey start the season in the minors as he’s the only one we can option.

    Any thoughts on that or do you have a wildcard?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 28, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      I think Santander starts on the DL. And I think they really try to keep Tavarez. How? I’m not sure. But Gentry is on a minor-league deal so they wouldn’t have to put him through waivers. But I’m not 100 percent sure about opt-outs with him. And then there is Mancini, who has hit whenever given a shot. But he, like Rickard, has options.

  2. marcshank

    March 29, 2017 at 12:28 am

    I was really disappointed with the Michael Bourne situation. I thought he would eventually contribute significantly to the team, with his bat and his legs. Bad luck all around. I’m sure he’ll find a place to play this year – maybe as a starter. I liked his spunk. We could have used him.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 29, 2017 at 10:09 am

      You know, he’s not fully lost yet. He’s looking around, and if he gets no bites to his liking I’m sure the door is open from O’s side for him to return to the minors and wait his turn. Maybe not, but not dead yet I suppose.

  3. woody

    March 29, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Ah yes that’s right, Gentry is on a minors deal. Ah well – seems that makes it a fair contest between Gentry and Rickard for the last spot – on opening day at least. As for Mancini – let’s have him and Pedro swinging in the minors through April and working on outfield defense. Both worthy of a place on the 25 – we are blessed with hard choices that’s gotta be a good thing. I’m just not sure we needed to resign Trumbo afterall…

    • Dan Connolly

      March 29, 2017 at 10:10 am

      It is interesting. Four guys, three spots. Rickard, Gentry, Tavarez and Mancini.

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