Spring Training Primer: The evolving roster; Mancini, Rickard make club; what's left? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: The evolving roster; Mancini, Rickard make club; what’s left?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening: The Orioles have made a number of cuts, and now their spring training roster stands at 31. They must get down to 25 by noon Sunday.

Trey Mancini, who had never played the outfield in professional ball until earlier this month, makes the team as a right fielder.

“I knew coming in that it was going to be a tough, tough, uphill battle to get a roster spot on the team,” Mancini, 25, said. “I knew if I took it day-by-day and, mentally, stayed strong when I didn’t have a good game, not freak out or anything, that it would all be OK.”

This time last year, Mancini was preparing to start the season at Double-A Bowie.

Outfielder Joey Rickard, who went north with the Orioles last year as a Rule 5 selection, will be part of his second consecutive Opening Day with the club. The Orioles may also add non-roster outfielder Craig Gentry to the 25-man — depending on what happens with Rule 5 pick Aneury Tavarez.

For now, Vidal Nuno and Tyler Wilson have made the team as relievers. There is one more available spot in the bullpen to begin the season, and it appears to be a battle among Gabriel Ynoa, Jayson Aquino and Oliver Drake.

Three players — lefty Wade Miley, Rule 5 outfielder Anthony Santander and right-hander Chris Tillman — will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list.

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Miley (illness) will start the season’s fifth game on April 9, so the Orioles will have just three starting pitchers until then. Kevin Gausman starts the April 3 opener and will pitch again April 8.

Pedro Alvarez, who is attempting to learn the outfield after a career as a corner infielder, will continue to try and master it at Triple-A Norfolk. He was reassigned to minor league camp along with infielders Robert Andino, Johnny Giavotella and Paul Janish and outfielder Chris Dickerson.

Right-handed pitchers Alec Asher and Logan Verrett were also optioned to Norfolk.

What’s happened: Dylan Bundy, who will start the season’s second game April 5, allowed five runs in six innings. Bundy gave up three home runs, but after Detroit’s James McCann homered to lead off the fourth, the right-hander retired the final nine batters he faced.

“I got through six innings and I was just hoping to get through five,” Bundy said. “Getting through that extra inning was a bonus, and I wanted to get through five innings in at least one outing this spring. And I was able to do that today.”

On Thursday, outfielder Adam Jones played in his first Grapefruit League game since returning from the World Baseball Classic. Jones was 1-for-3 and played eight innings in center.

Mancini started the game in right field while Mark Trumbo started at first base. They alternated positions every inning though the first five.

“It was pretty funny rotating between first and right out there,” Mancini said. “I’ve never done that before. That was interesting, but it was fun. It was cool just bouncing around today.”

What’s up with: Alec Asher. The 25-year-old right-hander was obtained from Philadelphia on Tuesday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

He threw a scoreless seventh in relief of Bundy, striking out one batter and allowing a hit to former Orioles’ Rule 5 draft choice Michael Almanzar.

Showalter said there are several things he learned about Asher in the one inning.

“What his arm action looks like, stuff a little bit, talking to Caleb [Joseph]. Some heavy-run sink, a four-pitch mix that we knew coming in,” Showalter said. “A nice optionable option for us as a starter and a reliever.”

What they’re saying: “A lot of people forget where we were when we started compared to where we are now, so patience was a virtue once more.” — Showalter on many of the team’s moves late in the offseason/early spring helping to shape the roster.

What’s the number? 88 — That’s how many players the Orioles used in their 32 Grapefruit League games. Of the 88, 32 were imports from minor league camp.

What’s the record? 16-14-2 — The Orioles, who lost to the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Thursday, are scheduled to play their Triple-A Norfolk team today at 3:05 p.m. at the Tides’ home, Harbor Park.

Richard Bleier, who was optioned to Norfolk on March 22, will start for the Orioles, and either Joe Gunkel or Zach Stewart will start for the Tides.

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

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