Spring Training Primer: Davis returns; roster getting a little clearer; Tillman starts today - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Davis returns; roster getting a little clearer; Tillman starts today

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? – Chris Tillman starts for the second time this spring. He’ll face the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

In his first Grapefruit League action of 2018, Tillman allowed four runs on three hits in two-plus innings, walking six Minnesota Twins on March 13.

Tillman, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal in February, is expected to be the club’s fourth starter.

** The Orioles are getting closer to shaping their 25-man roster. They optioned left-handed reliever Donnie Hart and catcher Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday.

Manager Buck Showalter said there will be an organizational meeting later this week to talk about finalizing the roster.

“I think everybody is looking forward to getting together and saying, ‘Here’s what we think. Here’s what somebody sees from a distance compared to being right up on top of them,’’’ Showalter said.

** Chris Davis went 1-for-3 and played first base in his first game since March 2. Davis, who was out with a sore right elbow, and catcher Caleb Joseph are going to play in a minor league game today to get additional at-bats.

What’s happened? – Dylan Bundy allowed five runs, four of them earned, on five hits in 5 2/3 innings Sunday against the New York Mets. He became the first Orioles starter to pitch into the sixth inning this spring.

“You can start to [look more into the results] because you’re getting up there in pitches and you’re going like you would on a normal night — going five, six, seven innings,” Bundy said.

“So, you look for results at the end of spring. But I’ve still got another start before we head north, so, obviously, still going to work on some things in the bullpen and be ready to go come April. I mean, March 29.”

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Mark Trumbo, who is out for a minimum three to four weeks with a strained right quad, isn’t going to rush back.

“However long it takes is what it takes,” Trumbo said. “It’s one of these things that can just nag and nag. We’ve got to make sure we get it right. Whatever time frame it is, we’ll deal with (it).”

What’s up with? – Mike Wright Jr. The competition for the fifth starter’s job continues. Wright, Miguel Castro and Nestor Cortes Jr., are all still in the mix.

Wright allowed four runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings Saturday. He allowed three of those runs in the fifth inning.

“Obviously, if I could have stopped after those first four innings, we’d be having a lot different conversation here,” Wright said. “I’m going to be going five or six innings during the season. It’s something to work on. Like some people have the luxury to work on stuff. I do have to get those results in and, hopefully, next time is a little bit better.”

What’s what? – The cuts of Hart and Wynns were interesting.

Hart fell behind non-roster left-handers Josh Edgin and Joely Rodriguez. He hasn’t been as effective as he was in 2016, when he excelled after being recalled from Double-A Bowie.

“I think Donnie just needs to get back to kind of like he was when he first got here,” Showalter said. “Just be a little more aggressive and trust his stuff. … He’s capable of helping us. I expect him to pitch well and get back on the map.”

Wynns impressed with his defense, but he has only eight games of Triple-A experience.

“He needs to get some consistent at-bats and start catching and relax a little bit,” Showalter said.

“I think he felt coming in that [Norfolk] was probably where he was going to go, but you start seeing the way spring training goes. You never know. There’s some things he’s done that aren’t characteristic of how good he can be.”

What’s the word? – “I’ve told a lot of people they’d look good in black and orange as well, trying to get guys over here. It’s just part of the game. You want to put the best team out there on your field, and if I’m a part of this team, I want to bring the best guys over here as much as I can. I want to get a ring as well.” – Shortstop Manny Machado on the controversy over the Yankees’ Aaron Judge “recruiting” him.

What’s the number? – 3. The Orioles have three catchers left in camp: Joseph, Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac. It will be fascinating to see who is chosen to back up Joseph.

Sisco, Susac and Wynns are all on the 40-man roster and can be freely optioned between the Orioles and the minor leagues.

What’s the record? – 13-10-2. Tillman faces 25-year-old right-hander Michael Fulmer today in Lakeland.

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

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. JoeFundo

    March 19, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Uh…”Shortstop Manny Machado.”

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 9:23 am

      That was me. I’m still in Spring Training mode, too. (Hey, it’s been six seasons)

  2. 5brooks5

    March 19, 2018 at 8:26 am

    It,s that kind of mind set,from a potential starting pitcher which blows my mind. Five or six innings, ugh, I thought they played nine inning games. To me a starting pitcher should have the mind set of pitching a complete game and settle for six or seven. Especially one that is fighting for a job. To me if I,m management, I am on the phone with agents looking for another proven starter, I really think that if you only expect mediocrity, your results will be much less!

    • bigdaddydk

      March 19, 2018 at 8:55 am

      There’s not a reason in the world, if the team is going to be competitive, that we don’t extend a competitive offer to Alex Cobb right now.

      I agree with you on pitchers settling for 5 or 6 innings. I remember well the days of pitchers going 7, 8, or more pretty routinely. Those guys were also not as strictly held to pitch counts and they were pitchers in that they didn’t rely on 98mph fastballs 60% of the time. Pitchers don’t have to pitch out of trouble as much anymore either. Instead, they get lifted from jams and we have a parade of relievers to end the jam.

      It’s kind of like the one-inning save. Closers come in and pitch one inning, shut down the other team, and walk off with a save. Goose Gossage used to comment that he’d be ashamed to not pitch two or three innings in relief. He’d come in and throw gas for three innings, see the entire lineup, and get his save. Baseball has become so specialized that it hardly resembles the game many of us grew up with.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 9:30 am

      I get it. And it can be frustrating. But at the same time hitters will tell you it’s much harder to have to face a cavalcade of relievers throwing gas than a starter in the eighth. And stats bear that out. The effectiveness goes down as the pitch counts rise. … Still, we all want starters going seven. They just all throw too many pitches these days.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 19, 2018 at 8:48 am

    I’m with 5Brooks5 on this one …. specifically the attitude that his numbers would have looked a whole lot better if he had been taken out after the 4th inning. What kind of loser rationalization is that?

    So …Mike Wright’s strategy is to “get out while the gettin’s good”? Time to send this clown off to Loserville. Let’s fact it … he’ no Jake Arrietta. And NO …don’t keep in him our pen either. This guy just plain stinks. Million $ arm but a 10¢ head.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am

      My sense is that he’s talking strictly about spring training. And I don’t see the Orioles giving up on him.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

        “Obviously, if I could have stopped after those first four innings, we’d be having a lot different conversation here,” Wright said. Couldn’t be more unambiguous than that.

        However Dan, you are mostly likely correct about the Orioles not giving up on him, but when you keep hoopleheads like this on the staff, the fans will soon be giving up on the Orioles.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Boog: I’m not saying he is Arrieta. But the same was said of Arrieta in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Look at it this way: This will be the last year you should have these questions. He’ll either prove you wrong or be gone.

    • Schwarzstop

      March 19, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Hoopleheads?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm

        HBO Deadwood reference … as in a dope or numbskull …

  4. Dblack2508

    March 19, 2018 at 8:48 am

    It’s only spring training and I will start to worry about Bundy once the season begins. No one is running away for the 5th starter . Still time to sign Cobb!!!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am

      It’s not the time that’s the issue.

  5. Orial

    March 19, 2018 at 9:24 am

    5 inning starters is becoming an MLB epidemic not just O’s. It appears hitters are beginning to be attuned to working counts and fouling pitches. So I’ll cut Bundy some slack though 6 innings would be preferable. Still a mystery as to where Alex Cobb is,not in just O’s eyes but all of baseball’s.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 9:32 am

      That’s a good point. It’s not just the Orioles who haven’t signed Cobb.

  6. 5brooks5

    March 19, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Boog, Thanks… I couldn’t agree more! I played golf years ago, with then Oriole pitching coach, Dick Bosman. Walking off the first tee, I asked him why the difference between Mussina and McDonald in their results… his reply was the “space between his left ear and his right ear”, I feel that’s the problem with Mr. Wright!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Awesome “space between” line from Bosman. I’m going to file that one away!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

      To be fair, we could all be viewed the same way compared to Mussina.

  7. Schwarzstop

    March 19, 2018 at 9:33 am

    And Chris Tillman starts today! What if he sucks again today? I hope he doesn’t but what if? Our four man + ? becomes three man + ?? Makes the organizational meeting significantly less organized!

    I’m sure DD is looking at all the other teams to see what adequate pitcher might be released with the hope he clears waivers so the O’s can swoop in and solve their rotation question marks

    Everyone keeps hoping for Cobb, but I think if he hasn’t come to Baltimore by now, he’s not coming at all.

    Good Luck to Tillman today! I really hope he’s figured it out!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

      I don’t think it’s a matter of Tillman “figuring it out”. I’m afraid the problem is whether or not his shoulder is shot.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 19, 2018 at 11:11 am

      I’d agree on health vs figuring out. I’d also say the worries shouldn’t start until there are terrible performances in-season. It’s not like the options will get worse in April. Except for the Cobb pipe dream of course.

  8. Birdman

    March 19, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I see that Altuve just signed a 5 year $151 million extension with Houston. Example of a team being pro-active to retain a future Hall of Famer.

    Wish O’s had been similarly pro-active with Manny a couple of years ago, and wish they were being pro-active with Schoop now. (And no, I’m not equating Schoop, or even Manny, with Altuve.)

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