What’s happening: Fans get excited about Opening Day. They get excited about spring training. However, the Orioles’ spring opener in Lakeland, Fla. against the Detroit Tigers this afternoon in the renovated Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium will be a quiet affair for the Orioles. It’s not on either television or radio.
Manager Buck Showalter will take few recognizable names. Utility infielder Ryan Flaherty and reserve catcher Caleb Joseph are likely to go, but the big guys will wait until Saturday or Sunday to play. Right-hander Tyler Wilson, trying to win a spot on the team as a reliever, gets today’s start.
Gabriel Ynoa, acquired from the New York Mets two weeks ago, starts Saturday at Bradenton, Fla., against Pittsburgh, and Wade Miley will start the home opener in Sarasota on Sunday against the Pirates.
What’s happened: After a scoreless, six-inning tie in Tuesday’s intrasquad game, Manny Machado and Welington Castillo hit back-to-back home runs in Thursday’s intrasquad contest. Machado’s was a two-run shot.
Ubaldo Jimenez and Kevin Gausman started. Brad Brach, Dylan Bundy and Darren O’Day all pitched. Jimenez threw a 1-2-3-4 first inning.
How is that possible? Jimenez retired his first three batters so quickly that manager Buck Showalter forced Jimenez to face a fourth, infielder Chris Johnson, who struck out. Four outs in one inning – the beauty of spring intrasquad games.
What’s up with: Vidal Nuno. The Orioles’ new lefty allowed all three of the runs scored in Thursday’s 4 ½-inning game. Adam Jones’ singled in the bottom of the third, and Machado and Castillo followed with homers.
Nuno, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday for minor league pitcher Ryan Moseley, recorded two outs. But Showalter unilaterally ended the inning because the left-hander reached his pitch count.
“Today was one of those days. A little wind blowing out. I don’t put much stock into it at all,” Showalter said about Nuno’s 19-pitch inning.
What they’re saying: “There are challenges with the schedule and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved.” — Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, who was dismissive of the possibility that major leaguers could play in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Clark was in Sarasota on Thursday to meet with the Orioles’ players in his annual tour of spring camps.
What’s the number? 12 — That’s the number of games the Orioles were winless in last spring training before they recorded a victory. They were 0-10-2 when they won on March 12. It was the longest winless streak in spring training since the 2009 Houston Astros failed to win in 19 games.