What’s happening: Right-hander Kevin Gausman, who is likely the Orioles’ Opening Day starter with Chris Tillman unavailable, will make his first start of the Grapefruit League season against the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. this afternoon. Tyler Wilson starts against the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla. at 6:35 p.m. tonight in a split-squad contest.
Tillman threw off flat ground for the first time Wednesday, and it reportedly went well. He’s scheduled to make his first spring start March 17. Although the 28-year-old veteran is progressing well, manager Buck Showalter again ruled out Tillman for the season opener.
The Orioles will use a number of players from their minor league camp for Thursday’s games, especially the nightcap. Outfielder DJ Stewart, the Orioles’ No. 1 draft pick in 2015, is expected to play in the game at Tampa.
Showalter said that Hunter Harvey, the Orioles’ No. 1 draft pick in 2013 who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the Twin Lakes minor league complex, could pitch in July, a year after the procedure.
He thinks Harvey’s timetable could mirror Dylan Bundy’s recovery.
“If he follows suit, he’s pitching in July in a competitive game somewhere. He and Dylan got a lot of similarities in their background, even the age when they had it, the timeframe, when the actual surgery took place,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of similarities, but you don’t say, ‘OK, they’re exactly the same.’ They’re two different guys. Harvey’s rehab is going real well over there. They had to really keep the reins on him.”
What’s happened: Bundy pitched two innings and allowed a two-run home run to Boston’s Andrew Benintendi in the Orioles’ 12-5 win over the Red Sox in Sarasota on Wednesday.
He was satisfied with his first outing.
“Just basically to get back out there and knock the nerves out of there. I’m just happy with the way I controlled the fastball,” Bundy said. “I thought I did a decent job of throwing strikes and getting ahead of batters and staying ahead of them. I just threw one pitch right down the middle and he was able to hit it out.”
What’s up with: Chris Dickerson. The 34-year-old outfielder played with the Orioles in 2013, but hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2014. He’s trying for a comeback, and is in excellent shape.
Dickerson had shoulder surgery in 2015, and was out of baseball until he was signed by the Orioles and sent to Bowie in Aug. 2016.
“He’s a piece. He can defend at three positions. He’s made three or four plays down here not many people make already,” Showalter said. “He’s a plus runner. He’s not afraid to go. He still runs well. He’s another depth guy for us, and sometimes those guys work into more of the picture than that.”
What they’re saying: “I just remember when I sat down at MLB Network behind the desk for the first time, I’m watching these games and I’m thinking, ‘This isn’t me. Not yet. I’m 33, 34. This isn’t me. This is a dream of mine to broadcast and be behind the desk, but this isn’t me right now.’”–Dickerson on trying television commentary, but realizing he still wanted to play.
What’s the number? 5-for-11 — Adam Jones, who leaves to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday, had a homer and a two-run single Wednesday. He has five hits: two home runs, two doubles and a single in 11 at-bats.
What’s the record? 3-3 — The Orioles play their only split-squad games of the spring Thursday. Because they have two off days in March instead of the usual one, they have to play a lone split-squad affair instead of the customary two.