What’s happening: Right-hander Chris Tillman said he felt strong after his Wednesday session on a flat mound. Due to right shoulder soreness, Tillman has been ruled out for Opening Day, which will end his three-year streak of starting the Orioles’ season opener. But he remains on schedule to make his first Grapefruit League start on March 17.
“It went about as well as a first mound can go, I guess,” Tillman said. “It’s a positive. I’ve been feeling good. I didn’t expect anything different. I feel good. I’m sore today, but not the shoulder. Kind of just body sore, getting off the mound, first time in a long time, feels good.”
Non-roster infielder Chris Johnson was hit by a pitch on his right thumb in the seventh inning Thursday afternoon, but afterward said he was fine.
Infielder Ryan Flaherty (shoulder) will be able to play today as will non-roster infielder Paul Janish, who has yet to play after he signed a minor league deal with the Orioles last Saturday.
Michael Bourn, who broke his right ring finger catching a football in a workout, will probably not play any spring games, manager Buck Showalter said. Bourn is expected to be out a minimum of four weeks.
What’s happened: Kevin Gausman, who is likely to replace Tillman as the Opening Day starter April 3, pitched two innings and allowed one run against the Minnesota Twins in the first game of the Orioles’ split-squad doubleheader Thursday.
Gausman acknowledged that Opening Day has been talked about.
“It’s crossed my mind. I didn’t really think about it. The last week, I started having people text me, asking questions about it. I don’t know anything,” Gausman said. “I go out there and get my work in right now, be ready to pitch, whether it’s the first game of the season, or the sixth or the seventh, there’s no way of knowing. Right now, it’s just about preparation.”
Darren O’Day threw a scoreless sixth inning in his first outing of the spring.
The Orioles lost to the New York Yankees 8-1 in Tampa in the second, split-squad game.
Caleb Joseph, who didn’t drive in a run last season, hit a home run in the third inning.
Right-hander Oliver Drake, who is out of options, allowed three runs in an inning, and saw his spring ERA swell to 18.00.
What’s up with: Brian Graham. The Orioles’ Director of Player Development managed the final 1 ½ innings of the Orioles’ 6-6, 10-inning tie with the Twins in Sarasota.
Showalter and his coaches left for the second, split-squad game after 8 ½ innings.
Graham’s base coaches were Dave Anderson, minor league infield coordinator (third), and Norfolk manager Ron Johnson (first). Minor league pitching coordinator John Wasdin served as pitching coach.
What they’re saying: “I think it could happen. It depends on how the next bullpens go. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. I’ve seen some guys that have set dates and haven’t come close to hitting that. I don’t want to get too high or too low.” — Tillman on whether he’ll be ready for a March 17 start.
What’s the number? 3 — The Orioles hit three late home runs in Thursday’s first game. With the Orioles trailing 6-1, minor league infielder David Washington hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning. Joey Rickard hit a solo home run in the ninth, and infield prospect Ryan Mountcastle, smacked a two-run homer to tie the score at 6.
What’s the record? 3-4-1 — In spring training, there can be ties, and the Orioles played their first of the spring in afternoon. They play at Pittsburgh for the third time so far this season on Friday afternoon. Wade Miley will pitch against Gerrit Cole.
Rich Dubroff covers the Orioles for PressBoxOnline.com. You can read his stories here.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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