Spring Training Primer: Gausman bests Machado; Brach struggles; Bleier considers WBC - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Gausman bests Machado; Brach struggles; Bleier considers WBC


What’s happening: The Orioles get back to normal after their one-day journey into international baseball. Tuesday’s game against Manny Machado, Welington Castillo, Nelson Cruz and the rest of the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic team was delightful for the first seven innings — until pitchers belonging to the Orioles ended up pitching for both sides.

The Dominican team plays the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton on Wednesday, and the Orioles may supply more pitching for that game, too.

Left-handed reliever Richard Bleier is considering pitching for Team Israel in the second round of the WBC. Bleier declined an invitation to pitch in the opening round in Korea because he wanted to concentrate on making the Orioles, but now he could meet the club in Japan.

Team Israel defeated South Korea and Chinese Taipei in the WBC’s first two games in Seoul, and are surprisingly primed to advance.



“Seeing them play makes me want to play as well. It seems like a rewarding experience,” Bleier said.

Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t decided on a leadoff hitter yet. One of the contenders is Hyun Soo Kim, who had a two-run single against a left-handed pitcher, the Dominican Republic’s Enny Romero, on Tuesday.

Kim was 0-for-17 against left-handers in 2016.

Besides Kim, Seth Smith, Joey Rickard and last year’s primary leadoff man, Adam Jones, are being considered for the top spot in the order.

In injury news, right-handed pitcher Logan Ondrusek is out with elbow discomfort after pitching Monday against Detroit. Outfielder Chris Dickerson is out with a right foot injury.

The Orioles made their first cuts of camp Tuesday, optioning outfielder Dariel Alvarez to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigning right-handed pitcher Richard Rodriguez to minor league camp.

What’s happened: Machado went 0-for-2 with a walk against the Orioles in the Dominican Republic’s 5-4 loss. Kevin Gausman, who pitched three hitless innings, retired Machado on a grounder to third in the first inning. Machado flied deep to left field against Logan Verrett in his next at-bat.

Playing third base because Adrian Beltre has yet to join the Dominican Republic, Machado walked versus Brad Brach in the sixth and then left for a pinch runner.

“It was exciting. Just the atmosphere in here, it’s crazy,” Machado said. “A little different than being on the other side, across the field where we play today. So, it was definitely interesting, and I’m excited to see what’s going to come forward.”

Gausman walked Jose Bautista, but his main focus was Machado, whom he also retired in an intrasquad game last month.

“I probably would have heard it a couple of times throughout the season (if Machado had gotten a hit), but he’s 0-for-2 against me right now, so I’m pretty happy,” Gausman said.

What’s up with: Brad Brach. The righty walked four of the six batters he faced and allowed two runners to score in the sixth inning.

“Just missing. Everything was kind of just moving off the plate,” Brach said. “That’s kind of what happens in the spring sometimes when my location isn’t exactly there.”

What they’re saying: “He’s got me, but he’s our ace. He’s the guy, he’s supposed to get me out, I was just trying to cut him some slack there a little bit.”– Machado on Gausman.

What’s the number? 4,171 — That was the attendance at Ed Smith Stadium for the Orioles’ game against the Dominican Republic. It’s a shame so few fans showed up for what was a high-quality exhibition game. A few thousand more will attend the Orioles’ game against Toronto on Wednesday, even though the Blue Jays’ lineup will be lacking the star power of the Dominican team.

What’s the record? 6-5-1 — The game against the Dominican Republic didn’t count in the Grapefruit League standings, so the Orioles’ record is unchanged. They’ll face Toronto this afternoon in Sarasota with Wade Miley pitching against Mat Latos.

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



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