Spring Training Primer: Rotation, bench shaking out; Verrett stumbles; Wilson making case - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Rotation, bench shaking out; Verrett stumbles; Wilson making case

What’s happening: Kevin Gausman was chosen, as expected, to be the Orioles’ Opening Day starter next Monday. Once Chris Tillman was ruled out with a sore right shoulder, Gausman was the obvious choice.

Manager Buck Showalter picked Dylan Bundy to start the season’s second game, April 5.

“I had some guys to pick from. I just thought Kevin was best equipped in a lot of different areas,” Showalter said. “Kevin is the guy who can help us put our best foot forward. There are some other guys you could pick from.”

Lefty Wade Miley, who starts today against Atlanta, needs a lengthy performance to show the Orioles that he’s ready for the season. Miley hasn’t pitched in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and was scratched from his March 20th start against Boston with flu-like symptoms.

Showalter said that he has narrowed down the candidates for the fifth starter’s job when the club needs one April 15.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of where we’re going,” Showalter said.

Lefty Jayson Aquino and right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who both pitched well over the weekend, seem to be in the lead.

Showalter said that major league experience isn’t necessarily a factor in the decision. Tyler Wilson, who started Monday, and Mike Wright have the most starts in the majors.

“I don’t think we’ve got anybody with enough track record to really jump out at you,” Showalter said. “It could be if we had someone like that. You could kind of throw out spring training a little bit. We’re not in that position.”

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What’s happened: Wilson, who has an outside chance to be the fifth starter, could come north with the team as its long man in the bullpen.

He allowed one run on three hits in four innings Monday.

“The last couple of outings, I’ve just found my rhythm a little bit more, found my timing and my delivery, and just executed pitches more consistently, and that’s really the name of the game, right?” Wilson said.

Showalter has liked what he’s seen from Wilson, who picked up his third win without a defeat in spring games.

“He’s come on, really the last three or four outings. He’s been solid. Presented himself well again today,” Showalter said Monday. “Pretty good lineup today.”

Boston sent several regulars, including Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez.

Former Orioles’ farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez allowed six runs, four earned, in six innings. Closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a two-run homer to minor league outfielder Cedric Mullins in the eighth.

Outfielder Michael Bourn, who signed a minor league contract with the Orioles on Feb. 20, but broke his right ring finger catching a football on Feb. 24 and never played, exercised the opt-out on his contract. He’s now free to sign with anyone.

So is infielder Chris Johnson, who signed a minor league contract on Feb. 13, and is the son of Norfolk manager Ron Johnson. He was released by the club Monday.

Catcher Chance Sisco was reassigned to minor league camp. The Orioles have 38 players left in spring training.

Rookie outfielder Anthony Santander, a Rule 5 draft choice, is likely to start the season on the 10-day disabled list with elbow soreness.

What’s up with: Logan Verrett. Verrett, who could be competing with Wilson and a few others for a final bullpen spot, had a rough outing, giving up five runs to seven batters in the fifth.

“Just elevated some balls. Command was a challenge for him,” Showalter said.

Before the game, Showalter tried to offer some clarity on the roster.

“We’ve got a couple of spots in the bullpen to figure out. We’ve got about four guys competing for that. A couple of decisions with position players,” he said.

What they’re saying: “Thought I might have a chance obviously with Tilly out. That’s one thing. If Chris is healthy right now it’s his game to start.” — Gausman on Showalter’s choice of him as Opening Day starter.

What’s the number? 3 — That’s how many pitchers the Orioles needed to get through Monday’s fifth inning. Thirteen Boston hitters came to the plate, nine scored.

After Verrett allowed five runs while recording two outs, minor league pitcher Brian Moran, nephew of former Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff, faced four batters, all of whom scored. Bobby Bundy, older brother of Dylan, allowed one hit, but recorded the final out of the interminable inning.

Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon hit two home runs in the inning, one of them a grand slam.

What’s the record? 15-12-2 — The Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at Lake Buena Vista today. Miley starts against Atlanta’s Jaime Garcia. It’s the only meeting of the spring between the teams.

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

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