Spring Training Primer: Cashner throws bullpen session; games looming; backup backstops - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Cashner throws bullpen session; games looming; backup backstops

What’s happening – As the Orioles wait for Chris Tillman’s signing to become official, manager Buck Showalter watched his newest starter, Andrew Cashner, throw his first bullpen Tuesday.

Cashner’s work was viewed by fellow starters Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman as well as pitching coach Roger McDowell. Showalter said that the 31-year-old Cashner won’t be scheduled for a Grapefruit League start until he throws a couple bullpen sessions.

“He’s pitched well against us and you’re always kind of curious of completely why, because you’re not allowed to stand behind him during games or while he’s warming up, but you can see why,” Showalter said.

“We do a sheet on the pitcher we’re facing that night, percentage of pitches thrown, a lot of facts and different stuff, holding runners and all the stuff. It’s a lot of information and I gave it to him yesterday. I said, ‘Tell me if we were off,’ and he said, ‘No, you all were right on it.’ He said, ‘How did I stick it up your butts?’ I said, ‘It’s a great example of, you can know what a guy’s doing or is going to try to do, and if they can execute it, it doesn’t really matter.”

Because Tillman’s signing hadn’t been made official, he couldn’t work out with the team on the second day of full-squad drills. He was at the facility, but wasn’t in the clubhouse during the time it was open to the media.

Once Tillman is signed, a player must be dropped from the 40-man roster, which is currently full.

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** The Orioles will play a four-inning intrasquad game Thursday, and their first Grapefruit League contest is Friday against Tampa Bay.

** Catcher Andrew Susac was released from the hospital. He was diagnosed with a staph infection and will spend the next few days at home, Showalter said.

Something to think about – Susac’s illness has put him behind in the jockeying to back up starting catcher Caleb Joseph.

Besides Susac, who was acquired from Milwaukee on Feb. 2, the Orioles have rookies Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns on the 40-man roster.

It appears the Orioles would like Sisco to start the season at Triple-A Norfolk to get him additional defensive experience even though he’s a left-handed hitter, something the club is short on.

Wynns is a highly thought of defensive catcher, but he’s yet to play above Double-A Bowie. Also in camp is Audry Perez, who’s played for the Tides and Bowie the last three seasons, but Perez isn’t on the major league roster.

Over the last two days, the Orioles have brought several minor league catchers into camp due to Susac’s absence.

The only backstops remaining on the free agent market have substantial big league experience and are out of the Orioles’ price range.

A name to consider – Luis Sardinas is one of several candidates for the Orioles’ utility infielder spot. He was acquired last May from San Diego and spent the rest of the season at Norfolk.

“I think this organization wants to win,” Sardinas said through a translator. “They’re very active, transaction-wise, adding players, trying to make the team better, and making the playoffs, eventually winning the World Series.”

The 24-year-old switch-hitter, who has played second, third and shortstop, is a .229 hitter in parts of six seasons with the Padres, Rangers, Mariners and Brewers.

What they are saying — “I’m definitely excited to get it going. I think people have got a lot to look forward to. Whoever is doubting me at third base, I think they’ve got a lot to look forward to. I’m ready to get out there and play some ball.” — Tim Beckham on his transition from shortstop to third base.

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