What’s happening – The Orioles play their Grapefruit League opener today against the Tampa Bay Rays. Mike Wright will be the starter. He’ll be followed by Chris Lee, Jeff Ferrell, Donnie Hart, Joely Rodriguez, Jimmy Yacabonis and Pedro Araujo.
The Orioles played their lone intrasquad game of spring training Thursday. Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph were the only two projected regulars to appear in the four-inning game.
Manager Buck Showalter wants to get as many looks at Beckham playing third base as possible. He’s scheduled to play in both today’s game and Saturday’s night game. The Orioles play a split-squad Saturday. They’ll face the Phillies in Clearwater at 1:05 p.m. before hosting the Twins at 6:05 p.m.
“It’s still the infield,” Showalter told Beckham about his transition from third base to shortstop. “The ball may get to you a little quicker. You’re going to have more time to throw. It’s adjusting the clock.”
** Andrew Susac was back in the clubhouse after missing three days with a staph infection. He was on the disabled list three times last year, and has had injury issues in his career.
“I try to be positive with everything. At the same time, this is three years in a row now,” Susac said. “If I had spring training in the batting cages back home, I’d be all right. And then I come here, and it seems like the first week of spring, someone’s (like), ‘No, you aren’t playing.’
“Luckily this is not going to be a thing that’s going to keep me out too long. I’m glad (it’s) now versus like last year when it was in the middle of games and you’re missing a big chunk of games. Hopefully I’ll be back the next couple of days here in full action.”
Something to think about – Wright is out of options, and after working longer than usual with Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson in Southern California this offseason, the Orioles hope to see an improved pitcher.
Wright is now 28, and if the team tries to expose him to waivers, he’ll possibly be claimed by another club.
For now, he’s a contender for the fifth starter’s spot, but last season all 13 of his appearances with the Orioles were in the bullpen.
Miguel Castro may be his principal competitor for the fifth starter. The Orioles are trying to convert Castro from a reliever to big league starter.
A name to consider – Garabez Rosa has been in the Orioles organization since 2007, and he’s finally been officially invited to spring training. The 28-year-old utility player has played 590 games for Bowie, most in team history. Last year, he hit .310 with 14 home runs and 91 RBIs for the Baysox.
“It’s been a great experience in Bowie,” Rosa said through a translator. “Obviously, breaking the record, having the record for most games played, is something I’m humble about. Hopefully, I don’t get to go [to Bowie] this time around.”
Rosa has just 24 games of Triple-A experience, and none in the major leagues. It can be frustrating for him to be so close geographically to Baltimore, but so far away baseball-wise.
“It is a difficult thing to handle,” Rosa said. “[It’s in] your mind to be in the big leagues at some point, and you’re there so close. But I’ll just try to concentrate on the things that I can control.”
What they are saying — “I’ve played a lot of baseball in my day. I’ve played a lot of baseball since I was a little bitty and I’ve got three kids. My wife was pregnant last year, so a lot was going on. I had a lot going on at the house. Just felt that I needed a little break. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, so I got back to working out and mentally I feel good. I feel like I still have a little bit left to give to the game and show the game some respect and go out in a good way.”– Colby Rasmus, who signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Wednesday, on why he left the Tampa Bay Rays last season.