What’s happening? – Andrew Cashner, who has thrown two simulated games, will make his official Grapefruit League debut Sunday when the Orioles host the Phillies.
Manager Buck Showalter has tried to keep his starting pitchers and a few of his top relievers away from American League East opponents as well as the Minnesota Twins, whom the Orioles open the season against.
Besides Cashner, Chris Tillman has yet to pitch in a Grapefruit League game, and Dylan Bundy threw a four-inning simulated game on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex Wednesday.
Bundy’s turn would have come against the Rays, but Mike Wright Jr., started instead.
It doesn’t bother Cashner, who didn’t sign until Feb. 15 — two days after spring training began –that Showalter is employing this strategy.
“No, cause this is by design. I think this has been a thought-out schedule,” Cashner said. “I sat down with them and went over it. For me, it’s, ‘Give the opportunity to those young guys and let me work on stuff that I need to work on for the season. And let me get ready.’”
** Chris Davis, who hasn’t played since last Friday with a sore right elbow, remains out for the time being. “It will be a little while,” Showalter said.
** Zach Britton is making good progress in his rehabilitation from his late December surgery for a torn right Achilles tendon.
Britton, who is on the 60-day disabled list, was originally forecast to be out for six months, but he hopes to return sooner. Showalter insists the Orioles must get his rehab correct.
“The setbacks for this are not a two- or three-day setback,” Showalter said. “That’s what we can’t have. …That’s a month longer. We can’t have that.”
What’s happened? – Wright allowed one run on two hits in the Orioles’ 7-2 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday. He walked one and struck out three. In his three starts, Wright has allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings for a 2.57 ERA.
Two years ago, Wright made the Orioles’ starting rotation, and he’s trying to do it again.
“I definitely feel a very similar vibe,” Wright said. “I’ve put a lot of work in. I’m sure that offseason was the hardest offseason I’ve worked, and this one was even harder. I came into camp feeling good, and, so far, the results are pretty solid, and that’s what I’m going to continue to try and do.”
The Orioles’ only roster move of the day was optioning right-hander Jesus Liranzo to Double-A Bowie. There are 52 players in camp, and Showalter expects additional roster moves in the next few days.
What’s up with? – Austin Wynns. Wynns got a start behind the plate Wednesday as he jockeys with fellow rookie Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac for the backup spot to Caleb Joseph.
Wynns was 1-for-2 and is hitting .222 with a home run.
“All of us have a shot, a great shot,” Wynns said. “What makes me stand out is being who I am. What I try to do is lead with defense, that’s win the game, win the day, and I have to do that every day. That’s my job. I have to bring the same mentality every day and not change.”
What’s what? – The Orioles still have 27 pitchers in camp. They began with 37, and 10 of the 14 squad cuts have been pitchers.
What’s the word? – “Through the years we’ve had so much familiarity with it, I’m not going lend any more to it — if I can help it. With the people we have and their experience level, the games that are being played. … they’ll be getting a lot of reps. Most of them will have three “A” games under their belt, so it will work out.” — Buck Showalter on his shielding strategy.
What’s the number? — .444. That’s Danny Valencia’s spring average. Since the Orioles signed him to a minor league contract on Saturday, Valencia is 4-for-9 with a home run and four RBIs. Valencia was 2-for-3 on Wednesday with two doubles and three RBIs.
“He’s showing he has a track record of doing things,” Showalter said. “He’s more than just a guy against left-handers and he gives you some options around the infield and the outfield. He’s a veteran proven hitter.”
What’s the record? — 6-6-1. The Orioles are at home today to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Nestor Cortes Jr., pitches against Aaron Sanchez.