Spring Training Preview: Castro's first start; Cortes' third outing; first base MASH unit - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Preview: Castro’s first start; Cortes’ third outing; first base MASH unit

What’s happening? – Miguel Castro makes his first Grapefruit League start today when the Orioles face the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Castro is battling with Nestor Cortes Jr., and Mike Wright Jr., for the fifth spot in the Orioles’ rotation.

Castro, who was scratched from his scheduled start Feb. 25 due to tendinitis in his knees and a sore lower back, worked two innings against Pittsburgh in a “B” game March 2.

He’s in the mix for the rotation, but also could end up in the bullpen, where he excelled for the Orioles throughout much of 2017. Today will be the first time Castro’s pitching line will “count” in spring training statistics.

** The Orioles suddenly have become a little thin at first base – for now.

Mark Trumbo has a right quad injury, and he’s expected to miss up to a week, manager Buck Showalter said. Trumbo had felt some tightness previously, but aggravated the quad in Tuesday’s game at Fort Myers.

Chris Davis’ sore right elbow continues to progress, Showalter said, but he’s not ready to play.

Because Trumbo and Davis are both out, Trey Mancini started at first base Thursday. Pedro Alvarez, who was the DH, can also play first, as can recently signed Danny Valencia. Garabez Rosa, who was reassigned to minor league camp Sunday, returned Thursday and played first after Mancini left the game.

** Gabriel Ynoa, who is scheduled for a Saturday start, was sent for an MRI because he’s complaining of shin splints.

** Chris Tillman, who has yet to be scheduled for a Grapefruit League start, threw 61 pitches in three innings of a simulated game on the back field at the Ed Smith Stadium complex Thursday.


What’s happened? – Cortes allowed three runs on six hits in three innings in the Orioles’ 9-3 loss to Toronto on Thursday. In three Grapefruit League starts, Cortes has allowed five runs on 11 hits in seven innings for a 6.43 ERA.

“I wasn’t making them hit my pitch and I think that’s what hurt me today,” Cortes said. “Too many pitches left over the plate and too many strikes.”

Showalter has just a few weeks to make a decision on whether to keep the left-handed Rule 5 draft pick.

“You’ve got to be careful about putting too much [emphasis on] spring training, but where he’s concerned that’s kind of what you’re going by,” Showalter said.

Darren O’Day pitched a snappy 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, the only spotless inning for the Orioles.

Mychal Givens allowed two runs, one of them unearned, in the fifth.

** The Orioles reassigned right-handed pitcher Perci Garner to minor league camp. Garner had thrown three perfect innings.

Garner’s departure leaves 51 players in camp, and Showalter said that there would be a few more cuts this morning.

What’s up with? – Joely Rodriguez. One of the main contenders for the situational left-hander’s job, Rodriguez, who was signed to a minor league contract last Nov. 28, has a 1-2 record with 5.40 ERA in 38 games with the Phillies in 2016 and 2017.

This spring, Rodriguez has allowed four hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

“When you look at the track record, and see what you’re seeing here, they’re two different things,” Showalter said. “He’s 26, he’s pitched a lot of baseball. What you’re seeing here so far, it doesn’t really fit the track record.”

What’s what? – Tim Beckham committed his first error of the spring in his ninth game at third base. Toronto’s Jason Leblebijian’s grounder bounced off Beckham’s glove and found its way to Manny Machado. Machado’s throw to first was not in time.

What’s the word? – “I want (him) to, because that’s the way it is up here. This isn’t Instructional League. This is the major leagues, and you’re trying to take people that can help you win baseball games.” — Buck Showalter on whether Cortes realizes he has to impress with each outing.

What’s the number? – 2.That’s how many sons of former Orioles played in Thursday’s game for the Blue Jays. Highly touted prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. had four hits as the designated hitter.

The younger Guerrero, whose father was with the Orioles in 2011, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in January, has yet to play above Class A.

Dwight Smith, Jr., whose father played 28 games for the Orioles in 1994, was hitless in one at-bat.

Toronto’s lineup Thursday featured another son of a former big leaguer. Bo Bichette, whose father, Dante, hit 274 home runs in an excellent big league career, had two hits and drove in two runs. Unlike his father, who was an outfielder, Bo Bichette is a highly regarded shortstop.

What’s the record? — 6-7-1. The Orioles again face Toronto today, but this time they’ll go to Dunedin Stadium. Castro’s opponent will be Marco Estrada.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




  1. Dblack2508

    March 9, 2018 at 8:35 am

    What are the odds both Davis and Trumbo start on the DL? I think between Mancini and Valencia that could be covered.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 9, 2018 at 8:37 am

      I’d say 0 percent both. Neither sounds serious and there are roughly 3 weeks left.

      • Highbeams

        March 9, 2018 at 10:46 am

        Call me the (probably unrealistic) skeptic who thinks that Davis’ and Trumbo’s absences have as much to do with their inabilities to recapture positive grooves of years ago, and management’s impatience with putting those whiffs out there daily. Yeah, I know, but I can hope can’t I?

  2. Bancells Moustache

    March 9, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Castro is definitely the most intriguing guy in camp. The guy LOOKS like a killer on the mound, all arms and legs and there were long relief appearances last year where he was positively filthy. Whether that translates to anything is another story. I’m curious what the outlook for him is. Does his getting a start in spring against an AL East foe portend good or bad things?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 9, 2018 at 9:15 am

      Normally Buck keeps his starting pitchers away from them. But this is different. He wants top competition for his 5th starters. Plus Jays know Castro well anyway.

  3. Orial

    March 9, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Wright is closing in on that 5th spot. No one stepping up. If Tillman isn’t ready by opening day things could get dicey(3 years 12 mill per for Lynn?) It’s ironic and painful to say but the Davis/Trumbo injuries are kinda what was needed to get the flexibility into the lineup. I know,I know the long term plans include them. Still calling out for speed but that may be in vain.

  4. Birdman

    March 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Royals sign Jay for $3 million, and now Mostakas for $5.5 million (plus incentives) — both would have been significant upgrades for the Orioles at low cost – further evidence that the Orioles are not serious about being a playoff contender in 2018.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 9, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      I’ll give them a break on Moustakas. I imagine that is a hometown discount based on familiarity and ties.

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    March 9, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    The Orioles need another veteran starter. I have little confidence in Wright, who seems to be winning the 5th spot. Especially since Cortez has been hit around the last two starts. Also, Tillman is another question mark. I think DD expects a bounce back year from him, which is very questionable. Hopefully the market will continue to drop and allow the Orioles to sign Lynn or Cobb.

    • Jbigle1

      March 11, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      Have to imagine Cortes is almost finished in this competition. There’s really nothing left on the FA market if we don’t sign Cobb. Anibal Sanchez is available now and so is Trevor cahill. Neither is left handed though so you’d have to imagine it’ll be a trade. My guess is we do what we always do. Roll out whatever junk we have for the first half and then make a deal for a backend starter around the deadline.

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