Spring Training Primer: Bundy throws five innings; Tillman to debut versus Lynn; Mountcastle, Stewart, Asher sent out - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Bundy throws five innings; Tillman to debut versus Lynn; Mountcastle, Stewart, Asher sent out

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? – Chris Tillman makes his Grapefruit League debut today when the Orioles travel to Fort Myers, Fla., to play the Minnesota Twins. Tillman has pitched in two simulated games.

Tillman, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Orioles last month, will face Lance Lynn, who officially signed a one-year, $12 million contract with Minnesota on Monday. Lynn replaces Jake Odorizzi, who was originally scheduled to start.

Mark Trumbo, who hasn’t played since March 6 with a strained right quad, will be the Orioles’ designated hitter on Wednesday.

Left-handed reliever Josh Edgin returned to the club Monday after his wife gave birth to their third child, a boy. He’s scheduled to pitch today.

What’s happened? – Dylan Bundy became the first Orioles starter to complete five innings, allowing a run on seven hits in the Orioles’ 8-5 win over Pittsburgh.

“It was real windy today, and [when] I was out of the stretch, it was pretty tough to not flinch out there,” Bundy said. “I felt great though, 84 pitches. Kind of in a good way, it’s good to throw that many pitches even though it’s only five innings.”

Manager Buck Showalter was impressed by Bundy’s outing.

“He’s just been solid. Go gets some more velocity when he needs it,” Showalter said. “All of his pitches were available to him today. He’s had a feel for all of them. In those first two innings, a lot of pitchers would have given up three, four, five runs. He gave up one.”

Originally, Showalter wanted Bundy and Mike Wright, who is competing for the fifth starter’s job, to pitch all nine innings, but he decided Brad Brach needed to pitch, too.

Wright allowed two runs in three innings and Brach gave up two runs in his lone inning, the sixth.

** The Orioles optioned right-hander Alec Asher to Triple-A Norfolk while reassigning two of their top prospects, infielder Ryan Mountcastle and outfielder DJ Stewart, to minor league camp.

Asher was acquired late last spring training and had some initial success relieving and starting. But only three of his 24 Orioles’ appearances came in the second half of 2017.

Mountcastle showed off some power, hitting a long three-run home run to right-center on Sunday, but his work at third base was shaky. He took fly balls in the outfield in practice but was never used there in a game.

Stewart played mostly left field, but he received a handful of looks in right later in camp. He hit only .211 in 13 games.

The camp roster is now at 45.

What’s up with? – Zach Britton. While Britton has been rehabbing after his surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon, he’s taken to mentoring young lefty Tanner Scott.

“I’ve helped him out as much as I can,” Britton said. “Watch his outings for him since I’m not pitching, so I have more time to watch some video and help him if there’s anything he’s feeling.

“So far he’s been throwing great. It’s been fun to watch his transition. Big difference from where he was in September with us to where he is now.”

What’s what? – Stewart hit .211 and showed no power in 13 games this spring. But the former first-rounder, who had a solid season for Double-A Bowie in 2017, needs his work to be evaluated in its entirety, and not in small samples, Showalter said.

“He walks, he doesn’t strike out, he’s got some pop and he’s not going to clog the bases up,” he said. “The whole piece is pretty good. If it’s just one area, you might say it was OK, and you’re looking for a little more. He’s a guy that, at the end of the season, the Double-A manager, said, ‘This guy had a really good year.”

It will be interesting to see if Stewart is returned to the Baysox or, perhaps more likely, begins the season at Triple-A Norfolk.

What’s the word? – “I noticed last year the whole season you walked 17 times. What’s that all about? He starts laughing, and I said, ‘Understand, Ryan this won’t work … if I look down there and you’ve walked 17 times this year, you’re going to go back to that level. … You’re walking 17 times in the big leagues, it don’t work” — Buck Showalter on trying to get Mountcastle to be more selective at the plate.

What’s the number? — 6. The Orioles have used six different leadoff batters in Grapefruit League games. Showalter used Austin Hays at leadoff Monday in order to give him additional at-bats.

He did the same thing with Chris Davis on March 2, the last game Davis played before he was sidelined with a sore right elbow.

Tim Beckham, Craig Gentry, Alex Presley and Colby Rasmus have also led off this spring.

What’s the record? — 10-8-1. The Orioles have won four straight. They’ll play the Twins in Fort Myers today at 1:05 p.m.

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

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Orial

    March 13, 2018 at 9:42 am

    It appears Peter has closed his checkbook. I’m at peace with that. There are reasons for optimism–pitching HAS to be better,Trumbo/Davis HAVE to be better,impressive prospects. BUT that damn AL East. 75-85 wins.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 10:52 am

      Agreed. The East makes a difference in everything they must do.

  2. Dblack2508

    March 13, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I agree with your assessment on the win total, I told my wife last night 73 to 80 based on this lineup. It seems like the MO for alot of the position prospects is to swing away. Going forward IMO they need to change the culture in the minor league on getting on base.

    • Dpsmith22

      March 13, 2018 at 10:45 am

      When they had opportunities to alter the culture some and bring in OBP type players to replace others, they didn’t do it. They acquired guys like Beckham and Rasmus. Resigned guys like Trumbo.

      I would think more like 74-75 wins and 4th place. Sad considering the young talent we had. The front office/ownership failed and failed badly. Macphail set it up and they let it fall.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 10:56 am

      OK. I understand they did not reach a World Series or win one. And that’s the ultimate goal. But to say they failed is way too simplistic. They made the playoffs three times, one a division once, got to the ALCS once — a step from the World Series. That’s not failure. Not in an overall scheme. Yes, that’s still failing to win it all. And that’s important. But there needs to be a little perspective.

      • Dpsmith22

        March 13, 2018 at 12:07 pm

        My perspective is that yes, with unsustainable rotation production, they made the ALCS. Then, knocking on the door, you allow your roster to look FAR worse on paper, in 15′ and you get the expected result. Since Duquette arrived, instead of bringing in real talent into the organization, the front office has chosen to attempt to fill holes with AAAA guys, stop gaps, Rule 5 guys, and never-were’s. Guess what happened, we got the expected result.

        Example; Teams that really want to win, do not bring in guys from Korea, with the expectation of them making REAL contributions, to their club. Especially with scouting reports AND the fact that very few players from Korea, make the adjustment. As a 4th OF sure, as the heavy side of a platoon, NO.

        This organization has failed to REALLY go for it. They have gone to the edge of contention, looked down, and turned back. Window closed.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      I’m stuck on failed and failed badly. Not buying that.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 13, 2018 at 11:17 am

    C’mon guys ….. 73 to 75 wins … really? I expect it our of Mr. Connolly (he’s not a fan after all) but when everybody else is making lowball predictions like this, that’s exactly when this team will shock the division. (remember 2014?) I’m personally not going predict anything at this point, but ya know … there’s a reason they play 162. This is baseball … stuff happens. If you can’t see the bright side of things in March, then ya’ll might as well move on and start bemoaning your sorry Ravens.

    What the heck … I’ll counter all your doomsday predictions and say the O’s win 92 in ’18.

    • Ben1

      March 13, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      While I hope you are right, methinks closer to 73 than 93

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Boog is the greatest.

  4. TxBirdFan

    March 13, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I’m with Boog’s optimistic view. Hope springs eternal and there’s no reason to be down on the current roster as they prep for the new season. After all – we just won 4 in a row which could be the new normal! Either that or they are peaking too soon!

    Today’s game will be interesting. The $3m FA vs the $12m FA.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Didn’t go so well for the $3M. But it means nothing. Or little anyway.

  5. Mr Will

    March 13, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    It is so good to see that Tillman has not changed from last year. DD and the Os hoped NOT TO SPEND MONEY and took Cashner (an upgrade for sure) and then nothing..I’m certain DD expected Tillman and a Rule 5 guy or Mike Wright to do well. The Os are doomed to finish last again with not enough pitching.
    There is still time…seems like they botched the Lance Lynn deal and what is left except for a desperate team to overspend to get anything resembling decency. I only hope Buck (who I think is best) will not alibi for Tillman saying he was crisp!
    See where Wright (3B for Mets) is out for some time…send Manny and get a couple of decent pitchers
    MR WILL

    • Birdman

      March 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Yes, many O’s fans have been wearing rose colored glasses with respect to Tillman. Maybe he can get on track, but today’s performance (3 hits and 6 walks in 2 innings) does not bode well. The fact that not one other MLB team was even willing to offer Tillman a major league contract for 2018 was a big red flag .

      Lynn today – no hits, one walk, and 5 strikeouts in 3 innings – its not always the case, but i life you usually get what you pay for.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:05 pm

      1 spring training start, fellas. Means nothing. Or mostly nothing.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    March 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I gotta tell ya, the doom and gloom in here is almost comical. While I agree the O’s front-office hasn’t done a whole lot to inspire confidence, Jesus Christ people, it’s the second week of March! Don’t we want to maybe watch them play baseball before we decide they suck at baseball? I mean, damn, the Yankees and Red Sox add a couple sexy names and it’s ‘wait til next year’?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Not the Tap Room but I’ll buy ya a fake beer anyway.

  7. ClyOs

    March 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I hope Tillman’s performance today isn’t a prelude of things to come. He looked just plan BAD. His control was terrible. I’m hoping it was just rust, cause WOW.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      Again, one start — the first one — in midMarch.

  8. Ben1

    March 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I know it doesnr count and this was Tillman’s 1st outing … but … 6 walks???

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Again, means nothing. Fur now.

  9. Dblack2508

    March 13, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    if they win 92, I will gladly give Boog 2 opening day tickets for 2019. I am a fan, and regardless of what they do this year I will be back next year. I believe everyone on this forum bleeds orange, but they are definitely s reactive organization.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 13, 2018 at 8:14 pm

      The reality is they had the worst rotation in team history. And the team finished in last. And their upgrades seem incremental. So there are a lot of ifs. That’s why the optimism is light. BUT you have to play the games. It’s why we all love this sport.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 14, 2018 at 6:58 am

      Please send the tickets to:

      Boog Robinson Robinson
      #22 Fantasy Lane
      Utopia, Va. 1970

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