What’s happening? – Right-hander Miguel Castro can state his case for the Orioles’ rotation when he makes his second Grapefruit League start today against the New York Yankees.
Castro, whose spring has been limited by knee and back ailments, allowed one run on two hits in three innings against Toronto on March 9 in his first start.
Besides Castro, Mike Wright Jr., and Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes Jr., the lone left-hander in the mix, are the principal competitors for the fifth starter’s job.
Chris Davis’ sore right elbow continues to improve, manager Buck Showalter said, and Davis hopes to play this weekend.
Davis swung a bat with one hand Monday and with two hands Tuesday. He hasn’t played since March 2, when he was the designated hitter.
Mark Trumbo is scheduled to return to action today as the DH. He’s been out since March 7 with a strained right quad.
Gabriel Ynoa, who is out with shin splints, is using a walking boot, and is expected to start the season on the 10-day disabled list.
The Orioles didn’t make any cuts Tuesday but could today. They’ll travel to Florida’s East Coast for games against St. Louis in Jupiter on Thursday and the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie on Friday.
What’s happened? – Chris Tillman made his first official start of 2018, and it didn’t go well. Tillman, who is trying to forget a most forgettable 2017 season, allowed four runs on three hits and six walks in two-plus innings against the Minnesota Twins.
Tillman faced 14 batters, and six reached base without hitting the ball.
“Every time I go out, I want to do good,” Tillman said. “Especially this late in spring. I know it’s my first one, and everyone says: ‘Oh, I’m out there working on stuff.’ That’s the problem with starting this late in spring. You’ve got to go out trying to win.”
It didn’t help matters that the Orioles had to face Lance Lynn, who signed with the Twins on Monday.
Lynn pitched three snappy innings, walking one and striking out five of his 10 batters.
The Orioles were interested in signing Lynn, but he chose Minnesota and a one-year, $12 million deal instead.
In his next start, Tillman is likely to face the Mets in Sarasota.
Showalter is hoping for a better Tillman then.
“I don’t find it encouraging or discouraging,” he said of Tillman’s outing. “I don’t really find it anything at this point.”
What’s up with? – Brad Brach. Showalter hasn’t officially named a closer yet, but it’s expected to be Brach. The classy right-hander says he’s not worried about his impending free agency.
“I feel a little bit more of a buzz in the clubhouse,” Brach said. “Guys know that we’re trying to win this year. Not that we’re not every year, but especially this year. I’m not really thinking about next year and free agency too much because if you do that, if you’re playing for that, it’s going to be really difficult.”
What’s what? – The Yankees are making their only appearance of the spring in Sarasota, and while Manny Machado and the Yankees will continue to be linked, there won’t be any pregame interviews with the New York media for the Orioles shortstop today. The Orioles’ clubhouse is closed for a meeting this morning.
What’s the word? – “I don’t think I’ve ever had four pitchers with as much in common as these four guys do. There really seems to be a nice unit forming there, and they’re real curious about who the fifth one is going to be, which is good to see.” — Manager Buck Showalter on the Orioles’ starting staff.
What’s the number? – 3. Four players, Machado, Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander and Jonathan Schoop, are tied for the team’s home run lead with three. Santander hit his third in the seventh inning Tuesday. He has 14 RBIs, second to Machado’s 15.
What’s the record? – 11-8-1. The Orioles have won five straight. Castro will face Yankees’ pitching prospect Chance Adams at 1:05 p.m. today at Ed Smith Stadium. The game will be televised on MASN.
Rich Dubroff covers the Orioles for PressBoxOnline.com. You can read his stories here.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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