Spring Training Primer: Davis returns; roster getting a little clearer; Tillman starts today - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Davis returns; roster getting a little clearer; Tillman starts today

What’s happening? – Chris Tillman starts for the second time this spring. He’ll face the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

In his first Grapefruit League action of 2018, Tillman allowed four runs on three hits in two-plus innings, walking six Minnesota Twins on March 13.

Tillman, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal in February, is expected to be the club’s fourth starter.

** The Orioles are getting closer to shaping their 25-man roster. They optioned left-handed reliever Donnie Hart and catcher Austin Wynns to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday.

Manager Buck Showalter said there will be an organizational meeting later this week to talk about finalizing the roster.

“I think everybody is looking forward to getting together and saying, ‘Here’s what we think. Here’s what somebody sees from a distance compared to being right up on top of them,’’’ Showalter said.

** Chris Davis went 1-for-3 and played first base in his first game since March 2. Davis, who was out with a sore right elbow, and catcher Caleb Joseph are going to play in a minor league game today to get additional at-bats.

What’s happened? – Dylan Bundy allowed five runs, four of them earned, on five hits in 5 2/3 innings Sunday against the New York Mets. He became the first Orioles starter to pitch into the sixth inning this spring.

“You can start to [look more into the results] because you’re getting up there in pitches and you’re going like you would on a normal night — going five, six, seven innings,” Bundy said.

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“So, you look for results at the end of spring. But I’ve still got another start before we head north, so, obviously, still going to work on some things in the bullpen and be ready to go come April. I mean, March 29.”

Mark Trumbo, who is out for a minimum three to four weeks with a strained right quad, isn’t going to rush back.

“However long it takes is what it takes,” Trumbo said. “It’s one of these things that can just nag and nag. We’ve got to make sure we get it right. Whatever time frame it is, we’ll deal with (it).”

What’s up with? – Mike Wright Jr. The competition for the fifth starter’s job continues. Wright, Miguel Castro and Nestor Cortes Jr., are all still in the mix.

Wright allowed four runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings Saturday. He allowed three of those runs in the fifth inning.

“Obviously, if I could have stopped after those first four innings, we’d be having a lot different conversation here,” Wright said. “I’m going to be going five or six innings during the season. It’s something to work on. Like some people have the luxury to work on stuff. I do have to get those results in and, hopefully, next time is a little bit better.”

What’s what? – The cuts of Hart and Wynns were interesting.

Hart fell behind non-roster left-handers Josh Edgin and Joely Rodriguez. He hasn’t been as effective as he was in 2016, when he excelled after being recalled from Double-A Bowie.

“I think Donnie just needs to get back to kind of like he was when he first got here,” Showalter said. “Just be a little more aggressive and trust his stuff. … He’s capable of helping us. I expect him to pitch well and get back on the map.”

Wynns impressed with his defense, but he has only eight games of Triple-A experience.

“He needs to get some consistent at-bats and start catching and relax a little bit,” Showalter said.

“I think he felt coming in that [Norfolk] was probably where he was going to go, but you start seeing the way spring training goes. You never know. There’s some things he’s done that aren’t characteristic of how good he can be.”

What’s the word? – “I’ve told a lot of people they’d look good in black and orange as well, trying to get guys over here. It’s just part of the game. You want to put the best team out there on your field, and if I’m a part of this team, I want to bring the best guys over here as much as I can. I want to get a ring as well.” – Shortstop Manny Machado on the controversy over the Yankees’ Aaron Judge “recruiting” him.

What’s the number? – 3. The Orioles have three catchers left in camp: Joseph, Chance Sisco and Andrew Susac. It will be fascinating to see who is chosen to back up Joseph.

Sisco, Susac and Wynns are all on the 40-man roster and can be freely optioned between the Orioles and the minor leagues.

What’s the record? – 13-10-2. Tillman faces 25-year-old right-hander Michael Fulmer today in Lakeland.

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

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