What’s happening? – Dylan Bundy, who will face the Tampa Bay Rays today, has been named the Orioles’ Opening Day starter against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Camden Yards.
“I wasn’t even expecting it or thinking it,” said Bundy, who will face Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi in the opener. “I was trying to get through spring training and work on the stuff I need to work on, and let things play out however they may be. So, wasn’t expecting it, but definitely humbled by it.”
Bundy was chosen over Kevin Gausman, who started last year’s opener. Chris Tillman started the previous three.
Tillman starts in Grapefruit League action Saturday against Minnesota. Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t announced a starter for Sunday’s Florida-based exhibition finale in Clearwater against Philadelphia.
The Orioles will play their Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, in Norfolk, Va., on Monday afternoon to put a cap on 2018 exhibitions.
** Longtime Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was named to the team’s Hall of Fame on Thursday. Roberts, who twice led the American League in doubles and tied for the AL lead in stolen bases with 50 in 2009, played for the team from 2001-13. He completed his career with one season playing for the New York Yankees in 2014.
Recently retired broadcaster Fred Manfra was named the winner of the Herb Armstrong Award for non-uniformed personnel.
Roberts and Manfra will be honored at a luncheon Friday, Aug. 10 and then at an on-field ceremony Saturday, Aug. 11 before a game against the Boston Red Sox.
What’s happened? – Right-hander Mike Wright Jr., had his second straight disappointing start. He allowed seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Red Sox.
In his previous start, Wright gave up four runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings against Toronto.
With the arrival of Alex Cobb, who threw a bullpen in front of Showalter, pitching coach Roger McDowell and bullpen coach Alan Mills on Thursday, Wright is no longer in contention for a set spot in the rotation.
Wright hopes he can still make the team despite the recent struggles.
“It’s not my decision to make,” Wright said. “I just hope what I did early in spring gets me on the team.”
However, Wright, Miguel Castro or Nestor Cortes Jr., could still get a start or two at the beginning of the season because Cobb will not be ready to start a major league game for a couple weeks.
Showalter wasn’t harsh on Wright.
“He’s showed enough for us to evaluate it,” Showalter said of Wright’s chances to make the team. “Mike is a strong candidate for a lot of reasons, but I think he can help us. Today wasn’t a real good statistical return, but if you take the [windy] conditions in it, it was OK.”
** Third baseman Tim Beckham left Thursday’s game with a groin injury immediately after homering in the bottom of the second inning. He won’t play today, but Showalter hopes Beckham won’t be out for long.
** The Orioles made two more cuts, optioning right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis and left-hander Tanner Scott to Triple-A Norfolk.
Yacabonis will be stretched out with the Tides.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it starting, but you could construe it as that,” Showalter said. “He had a good spring. Yac’s going to help us this year.”
There are 37 players in camp. Zach Britton, Mark Trumbo and Gabriel Ynoa will begin the season on the disabled list. Cobb will start in the minor leagues. That leaves eight players to be cut.
What’s up with? – Cedric Mullins. The non-roster outfielder has stayed longer with the Orioles in camp than most have expected.
“I would say I’m knocking on the door,” Mullins said. “It’s a matter of continuing to get my seasoning in, just getting better at the little things. That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed at the big league level. The details of playing the game can make the biggest difference in any situation, a win or a loss. That’s what I’ve definitely learned from this experience.”
What’s what? – Manfra said he is enjoying life in retirement. He’s living in Tampa just several doors down from his daughter and her family.
While he’s loving the life of a grandfather, Manfra says he misses the camaraderie of broadcasting, and he still follows the team avidly.
Manfra is missed around here.
What’s the word? – “I’m so happy for these guys that they’ve enjoyed that success, because losing is not a lot of fun. I wouldn’t wish 10 years of losing on anybody. I still certainly have no regrets about my career when it comes to the timeframe of it because I enjoyed every day of it.” – Brian Roberts on whether he has regrets about missing the Orioles’ winning run.
What’s the number? – 0. Minor league right-hander James Teague hasn’t allowed an earned run in eight games. He’s given up four hits in eight innings and saved three games. A 37th round pick in 2016, Teague has struck out seven and walked two this spring.
What’s the record? – 15-11-2. With three games to play, the Orioles have clinched a winning Grapefruit League mark.