Spring Training Primer: Bundy gets Opening Day start; Wright struggles; Roberts, Manfra honored; Yacabonis, Scott sent out - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Bundy gets Opening Day start; Wright struggles; Roberts, Manfra honored; Yacabonis, Scott sent out

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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.


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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 23, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Now Buck’s factoring the wind into today’s performance by Mike Wright? 4+ innings .. 10 hits .. 2 walks .. 6 runs and “the wind” had something to do with it? 4 Puuuuhhlllleeeeeeeeeze. Wind must have been blowing his pitches directly into the path of the Sox bats I guess. Buck please stop coddling this bum and send him down. Who cares if he’s out of options. With any luck, another AL team will pick him up and we’ll get to hit against him occasionally.

    This guy just plain stinks. He’s awful. If we give up on either Araujo or Cortes to keep this guy around I’m going to … I’m going to … well … I dunno, I guess I’ll be very peeved.

    PS … congratulations to Cy Bundy for being named the opening day starter!

    • TheFatMan

      March 23, 2018 at 9:19 am

      I’m with you. I’ve seen enough of Wright to know that his stuff will probably not play at the major league level as a starter. Someone may be able to harness his stuff to make him usable in the bullpen, but we don’t need him right now. I’d rather keep Cortes and see what he has. Araujo, I am actually really excited about.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:42 am

      I think there is an easy way to keep all 3 in the bullpen to begin the season. but it would be at the expense of a lefty power arm like Rodriguez (who is on a minors deal). That’s assuming Castro goes to AAA to work on starting.

      • TheFatMan

        March 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm

        I can’t see sending Rodriguez out after the spring he has had. Definitely think Castro starts at AAA as a fall back plan in case Tillman’s shoulder is done. I doubt Wright would clear waivers, but I am okay with that at this point.

  2. 5brooks5

    March 23, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Rich, I’ve enjoyed your reports from Sarasota this year. Great job, and considering there is eight inches of snow on my deck, not a bad gig. Well done!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:45 am

      I’ll second that. It’s been good having Rich handle the heavy lifting in Fla for us for a second straight year. I feel like the format serves as a wrapup and preview and gives a little extra insight. Hope you all have enjoyed it. We have one more to go on Monday.

    • GSISDANNO

      March 23, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Rich is an outstanding professional who is very knowledgeable.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      I’m gonna quibble with word professional. Have you read his puns? Kidding.

  3. Dblack2508

    March 23, 2018 at 8:25 am

    iI would be surprised if Wright is DFA’d, the lack of on base players is still problematic. when will Ryan Flaherty be signed?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 23, 2018 at 9:07 am

      I’m with Dblack!! Bring back the Flash!!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:46 am

      No question there is a mutual interest.

  4. Orial

    March 23, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Interesting call with the nod going to Bundy. Could put a little fire under Gausman’s “ass” in a good way. Calculated move by Buck? The 5th rotation spot is not open(at least not until Cobb’s ready) so the door is really tightening on Wright. No options,would they release him,use him in pen? Heard that Brock Holt may be available,hmm.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:46 am

      I think they’d try the pen again, I’d assume.

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    March 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I agree with everyone about Wright. I think this was the 2nd time he faced the Red Sox in ST with the same results. He pitched himself out of the rotation and maybe off the team.

    Heading down to see Bundy pitch today. Looking forward to it. Ed Smith is a great facility. I too would like a Flaherty reunion.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:48 am

      It is a great facility. There’s always gonna be Os bashing — sometimes from me — but they did an amazing job going from the worst facility in Fla to arguably the best in a renovated Ed Smith.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 23, 2018 at 10:13 am

    I’m laughing at the love being shown Flaherty today. Other than our fearless leader Mr. Connolly and few other of us lemmings, Flash has generally been given the bums rush for the past 2 years here at BB.com! It must be true that you often don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:49 am

      He is what he is. But it’s really hard to sit for weeks and then be an effective defender at multiple positions.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    March 23, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Congratulation men, we’ve made it to the last Friday without Major League Baseball. Color me surprised about Bundy. I had him as the lead horse for Opening Day when Spring Training started but Gausman has looked so good his last few outings I didn’t think it was going to happen. I suppose it makes sense, as Bundy was the only starter to make it through last year with his reputation intact. Speaking of which, Mr. Roberts, the only Oriole to survive the 2000’s with his dignity, deserves his moment in the sun. Hard to believe the Orioles once employed a man who stole 50 bases. Makes you wonder if we will one day look at steal totals the way we look at pitchers getting 30 to 40 wins a year at the turn of the last century. Such a bummer. People talk about the game lacking the excitement of football and basketball as if the wide open 70’s and 80’s never happened. There were few things more electrifying than hearing “He’s going!” Watching Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman etc. break for second and the whole stadium rise to their feet in anticipation of the throw, that’s as exciting as any 40 yard pass.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

      The speed game is always fun to watch. But as the old adage says, you can’t steal first. Will be interesting to see if Tampa’s Mallex Smith can hit enough to highlight those wheels.

  8. Disco Stupid

    March 23, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Hi Dan. Thank you all for the great content!!! Any word on when Dean will have the rest of the minor league preview podcasts? Love them!!!

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Yeah. We had some technical difficulties with them. But we’ll be getting it going again soon. I promise. On a weekly basis too.

  9. GSISDANNO

    March 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Very happy for Brian Roberts. He had the unfortunate timing of being here in a very bad time. Then, when the team got better. He was injured. He was a true professional who was probably underrated by MLB in general. Congrats to Fred Mantra as well. Very deserving of this honor.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Hard to argue with either election.

  10. AlaskanOsFan

    March 24, 2018 at 3:12 am

    What player do you see making the biggest jump whether just minors or from minors to The Show? Excluding Sisco since he’s on the opening day roster now..lil shocked but excited even more so for him

    • Dan Connolly

      March 24, 2018 at 11:53 pm

      Let’s go with Santander for now. He’s in the majors. But he’s got the ability to stick beyond 44 Days.

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