It is now less than 24 hours until the scheduled first pitch of the Orioles season and no one is sure whether Nick Markakis will play in the game. He has had a sore neck since a bumpy flight north, and manager Buck Showalter told reporters that he has drawn up two lineups for Monday - one with Markakis and one without. What is it with Orioles outfielders and neck injuries?
If Showalter decides not to play Markakis, it will be so that he can get two days rest, with Tuesday's off day also available. It's a little concerning to already be making use of off days to help a guy get healthy when the season hasn't even started yet. Hopefully it's something small and minor, but any bumps in the road at all for Markakis aren't encouraging. So much for the best shape of his life.
The Orioles also officially set their 25-man roster on Sunday. This meant a bunch of roster moves, including trips to the disabled list for Manny Machado (retroactive to March 21), Francisco Peguero (March 21 - right wrist tendinitis), Michael Almanzar (March 23 - left patellar tendinitis), and Nolan Reimold (March 26 - cervical spine fusion surgery). They're all on the 15-day disabled list. Reliever Edgmer Escalona was placed on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder impingement.
They had to make two 40-man roster moves in order to clear room for Evan Meek and Delmon Young. Escalona to the 60-day DL was the first. The O's also designated lefty reliever Mike Belfiore for assignment. Belfiore originally came to the organization when they dumped Josh Bell on Arizona, and as you might expect for a guy who was traded straight up for Josh Bell, hasn't done a whole lot. Belfiore was summoned from Bowie to the majors last year, pitched in one game in September, and gave up two home runs in 1.1 innings.
With Brian Matusz and Zach Britton in the Opening Day bullpen, Troy Patton to rejoin the team after his 25-game suspension, and T.J. McFarland in the minor leagues, the O's probably feel set on lefty relievers. Maybe Belfiore will pass through waivers, maybe not. If they cared, they wouldn't have cast him off.