The Orioles played the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. No one was allowed in to see it. No one scored. No one cared. This is the fun of early spring training intrasquad action.
Nothing that happens on February 28 has any meaning about anything, as long as nobody gets hurt. Everyone is shaking off rust and getting themselves into game shape. So definitely don't worry about the fact that two sets of Orioles played a six inning game and only managed five hits between them.
About that "as long as nobody gets hurt" part, unfortunately, the O's have not avoided that bug even this early in camp. Originally, one of the two starting pitchers today was going to be Chris Tillman. However, he was scratched from that assignment:
Chris Tillman didn't start today due to core muscle injury. MRI down the road if doesn't get better #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 28, 2016
So much for that ripped midsection on which Buck Showalter specifically commented. Maybe he worked a little too hard to get rid of last year's visible gut, or maybe some freak occurrence happened like he sneezed really violently and knocked something out of whack. Here's hoping the whole thing doesn't drag out any farther, that the MRI down the road is never necessary, and so on.
If it does drag out, the Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Vance Worley competition for fifth starter might play a role in spring training even after the signing of Yovani Gallardo. Like the Gallardo signing or not, this is one of the benefits - some insurance against injury to another pitcher. Without Gallardo, if Tillman hits the shelf, now you're talking two of that trio (plus Odrisamer Despaigne and whoever else) making the MLB team.
On the bright side, both Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey pitched in the intrasquad matchup and neither one had his arm fall off. There's even video proof of Bundy:
I think this is the point where the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, so it probably doesn't mean much for any of them that Bundy struck out Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, but it's another hurdle cleared for a guy who has been beset by so many different problems.
If you're wondering what the O's are wearing in the above video, they are all wearing orange t-shirts for the LUNGevity Foundation in memory of former O's PR director Monica Barlow, who passed away two years ago today.
About Harvey, he faced four batters and got three groundouts. Harvey also gave up a single to Jonathan Schoop.
Fake games that will at least be played against other teams begin on Tuesday. The O's starting pitchers for the first few games will line up as follows:
Jimenez will start on Wednesday. Gonzalez Thursday and Vance Worley on Friday— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 28, 2016
The game on Tuesday will be started by Mike Wright, with Tyler Wilson set to go behind him. The early games will probably not see these guys pitch for more than an inning or two - and oh yeah, about that "see" part, none of the games will be televised by MASN until March 8, so unless you're in Florida you won't be seeing a speck of any of them in real time anyway. Isn't spring training fun?
Wednesday is the O's home opener for spring training.
We have all been hanging on with bated breath since outfielder Efren Navarro was designated for assignment by the Orioles, wondering what his fate will be. Navarro, sent to the great DFA in the sky when the O's officially signed Gallardo, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. As a player who had already been outrighted once in his career, Navarro could refuse the assignment and become a free agent. He did so.
Back to things that may actually classify as news:
Buck said Christian Walker could play some OF in Norfolk. Not here. Mancini won't #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 28, 2016
That's talking about Christian Walker and Trey Mancini, two first basemen who may well have been pressed into service if the O's hadn't re-signed Davis. But they did re-sign Davis, and now the question will be what happens to these guys next?
The tidbit above, that Walker will hit the outfield while Mancini plays first base, could go two ways. You might think it means that Mancini is ahead of Walker, if Mancini will stay at first, the position which is theoretically more demanding of a better bat. On the other hand, maybe it means Walker is still ahead of Mancini, as the O's are trying to increase Walker's versatility and opportunities to compete for a major league spot, if he hits well enough.
Walker batted .257/.324/.428 across 138 games for Triple-A Norfolk last year. Mancini laid waste to two levels, completing his season at Double-A Bowie, where he batted .359/.395/.586 over 84 games.
So there's your Sunday roundup. Not a whole lot of real news, but when it's spring training, no news is good news. At this point, if there's news, it's injury stuff like whatever is ailing Tillman. Hopefully no more of that.