The good news for Orioles fans is that the games still don't count. A little bit more good news is that the O's gave up fewer than 10 runs in one of these non-counting games. The bad news is they've played four meaningless games and they have yet to win a game. Friday afternoon, they traveled to the Blue Jays spring home in Dunedin and, o nce again, they lost. The score was 4-3.
Is there any consolation in the fact that today's Orioles starter pitched well? Maybe a tiny little bit. Today's game-opening two inning stint was in the hands of Vance Worley. He did not give up any runs, but also it's March 4 and barring an unanticipated injury, Worley's not really expected to make the rotation, so it only means so much.
By the same token, though, you probably don't have to worry a whole lot about the fact that Andrew Triggs gave up three home runs in the same inning. Triggs is on the 40-man roster, so perhaps we will see him this season, but not if he's not pitching well.
Perhaps it was just a bad day. Triggs allowed zero home runs in 61 innings for Double-A Bowie last year. Perhaps there's a reason why he has 0.2 innings above Double-A in his minor league career even though he'll be 27 later this month. Good or bad, it's a stretch to think many 2016 O's games will hinge on the performance of Triggs.
More likely to impact the 2016 O's season is Brian Matusz, about whom this update was offered today:
Matusz back strain would be DL-worthy if regular season, Buck says,— Peter Schmuck (@SchmuckStop) March 4, 2016
This is another vague description of whatever is ailing Matusz. The official diagnosis is "a strained serratus muscle on the lower right side of his back." Previously it was simply described as his return being "not imminent." When he says it's DL-worthy, does that mean a minimum 15-day stay on the DL or does it mean Matusz will be out of the picture until May?
If Matusz is going to end up missing any part of the start of the regular season due to the injury, the Orioles bullpen competition immediately becomes more interesting. The role of lefty specialist reliever would suddenly be wide open. If it's not Matusz, would they go with T.J. McFarland in that role, or someone else? Would they just not use a lefty specialist at all and plug in another reliever for whoever long Matusz is out?
Maybe we won't have to find out, if Matusz comes back before the start of the season. One thing is sure: He probably won't be getting much of a chance to stretch out as a starter this spring training after all.
Another, marginally less vague injury update:
Buck was pleased with results of Paredes MRI on wrist. Belief is Paredes will be able to play again this spring #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) March 4, 2016
Jimmy Paredes sprained the wrist diving and failing to catch a blooper in yesterday's game. They have ruled out a bone break.
There is at least some time frame here, in that if Paredes is going to play in another spring game it'll be before April 1. Would that be enough to have him ready for the regular season? Does he even have a roster spot waiting for him if fully healthy?
And that's assuming the belief is correct at all, or that it's being expressed accurately. We have seen this is not always the case in the past. Different reporters characterized the comments differently. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli offered this summation of Showalter's comments:
Manager Buck Showalter said, "It's going to be a while," before Paredes is ready to return. The skipper did not want to rule out that the utility player would miss the rest of spring.
That doesn't sound like those two reporters are talking about the same injury or player at all.
One more Oriole on the mend, Chris Tillman, did a little throwing back in Sarasota today:
Tillman throwing pic.twitter.com/qRDfGolac1— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) March 4, 2016
The timetable for Tillman is that he'll be throwing live bullpen on Monday and then go from there.
The O's have yet to win a spring training game, but they'll get two chances to do so on Saturday. The squad splits up for Saturday action, with one group of Orioles heading to play a game in the Twins complex in the afternoon. This game will be televised by the Twins network, and thus visible to you on MLB.tv, if you're a subscriber. If you tune in to that, you'll get to see Tyler Wilson and others.
A different group of Orioles will be playing a 7:05pm game against the Rays in Sarasota. Though this game is at home and at night, it's not being televised on MASN. You will be able to listen on 105.7 FM and on the Orioles Radio Network. Kevin Gausman will be the O's starter in the night, home game.