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Saturday Bird Droppings: Where the roster battles are getting settled

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Chance Sisco will be in the house and so will Pedro Araujo. The Orioles are taking shape! Today’s stuff: Cobb could be ready soon, the rotation doesn’t stack up, and more.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Pittsburgh Pirates
Chance Sisco is the new backup catcher. Hopefully he doesn’t rot on the bench!
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now just five days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. We are down to a number that can be counted entirely using the fingers on a typical human hand! The snow is melting and real baseball is approaching. This is exciting.

Before that, though, there are still a couple more spring training games to get through. There are three, counting today’s and also counting a little exhibition in Norfolk on Monday. The O’s play the Twins tonight, just like they will do on Opening Day. The 6:05 contest tonight will not be televised but it will be on 105.7, so if you want to get a little Orioles in your life tonight, you can.

There are still some roster battles to be settled in the last couple of days before camp breaks up. Cuts on Friday revealed that Chance Sisco has won the backup catching job. Also on Friday, the Orioles revealed the 2-4 spots in their rotation and told Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo that he has made the team.

If you had asked me before spring training who was the least likely Rule 5 pick to make the team, I would have said Araujo. He has never pitched above High-A before! Yet he is, at least to begin the season, a member of the Orioles. Remember, I know even less than Jon Snow.

The fifth starter decision hasn’t been made yet. It’s still not clear who will be on the bench in the infield, though it won’t be Engelb Vielma, who was also optioned on Friday. And it’s not really a sure thing what’s going to be the outfield solution, either, both in Mark Trumbo’s absence and even once he’s back. Maybe some of those remaining questions will be answered today.

Around the blogO’sphere

Araujo makes Orioles roster and other notes (School of Roch)
The Orioles arranged for Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, and Mychal Givens to relay the news to Araujo that he had made the team. He thought he was in trouble when they summoned him. That’s adorable.

Starter Alex Cobb’s Orioles debut could come as early as April 9 (Baltimore Sun)
If Cobb is really ready by April 9, the Orioles basically only need a different fifth starter for one start.

Back at SS, Machado takes center stage for the O’s (Orioles.com)
The obvious things are obvious for a reason.

No matter the position, Orioles third baseman Tim Beckham aiming to be among the best (Baltimore Sun)
Not meant as a knock against Tim Beckham at all, but I don’t like his chances quite as much as I like Manny Machado’s chances to be among the best.

Thoughts on Chance Sisco making the Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
Dan Connolly doesn’t commit to a position about whether it’s a good idea for Sisco to make the team as a backup catcher. I’m not sold on the “learn on the bench” narrative.

Bundy and Gausman no longer need to carry O’s rotation (Steve Melewski)
Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence, your honor.

How does the O’s rotation compare to other AL East teams? (Camden Depot)
At the Depot, Matt Kremnitzer observes that the Orioles still have the worst projected rotation in the division, by far. Like all of us, he’s hoping for some outperforming of expectations.

2018 positional power rankings: Designated hitter (Fangraphs)
You may be surprised to know that the Orioles project to have the 8th-best designated hitter situation in the American League.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are only two Orioles with birthdays today, both of whom have passed away. They are: 1954 first baseman Dick Kryhoski, and 1955 pitcher Saul Rogovin.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: mineralogist Georgius Agricola (1494), Mariner chronometer inventor John Harrison (1693), magician Harry Houdini (1874), baseball Hall of Famer George Sisler (1893), Hanna-Barbera co-founder Joseph Barbera (1911), “The King of Cool” Steve McQueen (1930), fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger (1951), and actress Jessica Chastain (1977).

On this day in history...

In 1603, rulers of countries had a big day. Scotland’s James VI became King James I of England and Ireland upon the death of Elizabeth I. Also, in Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu was granted the title of shogun, establishing a military government that would last until 1868.

In 1765, Great Britain’s Parliament passed the Quartering Act, requiring the American colonies to house British troops. The colonists did not take it well.

In 1882, Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, responsible for the disease of the same name. Even today, about a third of the world’s population is thought to be infected with TB, and it caused 1.3 million deaths in 2016.

In 1944, during World War II, 76 Allied prisoners of war began a breakout from the camp Stalag Luft III. This was dramatized in the excellent film The Great Escape. Ultimately, just three of the 76 evaded re-capture, and 50 of the escapees were later killed by the SS upon order by Hitler.

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska, leading to the spilling of 240,000 barrels of crude oil.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 24 - or at least, until something happens later, even if it won’t be televised. Have a safe Saturday.