There are now 17 days remaining until the next Orioles game that counts. The Grapefruit League schedule is more than half over. Opening Day is near. There will not be any O’s to entertain us today, however, because today is the only day off for the team across their whole exhibition schedule. The next day without a game after this will see them heading north to get ready for the regular season.
Maybe the biggest news of the weekend came last night: Adam Jones is signing with the Diamondbacks. It’s a bummer to know that his career here is officially over, but I’m glad to know he’s starting the season with a job rather than just withering on the free agent vine.
The Orioles are now 9-7-2 across their spring training schedule. Over the weekend, they split the Saturday split-squad games, winning an absurd 17-15 game against the Rays and losing a 6-1 contest to the Yankees. On Sunday, they lost to the Phillies, 8-5. Unfortunate pitching performances by Tanner Chleborad and Pedro Araujo contributed heavily to the Sunday loss. I don’t think too many regular season games will hinge on the pitching talent of those two gentlemen.
Following the off day, things should start getting more serious towards prepping for the beginning of the season. Lineups will start looking more and more like Opening Day lineups. Starting pitchers will start to be lined up for every fifth day in the order that they’re expected to be in the rotation. Each round of cuts will provide a little bit more clarity about who might make the roster at all.
Another set of cuts came after Sunday’s game, narrowing down both the corner outfield battle and the back end of the rotation battle. Luis Ortiz and DJ Stewart were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, Dillon Tate was optioned to Double-A Bowie, and the following non-40-man roster players were reassigned to minor league camp: Martin Cervenka, Yusniel Diaz, Sean Gilmartin, Ryan Mountcastle, and Bo Schultz.
It always seemed unlikely that the O’s would open with Diaz on the roster, if only for service time reasons. I’m a little surprised Stewart didn’t make it closer to the end of camp. Neither Tate nor Ortiz have pitched well enough to force themselves into the 4th or 5th starter conversation. Those spots are still up for grabs - it’s just that we know some more players who won’t be claiming them.
This is also an important week for Orioles who are on the mend. Will their health improve enough for them to be on the Opening Day roster? Mark Trumbo is now supposed to make his spring debut on Wednesday. Chris Davis last played in a game on March 3, though he reportedly took swings on the field on Sunday. Most fans will not be clamoring for either player to be rushed back, but the O’s will have to make decisions about when and how to hide them, or not, pretty soon.
It’s been 48 days since Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The team has not yet announced any plan to retire his jersey or add his statue out beyond the bullpens.
Around the blogO’sphere
Roster spot battles will be intense during camp’s final two weeks (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff runs through the state of the roster after the latest round of cuts, including the outfield, catching, rotation, and bullpen situations.
Trey Mancini set for time at first base later in spring as team looks for versatility (Baltimore Sun)
I accept that the Orioles are not going to be good this year. I won’t be happy if part of their not being good involves my having to watch more first basemen in the outfield.
Hyde on Cobb, Davis, aggression, outfield (School of Roch)
Alex Cobb is getting delayed for a few days because his wife gave birth on Friday. Congratulations to the Cobbs.
Richard Bleier returns to mound after lat injury (Orioles.com)
Another development over the weekend is that Bleier made his way back to the mound, so he looks like he should be on track for the Opening Day roster.
Trying to regain previous form, Dylan Bundy struggles early in camp (Steve Melewski)
I assumed that the Mike Elias regime would be good for Bundy. The results haven’t been there so far in spring training.
‘He’s not scared of anybody’: Lefty Josh Rogers endears himself to vets as he completes for job (Baltimore Sun)
Andrew Cashner apparently said that Josh Rogers has “big nuts,” although they did not print that in the newspaper.
Birthdays and anniversaries
There are several former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2010 reliever Frank Mata, 2009 starter Rich “The Blister” Hill, 2005 reliever Steve Reed, and 1989-90 outfielder Phil Bradley.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: actor/singer John Barrowman (1967), musician Lisa Loeb (1968), actor Terrence Howard (1969), stuntman Johnny Knoxville (1971), and Waldorf-born Good Charlotte twins Benji and Joel Madden (1979).
On this day in history...
In 1708, England’s Queen Anne refused to assent to the Scottish Militia Bill, over fears that same militia would not be loyal. This is recognized as the last time that a British monarch did not grant royal assent to legislation passed by Parliament. American history tells us that later in the century, some colonists were upset by a subsequent monarch refusing to assent to laws passed elsewhere.
In 1888, a blizzard struck the east coast of the United States. Over 400 people were killed by this blizzard, which led to reported snowfall of up to 58 inches and snow drifts taller than 50 feet.
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act, which allowed American-made weapons and supplies to be “loaned” to the Allies in World War II.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 11 - or at least, unless something happens later down in Sarasota. Have a safe Monday.