SARASOTA, Fla. - Enjoy that dateline while you can, because it changes starting tomorrow.
The Orioles will break camp later today. Naturally, manager Buck Showalter scheduled a simulated game first. I almost expect Craig Tatum to hit off a tee tomorrow in between his wife’s contractions.
A group of minor leaguers will take a bus to Ed Smith Stadium, then take their swings against Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta. I normally wouldn’t care much, but I need to find out whether Bergesen is healthy enough to be included on the opening night roster, and whether he’ll go to the bullpen until April 10, which would give his right arm a little more time to heal.
It’s also good to make sure another line drive isn’t hit to the mound. Bad things can happen - sometimes twice in four days.
Brian Matusz is playing catch today. I normally wouldn’t care much, but I need to find out whether his left biceps is too sore for him to make Saturday night’s start at Tropicana Field.
We’ll also learn today whether Rick VandenHurk cleared waivers, which would allow the Orioles to outright him to Triple-A Norfolk. They still have to purchase Josh Rupe’s contract, since he’s not on the 40-man roster.
Rupe rates as my biggest camp surprise. I assumed that he would be reassigned this month and end up as a swingman for the Tides. I doubt that many sportswriters or fans included him on their opening night roster.
It’s amusing for me to look back at some of the debates, and how events unfolded over time.
Bergesen or Chris Tillman? Clay Rapada or Mark Hendrickson?
Both. And neither.
Tatum was the favorite to win the backup catcher’s job, just like Chad Moeller last spring.
Showalter predicted in February that Fox would hit 10 home runs. He’s the type of guy who rakes in spring training. Fox hit 10 home runs - 11 if you count the intrasquad game.
Among the minor leaguers, Ryan Adams made a solid impression with his bat. Joe Mahoney also got noticed, and not just for his height. And hitting coach Jim Presley can’t wait to work with Manny Machado.
You take one look at that kid and you figure there’s no way he’s 18. And yes, his mannerisms in and out of the batter’s box remind you of Alex Rodriguez. He’ll be worth the drive to Single-A Delmarva.
I’m so glad I have a place to crash in Ocean Pines. And free breakfast!
I’ll be heading over to the ballpark around 12:30 p.m. The first order of business is Matusz’s flat ground session, which will determine whether Arrieta goes six innings.
There’s no lineup to post. My day won’t feel complete.