Before first pitch ...

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter got hung up in a huge traffic jam on I-75, so he wasn’t available to the media before today’s game against the Twins. He arrived about 15 minutes before the anthem.

I had the same issue, but I left the complex earlier and made it with room to spare.

A typical Florida accident, where the car looks like a crushed aluminum can. They’re called “fender benders” down here. People barely notice, except when traffic is backed up for miles and everyone is being funneled onto the left shoulder of the road.

Anyway, no pregame notes or comments from Showalter. Sorry.

I’m not sure how Showalter is going to divide the innings today among his pitchers. Wei-Yin Chen went five innings in his last start. Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland and Jim Johnson also are here. That’s three guys on starter’s schedules, plus Johnson, for a nine-inning game.

The Orioles added catcher Brian Ward, infielders Buck Britton, Travis Adair and Jason Esposito, and outfielders Glynn Davis and Trent Mummey to the travel roster.

Batting practice pitcher Rudy Arias is leaving the team tomorrow so he can become a U.S. citizen in Miami.

Arias was born in Cuba, but he’s lived in Miami for almost 50 years. His father played baseball in the U.S. and his family eventually joined him.

“Last year, when I came back from the season, I decided to become an American citizen. I never felt like, living in Miami, that I needed it,” said Arias, who wore a U.S. flag pin on his jersey for today’s game.

“I was in Winnepeg (as a coach) for three years before I came back with Buck, and every time I crossed the border over there, the skipper, Rick Forney, always told me, ‘Why don’t you become an American citizen?’ I’d make the bus stop and they waited for me, and I didn’t want to do that to Buck when we went over to Canada.

“It’s a great thrill, for me and my family. My dad always wanted me to be an American citizen. My sister was born here while my dad was playing in Chicago. I love my country, I love all the history behind it, but I’ve lived here all my life. I’m thrilled and honored.”

Arias passed the test, and all that’s left is tomorrow’s ceremony.

“The main thing they wanted was for me to speak English, and I said, ‘I do speak English,’” he said.

Arias’s family is meeting at his Miami home tonight for a big Cuban dinner before attending tomorrow’s ceremony.

Arias will be inducted into his high school’s athletic Hall of Fame next month.

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