SARASOTA, Fla. - Dontrelle Willis could make his Orioles debut this afternoon against the Nationals. He’s listed as one of the available pitchers, along with Darren O’Day, who’s been sidelined with a strained groin muscle.
Reliever Jason Berken will appear in his first game Sunday against the Phillies in Clearwater. He’s been recovering from a hamstring injury.
Outfielder Endy Chavez’s sore groin is “a little better today,” manager Buck Showalter said, but he’s out of the lineup as a precaution for the third straight game.
“It’ll be something we’d probably try to push during the season. Not going to right now,” Showalter said. “He’s certainly got a real good chance to make our club. We want to make sure he’s healthy.
“Trust a veteran player. It’s getting a little better each day. The first day after he did it, he was sore, and we just want to err on the side of caution.”
Showalter always grins when he says “got a real good chance to make our club.” Of course, Chavez will be on the 25-man roster. Point taken.
Alfredo Simon (groin) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday.
Showalter indicated that the Orioles remain comfortable with their in-house options at backup catcher. He’s not ready to name a winner in the competition.
“We’ve got some options to pick from and we’ll continue to look at them behind Matt (Wieters) until we have all the information that the time will allow us to gather, whether it be health or evaluation,” Showalter said. “We’ve still got some things up in the air behind Matt, so we’ll take the time to answer those questions.
“One of the hardest things to find is (catching), but we’re happy with our options here and we’ll see which way we go. We’re always going to look from within first. Spending a lot of time in somebody else’s backyard isn’t always healthy. You end up finding the guy you had was as good, if not better.”
If second baseman Brian Roberts plays this spring, his debut most likely would come in a minor league game. The Orioles are leaning in that direction.
Showalter and Roberts chatted on the field during batting practice, and Roberts’ schedule was one of the topics.
The Orioles’ exhibition game against Triple-A Norfolk on April 4 begins at 3:05 p.m. Their workout at Camden Yards the following day begins at 3:05 p.m. Their opener against the Twins begins at 3:05 p.m.
It’s not a coincidence. Showalter wants his players to get acclimated to a new schedule. Their body clocks need to be adjusted.
For the Nationals:
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Rick Ankiel CF
Chad Tracy 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Jesus Flores DH
Corey Brown LF
Brett Carroll RF
Steve Lombardozzi 3B
Edwin Jackson RHP