Waiting for Chavez and Johnson to spring ahead

CHICAGO - Managers keep warning reporters not to fall in love with spring training or September stats. Small sample sizes, extenuating circumstances, whatever you want to call it.

Jake Fox is a beast in February and March. He belongs in the Grapefruit League Hall of Fame. But he still can’t stick in the majors, which makes him the unfortunate poster child for the above-stated theory.

Endy Chavez and Nick Johnson are proven commodities, so they don’t fall in that same category. Their shelf life is a lot longer. However, I’m reminding of the managers’ warning when reviewing the stats that Chavez and Johnson accumulated this spring.

Chavez batted .444/.500/.556 with a double, home run, five RBIs and four walks in 36 at-bats. Johnson batted .292/.393/.458 with five doubles, a homer and four RBIs in 48 at-bats.

Chavez is 1-for-15 with two strikeouts this season. Johnson is 0-for-16 with four strikeouts.

So much for momentum.

Manager Buck Showalter continues to work Chavez and Johnson into the lineup in an attempt to “get them going,” though they probably won’t start tonight against White Sox left-hander John Danks. That’s understandable. He’s expecting contributions from both players this season and they can’t heat up from the bench. But in a perfect baseball world, neither one will be called upon to carry a heavy load.

Nolan Reimold is being given a chance to hold onto the left field job, which would make Chavez a fourth outfielder and defensive replacement. Nothing wrong with that arrangement. Isn’t that why he was signed in the first place?

Johnson agreed to a minor league deal Feb. 10. If able to stay healthy, he’d be part of the bench and insurance in case Chris Davis or Wilson Betemit were hurt or slumping. He’d be a defensive replacement at first base. And hopefully, he’d be able to get on base and satisfy the OBP cravings of the front office.

Chavez has a much longer leash than Johnson. He’s not going anywhere. Johnson doesn’t have the same security, but Showalter isn’t going to bury him 10 games into the season.

They may not match their spring output - in fact, I’m going to guarantee that Chavez doesn’t bat .444 - but they’re not going to combine for one hit all season.

Major League Baseball released the official First-Year Player Draft order for 2011, and the Orioles have the fourth pick behind the Astros, Twins and Mariners.

They own the fifth pick in the second round because Oakland sneaks in with the second selection as compensation for losing outfielder Josh Willingham. The Orioles return to the fourth slot for the rest of the draft, which begins June 4 and has been reduced to 40 rounds.

Anyone heading to Delmarva tonight for Dylan Bundy’s home debut?

Bundy is expected to pitch three innings again before the Orioles slowly increase his workload.

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