SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are hitting the road again today, making their first trip to Fort Myers for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Minnesota Twins.
Jair Jurrjens will make his second start of the spring. He went two innings Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, allowing one run and two hits and walking one batter.
Jurrjens retired the first five batters and threw 19 of his 31 pitches for strikes before exiting the game. He was thrilled with his velocity, which dipped last season with the Atlanta Braves following surgery on his right knee in 2011. His fastball topped out at 93 mph.
Tommy Hunter will make his third appearance this spring, which seems like a lot, considering that the Orioles have played only five games heading into today. He surrendered two runs and two hits in one inning on Saturday against the Twins, and he blanked the New York Yankees in one inning on Monday despite allowing two hits.
Hunter will be used for two or three innings today, according to manager Buck Showalter, who disputed the suggestion earlier this week that the Orioles were viewing the right-hander only as a reliever. Don’t be fooled by the one-inning stints in those first two outings. Hunter remains in the starter mix.
Kevin Gausman is scheduled to throw two innings today after allowing one run and one hit, with two walks and two strikeouts, in 1 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays.
Velocity hasn’t been an issue for Gausman. His fastball keeps reaching the upper 90s. But his most impressive pitch on Sunday was his changeup. Pure nastiness.
The Twins are starting right-hander Liam Hendriks. Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Cole De Vries, Esmerling Vasquez and Trevor May also are scheduled to pitch - all right-handers. That’s a unique look for Orioles hitters.
Catcher Joe Mauer and his wife, Maddie, are expecting twins, according to the Star Tribune’s LaVelle Neal III. Seems appropriate.
Maddie should be glad that her husband doesn’t play for the Giants.
I’ll post the lineup before heading to Fort Myers. Most of the regulars will stay back in Sarasota.