SARASOTA, Fla. - Today is the first road exhibition game of the spring, and it’s a grind getting there from Sarasota in rush-hour traffic.
I’m leaving early this morning for Dunedin - or, as I apparently mispronounce it, done-eatin’. A friend laughed hysterically and made me paranoid to say it out loud.
Most of the “regulars” are staying back at camp, but it’s important for Jair Jurrjens to turn in a clean inning after struggling in his one intrasquad appearance, when he loaded the bases and reached his pitch limit before recording the last out. The Orioles need to know that his right knee is sound. He needs to announce his presence in the fifth starter competition with authority.
Kevin Gausman will make his Grapefruit League debut, which is the other reason why it’s worth driving to Dunedin.
Brian Roberts isn’t on the trip, so Alexi Casilla will likely make his first start at second base.
I’ve got some leftover quotes from Zach Britton, who threw 19 pitches yesterday in a scoreless first inning. He allowed two hits.
Britton was asked whether he adjusted his winter routine after last year’s shoulder issues.
“I cut back on the amount of throwing I did,” he said. “I just wanted to take more time to build strength and throw later in the offseason. I think there’s positives and negatives to that. Obviously, I think your velocity might come a little later in the spring, rather than the first game out and you’re ready to go.
“I definitely think you’ve got to manage your body for a major league season. I think that’s something I took for granted my first year in the big leagues. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like you could take those days off in the gym and not really build your shoulder up through the season and that kind of bit me in the butt a little bit, so definitely maintaining my strength through the whole season is going to be important.”
OK, that’s it for me. I’ll pass along the lineup as soon as I get it - hopefully before I’m behind the wheel and heading to Dunedin.
For the Jays: