Valencia moves across the diamond

DUNEDIN, Fla. - Danny Valencia is making a rare start at first base for the Orioles’ exhibition game today against the Toronto Blue Jays.

How rare?

Valencia has never played the position in the majors. He appeared in 18 games with rookie-league Elizabethton in 2006, two with Single-A Beloit in 2007 and two with Double-A New Britain in 2008.

Valencia has played 469 minor league games at third base and 272 in the majors.

“We’re going to keep moving guys around,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We’ve got plenty of games. It’s not making decisions on Feb. 24. One of the benefits of the WBC is play some more games, get some more looks.

“We’re going to move some guys around today as the game progresses. We’ve got it all (mapped out), this guy’s going to go here in such-and-such inning, like all teams do. We’re going to get a lot of good looks at guys at first base.”

Relievers Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day threw bullpen sessions in Sarasota this morning. Showalter stayed back to watch before making the drive to Dunedin.

Showalter mentioned that a few players have been bothered by flu-like symptoms. Two of them were sent back to their hotel this morning.

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