SARASOTA, Fla. - While still recovering from the news that Stone Temple Pilots has fired Scott Weiland. Again...
Danny Valencia is making another start at first base today in Tampa, his second one in four spring training games. He was supposed to play third base yesterday in Bradenton before the cancellation due to rain.
As I wrote a few days ago, Valencia has never played first base 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.
“It’s been a while,” he said earlier this week. “The last time I fully played there was in college, but I’ve had some games in rookie ball there. I think I’ll get used to it quickly.”
What’s the biggest adjustment on the other wide of the diamond?
“The cuts and relays,” he replied. “For me, I think that’s going to be the toughest because it’s an instinct thing. At third, you know when to break. At first, you’ve also got to know when to break, but not having played there, you don’t have those instincts right away.”
I assumed that another adjustment would be knowing when to go for a ball in the hole and when to retreat to the bag.
“I think I’ve got that pretty good,” he said. “Me and Bobby (Dickerson) worked on that a few days ago, so I think I’ve got that squared away. Right now, it’s the cuts and relays for me, to be honest.”
Manager Buck Showalter is trying to determine whether Valencia could back up at both positions, along with serving as a right-handed designated hitter.
Approached by Showalter about playing first base this spring, Valencia said, “I didn’t think anything about it. Just do it. Obviously, you want to make the team and versatility is a good thing.”
Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is still scheduled to throw off a regular mound today, just as he did on Monday.
The Orioles have listed the following pitchers as being available tonight behind starter Chris Tillman: Zach Britton, Pedro Strop, Daniel McCutchen, Troy Patton, Daniel Schlereth, Rob Delaney, Zech Zinicola, Chris Petrini and Jason Gurka.
Obviously, they won’t all be used tonight.
If Zinicola sounds familiar, the Washington Nationals selected him in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He was named the Nationals’ minor league Pitcher of the Year in his debut season, but received a 50-game suspension at the start of 2012 for a second violation of the minor league drug policy. He reportedly tested positive for a drug of abuse, which he later identified as synthetic marijuana.
Zinicola went 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Double-A Harrisburg last year.
The Orioles have announced the addition of David Rovine, a Baltimore native and Towson University graduate, as vice president of Orioles-Sarasota to oversee the club’s Sarasota business affairs and community development.
In his new role, Rovine will represent the Orioles in the Sarasota County community, furthering the club’s presence through OriolesREACH and its many community programs and establishing and cultivating club partnerships with business, civic, charitable and non-profit organizations throughout the Greater Sarasota County and Gulf Coast regions.
In that capacity, Rovine will oversee the Orioles combined complex, located at the Ed Smith Stadium and Twin Lakes Park sites.
For the Red Sox:
These guys mean business.
Over in Tampa, Conor Jackson’s RBI single scored Alexi Casilla, who led off with a walk, and gave the Orioles a quick 1-0 lead over the New York Yankees. Steve Pearce followed with an RBI double, continuing his impressive spring. That’s three hits and four RBIs for Pearce in two games.
A throwing error allowed two more runs to score, and a wild pitch increased the Orioles’ lead to 5-0 while Jake Arrieta waits to take the mound in the bottom of the first.
Update: Pearce delivered a two-run single in the second inning. He’s got four hits and six RBIs in two games this spring. He also robbed Xavier Avery of a home run in an intrasquad game. We’ll count it.