Game, cuts and Cal

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles' regulars go back to work today.

They've basically been given a three-day reprieve. No game on Monday, a road game on Tuesday, a minor league workout yesterday disguised as a game against Team Spain.

The Orioles remain in Sarasota today, and they're playing the Toronto Blue Jays for the third time this spring - and the first away from Dunedin. Most of the regulars will be in the lineup, with the exception of right fielder Nick Markakis, who will take off a few more days to loosen up that neck, and Adam Jones, who's playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Jason Hammel makes his second start of the spring. He blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates on one hit in two innings in his debut, striking out two batters.

No other pitchers were listed in yesterday's game notes, but Hammel won't go nine innings. I'll pass along the other names when I get my hands on today's notes.

Anything else going on today?

Well, we're expecting four to six players to be reassigned to minor league camp. They're called "cuts," but that doesn't mean they're being released from the organization. Just cut from the major league camp roster.

Showalter may reassign a few in the morning and a few more shortly before the game. At times, he's also performed the task after the game, and he dreads it.

It's a comfort to Showalter that he can point to last year's mile-long list of transactions - the club used 52 players - and convince many of this spring's outgoing players that they have a real chance of getting to the majors later this summer. Camden Yards has become the land of opportunity.

Anything else going on today?

Well, Cal Ripken is stopping by Ed Smith Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign copies of his new children's book, "Wild Pitch," on the lower concourse from 2-4 p.m. The media will get a few minutes with him during the game, so you can expect his name to pop up in a blog entry.

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