More cuts are expected later today.
McCutchen allowed five runs in 7 1/3 innings this spring, all of them coming in a March 7 game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He lowered his arm slot after that outing, at the suggestion of manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair, and tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings over three appearances. He also picked up a save against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers.
Kevin Gausman is scheduled to pitch again in a Grapefruit League game, and he may get a start. Showalter said Gausman’s name is “on the board,” though he didn’t specify which date.
Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland also could make a start this spring.
Nick Markakis hit soft toss today as the second phase of his hitting progression. He will take batting practice on Sunday, and could do it again on Monday.
“He’ll probably do that for a couple days, at least,” Showalter said.
Showalter explained why Chris Tillman is pitching at Twin Lakes Park Sunday, rather than starting against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton. It’s just a precautionary move. The Orioles can backdate his placement on the disabled list if there’s a setback in his recovery from abdominal soreness. However, Tillman appears to be fine and the Orioles expect him to be ready for opening day.
“It’s just a safety thing to cover all our options,” Showalter said.
Tillman will throw four or five innings on Sunday.
“We think he’s going to be fine, but we just had to cover ourselves in case there’s a problem tomorrow,” Showalter said. “Everything’s been great. We’re just trying to be proactive instead of reactive. I don’t expect it to happen, but I’d rather get ahead of it.”
Tsuyoshi Wada continues to throw in the bullpen off a regular mound. He isn’t read to pitch in a simulated game.
Showalter noted that some of Wada’s sessions are “better than others.”
“The ball may not come out as well every time,” Showalter said. “He’s going to have those times.”
Showalter started Ryan Flaherty at third base and Wilson Betemit at first yesterday in Port Charlotte, and they changed positions every inning - just as Nate McLouth and Trayvon Robinson did in the outfield during a game in Fort Myers.
“They both made a great play at a different position, too,” Showalter said. “They enjoy it. They get a kick out of it. Wilson one time forgot his mitt.
“It was fun. I wanted Ryan to get some time at first and Wilson needed some time at first, but I also wanted Ryan to play third base.
“I was going to do the shortstop and second baseman, but I didn’t want to put Jonathan (Schoop) in harm’s way.”
Showalter said he won’t move players back and forth during regular-season games.
The Orioles will take batting practice in Sarasota before heading to Bradenton on Sunday. The forecast is calling for rain.