SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles most likely will have all of their roster cuts done today with the exception of one. This includes injured players going on the disabled list.
Nick Markakis led off today’s game with a single off Chris Tillman, and a sacrifice fly gave State College of Florida a 1-0 lead. Markakis walked leading off the second inning.
Tillman has allowed one run and one hit, with two walks and two strikeouts in two innings.
Russ Canzler had an RBI single in the bottom of the first for the Orioles after Lew Ford’s leadoff double.
Manager Buck Showalter isn’t in the dugout today. He’s on the back fields watching batting practice and meeting with players who are being sent out of camp.
Showalter won’t commit to batting Brian Roberts ninth throughout the season. He indicated that Roberts could move up later. In the meantime, Markakis and Nate McLouth are the leadoff candidates, and Nolan Reimold is an option down the road.
“With Brian, it’s the right thing right now, we feel like,” Showalter said. “I think as the season goes on, he’ll move up. This is the best way for us to start right now and let him get his feet on the ground. The guy’s really been out of action for a couple of seasons and I think this will take a little focus off. I just want to create the best situation for him to get started and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Roberts didn’t try to influence Showalter’s decision. He just wants to play.
“Brian’s been great,” Showalter said. “He’s like all our guys. He sees what’s going on here. You don’t do the things he’s done in his career without having a lot of competitive fire. I look forward to him working his way up. I’d rather work him up instead of ... I know a lot of the focus has always been on him and it will be more so this year. It also makes a pretty good batting order for us, especially with who he’s got hitting behind him.
“You guys saw what we did last year. This is a team that, I trust them and they trust me and we’re going to present the front for whoever’s pitching that night. Some lineups will be different according to who we’re facing that night. I feel good that we’ve got three or four options there (at leadoff) that are capable of doing the job and we’re going to use their skills accordingly.
“I think Robby, he sees what went on last year with the needs we had and you can hit him about anywhere in the order. When you look at lineups, especially in the American League East, you look at how you stack up with other teams seven, eight and nine. And the batting order means one time around for sure. He might lead off some innings. I think it’s the best way for him to get off (to a good start). We’re all going to have enough challenges as it is without creating some that we don’t have to.
“I want to take some of the pressure off him and let him get started at something he hasn’t really done for a couple of seasons.”
Update: The 25-man roster is taking shape, as left-hander Brian Matusz has made the team as a reliever, utility man Ryan Flaherty has made the club and outfielder Chris Dickerson has been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.
The order of the rotation is starting to become clearer as well. Right-hander Jake Arrieta will start the fourth game of the season, meaning he’ll take the ball for the third straight Orioles home opener.