SARASOTA, Fla. - Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland will make his first start of the spring on Monday against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium.
Zach Britton was listed as the starter before being optioned today.
With Jake Arrieta going from being Tuesday’s starter against the Minnesota Twins to pitching at minor league camp, it’s probably safe to assume he’s going to be named the fifth starter. You can read something into it.
The Orioles are expected to make one or two cuts Sunday morning.
Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t discouraged by Wei-Yin Chen’s outing today.
“He’s fine,” Showalter said. “Arm feels good, slider’s a little better today. I was happy with him. I wish he could have gotten a couple more ups, but he got his pitch count in. It’s one of those days. Not a good day to give up fly balls to left field. Of course, it was there for us, too.
“I thought his velocity was good. I’m fine where he is.”
Showalter discussed the decision to option Britton.
“He’s got some guys ahead of him right now. It’s as simple as that,” Showalter said.
“He has potential to change that. But Zach needs to go pitch and get himself ready to come up here and help us if we need it.”
Showalter said Britton needs to be more consistent.
“At the major league level, it’s about people who consistently gives you a chance to win the game and Zach’s capable of doing that. We’ll see. I think Zach’s smart enough, mature enough to know where this is right now and where it could be down the road. I don’t have any doubt he’s going to go down there and do the things it takes for us to continue to think good things about him, and we do.”
Showalter referred to infielder Jonathan Schoop, who will start out playing shortstop at Triple-A Norfolk, as “tough to send out, too.”
“I like watching him play, especially yesterday,” Showalter said.
Schoop went 3-for-4 with a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte.
“It’s time for him to go get his at-bats consistently,” Showalter said. “I thought about playing him tomorrow, but the way the weather looks, I really don’t want to do that. It’s time for him to go down there and get ready for his season. He’s got 40-something plate appearances, so he’s right where he needs to be.
“I also want to send him out on a good note. I want to make him top that one.”
Showalter asked Schoop today which position he would choose to play every day.
“He wouldn’t give it up,” Showalter said. “Basically, he said, ‘As long as I get a chance to swing the bat, you can put me wherever you want to.’ I said, ‘Left field?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Catch?’ He said, ‘Um, no.’
Showalter thinks Schoop is capable of playing shortstop, second base and third base.
“We’re going to start him out at the most difficult one, from what I understand, and go from there,” Showalter said.