The game will last eight to 10 innings, weather permitting. Rain is in the forecast, which would force some pitchers to throw indoors.
Nolan Reimold, Wilson Betemit and Taylor Teagarden will bat each inning. Betemit, who’s 1-for-17 with a home run this spring, approached manager Buck Showalter with a request to play in the game.
“I haven’t looked at the stat sheet all spring and probably won’t,” Showalter said. “I just look at plate appearances and innings played, try to keep that in order. But he wants to get in a little better place right now.”
“He felt a little better today, which is good,” Showalter said.
Showalter said more roster cuts could be made “Thursday-ish.”
Catcher Chris Robinson returns to Sarasota at 4 p.m. today after Canada was eliminated in the World Baseball Classic. He must be prepared to address the brawl with Mexico that directly involved him.
Tsuyoshi Wada is throwing off a regular mound again today back in Sarasota.
“He’s feeling good. That’s exciting. I hope we get another good report on him,” Showalter said.
Showalter doesn’t have any immediate plans to take Brian Roberts on the road this spring - it definitely won’t happen Wednesday night in Fort Myers - but the veteran second baseman’s workload soon could increase.
“You’re going to see a lot of stuff pick up after that split-squad game on the 17th,” Showalter said.
Roberts spoke to reporters at his locker this morning, and I’ll pass along his quotes later today.
“You can see how excited he is to be back in the flow of what he does,” Showalter said. “So far, so good. I know he’s not on the treatment sheet much at all. He feels like he’s in a good place body-wise”
Minor league infielder Brandon Waring was hit on the right side of the face or neck while taking ground balls at third base during batting practice, but he appeared to be fine. Reporters had their backs turned to the field while interviewing Showalter when the incident occurred.
Assistant athletic trainer Brian Ebel checked on Waring, who remained on his feet and pointed to the spot where the ball hit him before continuing with the workout.
Showalter explained why he included outfielder Xavier Avery in today’s cuts. Avery needs “some consistent at-bats to get where he needs to get. He’s gotten a little out of whack,” Showalter said.
“I think it’s good for him. We’ll bring him back.”
Showalter could sense that Avery, who struck out eight times in 11 at-bats, was putting too much pressure on himself.
“In his mind, he’s coming in here and every at-bat was like the World Series for him,” Showalter said. “I think it will help him. Two or three games down there and he’ll get back in step and relax a little bit. He had a little anxiety. But I’m pretty excited about his future. I think he was the youngest position player in Triple-A last year. He’s right where he needs to be. He’s in a good spot. But I’ll only bring him back if I can play him.”
Pitchers Zach Clark and Mike Belfiore, who also were cut today, will probably return to camp for Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Clark needs to get stretched out, but he’s presented himself well,” Showalter said.
“He can locate. He’s an option for us. Anytime you can locate a fastball, you’ve got a chance. A little sink. He’s got an idea about pitching. He reminds me of a couple other guys who impacted us as the year went on. But we’ve got to get him stretched out so he can start the year with Norfolk.”
Showalter said the club is “excited” to have Belfiore, who played first base and closed at Boston College and prefers to be a reliever instead of a starter if given the choice.
“He likes that mentality of being in a game potentially every day,” Showalter said. “He and Clark presented themselves well. If we had more innings, we would have kept them. But we can’t carry 56 players.”
Showalter was surprised when told that Zach Britton had been listed as today’s starter, with Jake Arrieta working in relief. Arrieta is starting, which Showalter said was the intended arrangement. Nothing more to it.