SARASOTA, Fla. - Who’s up for another road trip?
The Orioles are heading to Port Charlotte this morning to play the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s a nice facility with a press box that seats about three reporters from the visiting media - with two obstructed views. But everything else about the place is fairly impressive.
Wei-Yin Chen makes his 2013 Grapefruit League debut today, followed by Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton and Daniel McCutchen.
Hunter was supposed to go two or three innings Thursday in Fort Myers before the rain out in Bradenton caused the Orioles to adjust his schedule.
Alex Cobb is starting for the Rays, followed by Fernando Rodney, Juan Sandoval, Alex Torres, Brandon Gomes and Josh Lucke.
On March 9, 2012, Nolan Reimold was hit on the left side of the face by a Cobb fastball. Same pitcher, same ballpark.
Here’s the story.
Reimold was taken to Peace River Hospital. Reporters checked on him daily, using the eye-test to measure how much the swelling had gone down on his face. He returned to the lineup a lot faster than anticipated.
Looking back on that day, it’s interesting to find how many players are no longer with the team. Scott Beerer pinch-ran for Reimold. Endy Chavez moved from right to left field. Robert Andino and Nick Johnson batted before Reimold.
Beerer and Johnson have retired. Chavez signed with the Kansas City Royals. Andino was traded to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Trayvon Robinson.
Reimold isn’t expected to make the trip today, but not because he’s avoiding Cobb or Charlotte Sports Park. He’s got a sore right shoulder.
Tsuyoshi Wada is supposed to throw his third bullpen session off a regular mound this morning, though his interpreter/athletic trainer, Seob Yoon, didn’t seem certain about it when I approached him yesterday. That’s what manager Buck Showalter told us a few days ago. Yoon is just waiting for the Orioles to confirm those plans this morning.
It’s difficult and unwise to make judgements on players this early in spring training - the Orioles are only seven games into their Grapefruit League schedule - but Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland needs to settle in and start getting hitters out.
McFarland allowed another run yesterday, with a hit and a walk. In three appearances, he’s surrendered three runs and four hits, and walked three batters, in 2 1/3 innings. That amounts to an 11.57 ERA.
Factor in the intrasquad game, when he labored through one inning, and the only positive impression in camp has come during side sessions.
The Orioles will give him plenty of chances. They obviously liked what they saw in 2012 or they wouldn’t have selected him from the Cleveland Indians’ organization. Double-A Bowie manager Gary Kendell praised McFarland after watching him pitch for Akron. The reports on him suggest that he could stick in the majors this year.
Now it’s time to show why.
Well, not today. He isn’t scheduled to pitch again until next week.