SARASOTA, Fla. - Kevin Gausman dazzled the Orioles and Tsuyoshi Wada encouraged them.
Nick Markakis will undergo an MRI on his neck, Dylan Bundy’s velocity is down and Chris Tillman has been scratched from today’s start with abdominal soreness.
We had lots to discuss and debate yesterday. Who knew a trip to Fort Myers could bring so much information and angst?
Gausman’s outing against the Boston Red Sox was the highlight. He pumped upper-90s fastballs and crossed up hitters with a pluschange-up that belongs in any discussion about last year’s fourth overall pick. Nice slider, too.
Showalter keeps envisioning how much Wada could help the club later this summer, and he understands why executive vice president Dan Duquette wanted so badly to sign the Japanese left-hander last winter.
Wada won’t pitch in spring training and he probably won’t debut before June, but he really could be a nice addition in the middle of the season.
I’m not overly concerned about Markakis, Bundy or Tillman at this point, but if I had to rank them, Markakis would cause the most handwringing because this neck stiffness won’t go away.
Maybe he needs to sleep standing up for a few nights.
Bundy’s dip in velocity could simply be mechanical, as he suggested, or he may not be pushing off with the same force because of the groin issue. His arm is fine, as far as we know, but it’s something that will be monitored closely.
Maybe Jim Johnson can advise Bundy on how to handle velocity questions from the media.
We just found out about Tillman’s sore abdominal muscle late last night. It went away for a while, so that’s a good sign. It came back, which is at least a mild concern.
Maybe he needs to follow Sidney Ponson’s conditioning program. No abdominal muscles, no soreness.
Almost overlooked last night were the two scoreless innings from left-hander Mike Belfiore, who struck out four batters and didn’t issue a walk.
Belfiore, the PTBNL in the Josh Bell trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hasn’t allowed a run in three of his four appearances this spring. He’s surrendered eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, so they’re not completely clean outings, but he’s got the Orioles’ attention.
“He’s an athletic guy,” Showalter said. “You’ve got to keep in mind he’s a position-change guy. This guy was a position player not too long ago.”
Showalter and Duquette met yesterday, and one topic was whether Belfiore should be a starter or reliever. Belfiore has made only 44 starts among his 114 minor league games, none last season.
“That’s down the road,” Showalter said. “We’ve got to make that decision at some point this spring.”