FORT MYERS, Fla. - So, anything interesting happen today in the World Baseball Classic?
Reporters here were glued to the press box televisions as the brawl unfolded between Canada and Mexico, and Orioles farmhand Chris Robinson was directly involved in it.
Robinson bunted for a hit with Canada leading 9-3 in the ninth. I’m pretty sure that’s a violation of baseball’s unwritten rule. Also, Robinson slid hard into second base earlier in the game, so Mexico’s players already were irritated with him.
I didn’t see any of it, but I’m going by various Twitter reports.
Manager Buck Showalter, already keeping close tabs on his players in the WBC, can’t be happy about Robinson being in the middle of an ugly brawl.
OK, back to JetBlue Park, where the Orioles continue to take batting practice before tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
Showalter decided to keep Manny Machado in Sarasota after checking various statistics and discussing it with bench coach John Russell. Machado has 20 plate appearances in eight games and has made most of the trips before tonight. He also underwent a root canal on Thursday.
Russ Canzler will start at third base instead of Machado, who most likely will be back in the lineup on Sunday.
“John and I looked at it yesterday,” Showalter said. “We keep that at-bats chart and plate appearances and innings played. Manny’s in great shape and I really wanted to get a look at Canzler at third base and get him some more at-bats. Manny’s going to get all the at-bats he needs here, for sure, but those at-bats are going to start diminishing for some of the guys here before too long and I don’t want to miss an opportunity. Also, the root canal a little bit.
“It had a lot to do with Canzler. Every three or four days we look at the plate appearances to make sure we’re on schedule to give everybody the same stuff, and Manny’s in a good place. And really want to take an opportunity to look at these guys as much as possible, make sure we make good decisions. Once we looked at it, it made more sense.”
Canzler, who’s 3-for-16 with two RBIs this spring - not counting his two homers and six RBIs against Team Spain - also can play first base and the outfield. If he makes the club, he could be part of a platoon with Wilson Betemit in the designated hitter slot.
“He was the MVP in the International League a year or so ago. You can see why,” Showalter said. “He’s shown an ability to drive in runs in his career, walk. We’ve got to look at him a couple of times at third.
“These games are great because you can see guys at this level. I hate to miss the opportunity to see not only Canzler but a lot of these guys, because these opportunities are going to start dwindling before long.”
Tsuyoshi Wada threw off a regular mound earlier today in Sarasota, using his fastball and change-up, and really impressed Showalter.
“Things went great,” Showalter said. “We’re real excited about it. He threw a little touch and feel the day before. That was just to get the ball in his hand.
“I understand in the last two years his arm extension has been (limited). With the surgery, it’s (fully extended). He’s getting the normal soreness (in his forearm) just from having his arm extended for the first time in a couple years. So that’s what Chris (Correnti) feels like he had there after the last time.
“He didn’t feel anything yesterday and today it went real well. Pretty impressive. He’s throwing the ball, fastball and change-up, and that’s pretty fun to watch him throw because it just reminds me of what he can be for us. He’s got a chance to be pretty good. If we get him back in May, it bodes well. I’m excited about where he is.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and see what the schedule bears.”
Showalter told reporters that Wada threw 15 pitches off a half-mound yesterday, focusing mainly on mechanics, but today “was the real deal.”
The Orioles could place Wada on the 60-day disabled list before breaking camp if they need an opening on the 40-man roster, which would prevent the left-hander from pitching until after May 30.
“If we needed that spot, we’d do it,” Showalter said. “It’s also kind of good in a way that he doesn’t get any false hopes, because we’re not going to pitch him before the season. If we need that spot, he’s still a candidate.
“Hopefully, we don’t need the spot. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to have him kind of get that out of his head. All you have got to do is walk past him and see his face and you can tell how he feels.”
The intrasquad game on Tuesday will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the main or Camden Yards field at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. It won’t be open to the public.
Jason Hammel will be one of the starters for the game, which Showalter estimated will last between eight and 10 innings and include hitters from the minor league complex.