SARASOTA, Fla. - Tsuyoshi Wada threw in the bullpen today and is ready to take the next significant step in his quest to join the Orioles’ staff. He’s no longer throwing only to prove that he’s recovered from ligament-reconstructive surgery on his left elbow. The focus is shifting in a positive direction.
It’s about pitching now, not his recovery.
“The rehab part of it is 10 months today or yesterday,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Now he’s going to progress to baseball functionability. This breaking ball is going to start. It’s exciting to watch him throw. A lot of work on his part and other people’s. Now we move to the next part of it, and that’s the baseball part of it. Locating his pitches, spinning the ball.
“It’s about, ‘I’m working on something that helps me get people out,’ as opposed to, ‘Am I healthy?’ Now he’s got that part - I’m not going to say behind us - but he’s ready for the next step and that’s to get ready to pitch in baseball games for us. That’s exciting for everybody because he can help us.”
Wada, Chris Tillman and Daniel McCutchen threw bullpen sessions today.
Minor league catcher Luis Martinez has been cleared to play today in a Triple-A game at Twin Lakes Park. He’s fully recovered from a strained left oblique and will eventually get a look in major league camp.
Showalter stated the obvious today when asked whether Luis Exposito has a chance to win the backup catching job.
“If Tea (Taylor Teagarden) is healthy, he will be our second catcher,” Showalter replied.
Showalter likes Exposito’s offensive skills, and Chris Robinson can “really handle a staff and catch and call a game.”
“And he can bunt,” Showalter added with a grin.
Robinson’s bunt for Canada in the World Baseball Classic remains a classic story at spring training.
The Orioles are expected to make a few cuts today or Friday.
Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon will pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday against the Orioles’ split squad in Clearwater. Jason Hammel will start for the Orioles.