Positive reports from extended spring training

NEW YORK - Besides the full-season minor league affiliates that began playing this month, the extended spring training games in Sarasota also hold a great deal of importance to the Orioles.

Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia served as the designated hitter again for the second straight day and is scheduled to play right field on Monday and Tuesday. The Orioles are close to assigning him to an affiliate, with Double-A Bowie his likely destination.

Steve Johnson pitched three innings today and Tsuyoshi Wada pitched two. Manager Buck Showalter said reports indicated that their velocity was good.

"Everything went well, real well," Showalter said. "We'll wait and see how they feel tomorrow, but today was a good step for them."

Wada's workload will increase by one inning in each appearance.

"Today was a big day to get through," Showalter said. "I think the big day will be tomorrow, seeing how he feels afterward facing hitters and pitching in a game."

Johnson, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right lat, is approaching an injury rehab assignment with one of the affiliates.

Second baseman Brian Roberts, on the DL with a ruptured tendon behind his right knee, hasn't started baseball activities.

"He's just getting treatment and everything," Showalter said.

Orioles designated hitters are 1-for-33. Someone in the media floated the theory to Showalter that it's harder for players to sit on the bench in cold weather and be productive when it's their to bat.

Showalter stuck a pin in that theory.

"Is everybody in the American League 1-for-33?" Showalter asked. "It makes sense on paper, but our guys would tell you that's a little bit of an excuse. We just haven't gotten a lot out of it yet, but we will. We will."

Following Monday's off day, Jake Arrieta will start Tuesday and Chris Tillman will start Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards.

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