SARASOTA, Fla. - The visiting Orioles swept the two-game intrasquad series from the home team at Ed Smith Stadium with today’s 3-0 victory.
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Tim Berry reached his pitch count in the top of the fourth, walking two batters and giving up an infield hit to Julio Borbon.
Orioles video coordinator Michael Silverman was allowed to work the plate in the top of the fifth. Manager Buck Showalter said Silverman made the right call on Schoop.
“He got a little cold-footed in the meeting this morning. I didn’t think he was going to pull the trigger,” Showalter said of Silverman. “Now, all the pitchers want him. We’ve got somebody who will call strike three.
“It’s a lot easier for Jonathan to take if he’s hit a home run that day and had a good day. He’s playing with house money.”
Schoop has two home runs in two intrasquad games.
“Obviously, all the baby fat is gone and it looks like all the growth platelets have closed,” Showalter said. “Jon’s in a good place. I think he’s had some very good role models. And as I’ve said before with Jonathan, it’s a matter of when, not if. That’s what we’ll try to judge here. He’s off to a pretty good start here. That’s for sure.”
Weeks made a leaping catch at second base yesterday and had a single and walk today. He also showed off his speed by taking second on the fly ball.
“Jemile has a chance to impact us as a second baseman this year,” Showalter said. “So far, so good. He’s fit right in. He’s a plus runner. A lot of people forget this guy hit .300 in the big leagues for a season. Not many guys out there who have done that. You know it’s there. And he also gives us flexibility with him having an option, though we’re not going to use that against him.”
Henry Urrutia singled, walked and threw out a runner from right field on Wednesday. He singled and stole a base today, and also lined out to center field.
“He had a baserunning mistake yesterday. So did some other guys,” Showalter said. “He’s got one of those swings that, his bat stays in the zone a long time, his ball seems to have top spin and get through the infield. He hits some slicing balls that are hard to defend.
“I said before, if you look at all his stops with the exception maybe of one level, he’s handled every level statistically if you just go by batting average. The power is there. It’s just, you don’t want to sacrifice the average sometimes for that. Henry’s got a chance to be a pretty good offensive player.”
Showalter also said Urrutia has gotten better at focusing on his defense and baserunning, putting more emphasis on it.
“His outfield work has obviously improved, his return for it. He looks a lot more comfortable out there,” Showalter said.
“This guy was a center fielder in Cuba. He played a lot of corner, too. He’s got a lot of pride.”
Outfielder Francisco Peguero, who’s out of options, singled off Bud Norris in the first inning and later reached on an error.
“Peguero’s impressive,” Showalter said. “I like him. He can do some things. He’s athletic. He can play all three (positions). He’s got some energy to his game.”
Reliever Alfredo Aceves will return to Sarasota tonight and work out on Friday. He left camp to obtain his visa in Mexico.
Reliever Mike Belfiore is full-go after undergoing an X-ray on his left pinky finger. Belfiore has a tiny fracture on the tip, caused by a ground ball, but he’s continued to throw.
“No issues. I’m good to go,” he said.
Outfielder Quintin Berry is nearing a return from the back spasms that forced him out of a recent workout.
“Berry was really good today,” Showalter said. “He should be joining us shortly.”
The Orioles begin their Grapefruit League schedule on Friday with a trip to Port Charlotte. Chris Tillman and Zach Britton are slated to each work two innings, “if Tampa Bay allows it,” Showalter said.
The Rays are starting former Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard.
“We’re ready to take the next step,” Showalter said.
Here are pictures from today’s intrasquad game.