FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey, but they scored only once on Quintin Berry’s sacrifice fly to the warning track in right field.
Steve Clevenger led off with a single, making him 8-for-17 this spring. Nolan Reimold walked and Jonathan Schoop lined a single into left field, making him 10-for-21.
Is that good?
Reimold held up on a ground ball down the third base line, perhaps assuming it would go foul, and was tagged out after breaking late for the plate.
If you’re trying to keep track of all the lineup changes today, make note that Henry Urrutia has moved to left field and Xavier Paul is in right.
Urrutia singled in the first, making him 7-for-21.
Wei-Yin Chen retired the first five Twins before issuing a two-out walk to Chris Parmelee. Nothing good comes from a two-out walk.
Darin Mastroianni reached on an infield hit to short, Schoop failing to make the backhanded stop, and Eduardo Escobar lined an RBI single into right field to tie the game.
Chen threw 11 pitches, eight for strikes in the first, and 23/14 in the second. His fastball has ranged from 88-94 mph and mostly sits at 91.
Update: Chen went four innings today, allowing one run and three hits, walking one and striking out three. He threw 61 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Chen has allowed one run and four hits over seven innings in his last two starts.
Update II: Urrutia hit his first spring home run, an opposite-field shot in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie. He’s 2-for-3 today.
Manager Buck Showalter offered to announce his opening day starter on a slow news day. He wouldn’t do it today.
Not that it’s been slow.
Chris Tillman should get the ball on March 31 against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.
Asked about the changes in Tillman over the past few seasons, Showalter said, “I think Chris in a lot of ways graduated. He just did. You can see it in spring training. You see it a little bit with Zach (Britton). Most guys when they are out of options, they go one way or another that spring. Tilly walked around here (last year) like, ‘OK, here it is. It’s come to a head now, let’s go.’
“It’s his whole presentation. When you get a veteran pitching coach like Dave (Wallace) and Dom Chiti, who go, ‘Hey, this guy carries himself like one of those guys...’ He’s very approachable. I’m proud of Chris. He’s real fun to be around.”
How can Tillman move up to elite status?
“Stay on the path he’s on,” Showalter replied. “He figured out how to eliminate damage in that inning or two he might get out of whack. He’s able to command the hitter. I’ve seen him almost invent pitches, a cutter here, take a little something off the fastball. He’s learned that more isn’t always better.”
Earlier today, the Orioles optioned Dylan Bundy to Double-A Bowie, which basically is a paper move. He can continue his rehab at Twin Lakes Park, but also may throw at Ed Smith Stadium complex.
“It’s the same thing whether he’s really here or there as far as what we get done with him,” Showalter said. “Dave Walker’s been with him the whole offseason. He has a throw day on the 19th. I’d be surprised if he didn’t do it at Ed Smith.
“I’d rather (Bundy be) right there with Chris Correnti. Dave’s got his hands full with a lot of players.”
Bundy will throw off a flat mound on March 19, 21 and 24.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher more excited to throw off a flat mound,” Showalter said. “As he said, a right-handed catcher and somebody who has to put on equipment to protect all parts of your body because of the way he’s throwing.”
Showalter remains encouraged by Bundy’s progress.
“Yeah, he’s ready. I think he’s going to respond real well to this,” Showalter said.
“I don’t want to say he learned something. I think the whole experience in the long haul has probably been good for him. It’s made him kind of step back and once again realize that more is not always better. You don’t have to throw 20 medicine balls up against the wall. You’ve got train smart, but I don’t care how great a shape somebody’s in, the human body needs time to recover.”