Orioles playing home exhibition opener today

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles will try to make it two in a row today and we’ll all try to make it through the day without shedding anymore tears.

Yesterday took a lot out of us.

Miguel Gonzalez gets the start for the Orioles after bullpen sessions and live batting practice didn’t bring a recurrence of his back spasms.

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Drew Hutchinson, in case you were considering a wager.

Manager Buck Showalter kept most of his regulars back in Sarasota yesterday, but he will write out a more representative lineup this afternoon in the home opener.

Let’s see whether Nick Markakis is atop the order and where Showalter slots Nelson Cruz, who will make his Grapefruit League debut as an Oriole. Who bats second with Manny Machado still waiting to be cleared for games? Does Adam Jones bat cleanup or Chris Davis?

Who plays third base in Machado’s absence? It could be Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar, who started yesterday. It could be Alex Gonzalez, who started at shortstop yesterday but has been taking ground balls with Machado at third.

Ryan Flaherty could eventually shift to the hot corner, but not yet. Showalter wants him focused on playing second base, where he could be starting on opening day.

The battle at second base already has intensified. Jemile Weeks came up big this week despite wearing the smallest number in camp. Jonathan Schoop homered in both intrasquad games and drew a walk in his first at-bat yesterday after pinch-hitting for Weeks.

I’ll be posting the lineups shortly. The clubhouse opens to the media at 8:15 a.m.

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