Cashner throws first bullpen session with O’s (and other notes)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Chris Tillman spent this morning at the Ed Smith Stadium complex, but he hasn’t been cleared to join workouts until his new contract becomes official. Both sides are in a holding pattern, but an announcement could come later today. The Orioles are waiting to hear back from Tillman’s representative.

Tillman has agreed to a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $3 million. He can earn another $7 million in incentives.

Catcher Andrew Susac will be released from the hospital today after receiving treatment for a staph infection. Manager Buck Showalter said Susac will remain home for a few days and continue treatments.

Susac is trying to compete with Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns for backup job.

showalter-close-with-sunglasses.jpgAndrew Cashner threw his first bullpen session with the Orioles earlier today. His audience included Showalter, pitching coach Roger McDowell and starters Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cashner quickly shook off the rust and impressed with the movement on his pitches.

“He was good,” Showalter said. “He’s right where he needs to be.”

The Orioles are glad to have Cashner on their side. He’s made three career starts against them and allowed five earned runs over 21 innings for a 2.14 ERA. He has a 1.000 WHIP.

“He’s pitched well against us and you’re always kind of curious of completely why, because you’re not allowed to stand behind him during games or while he’s warming up, but you can see why,” Showalter said.

“We do a sheet on the pitcher we’re facing that night, percentage of pitches thrown, a lot of facts and different stuff, holding runners and all the stuff,” Showalter said. “It’s a lot of information and I gave it to him yesterday. I said, ‘Tell me if we were off,’ and he said, ‘No, you all were right on it.’ He said, ‘How did I stick it up your butts?’ I said, ‘It’s a great example of, you can know what a guy’s doing or is going to try to do and if they can execute it, it doesn’t really matter.”

Showalter hasn’t decided when Cashner will make his Grapefruit League debut.

“I think Roger and Alan (Mills) are going to wait until after he’s had a couple side sessions to decide that, and listen to him a little bit,” Showalter said. “There’s still plenty of time.”

Bundy and Gausman watched Cashner throw and walked over to him afterward to join the conversation. It’s become common for the other starters to watch the various side sessions as a show of support.

“That’s not forced,” Showalter said. “Zach (Britton) was talking about the comfort zone that gets created for players when they come into here new, and it comes from things like that.

“I know Bundy is pretty excited. He and Cashner have a lot in common. And Tillman. We’re going to have to restock the pond.”

Tillman’s addition will make 10 starters in camp. Showalter isn’t dropping anyone at the moment.

Nineteen of the Orioles’ 32 exhibition games are against the American League East or the Twins, their opening day opponent. Showalter wants to avoid pitching Cashner and his top starters and relievers against them in the spring.

At least one more starter could be added before the Orioles break camp, and they already have 36 pitchers in camp, not counting Tillman. They’re playing an intrasquad game on Thursday and two or three B games to provide a sufficient number of innings.

Showalter had a pretty good idea that the Orioles would make a series of moves early in camp, which is why he warned fans to remain patient.

“I think if things work out and we stay healthy here, we’ll have a chance to have some depth that we haven’t had before,” Showalter said.

Asked whether his outlook on the team has changed over the past week, Showalter paused and said, “I like the fact that Andrew has pitched in the American League before. It did weigh in his favor when we were talking about him and handicapping the guys who were available.

“You’re counting on young pitchers like Gausman and Dylan to continue to make an upward climb and I don’t see any reason why that can’t happen. And we all know what Chris is capable of. And that fifth spot is almost as exciting to me about the possibilities of what could happen there. But what it does more than anything is it allows us to be deeper than those five.

“I think it kind of pushes things the way they’re supposed to be. There are some guys out there who probably don’t like that, but there’s jobs still to be won there. We’ve got four or five on that pitching staff that we’re pretty open-minded going into this thing.”

Cashner Throws Spring Tall.PNGAndrew Cashner throws a bullpen session during Orioles spring training.

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