Orioles option Yacabonis (and other notes, O’s down 5-2)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles reduced their camp roster to 38 players today by optioning reliever Jimmy Yacabonis to Triple-A Norfolk.

The cuts will come in waves, according to manager Buck Showalter, who meets with each individual.

Jimmy-Yacabonis-gray-sidebar.jpgYacabonis made eight appearances and allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings. He walked five batters and struck out seven.

Showalter intended to meet with his starting pitchers before announcing the opening day starter, news that should arrive on Friday. He also wanted to talk to relievers who figured to comprise the back end of the bullpen, “the way that’s going to go down.”

“It’s that time of spring where you really want to show your hand, what you’re thinking, and also where they’re coming from,” Showalter said. “Same way with the batting order. I’ve been doing some things with the batting order this morning, talking to some guys so they’re not surprised, and also get some feedback from them.”

Alex Cobb threw today and “he drew quite an audience,” Showalter said.

Showalter and pitching coach Roger McDowell met with Cobb this morning to go over a plan designed to get him ready to rejoin the club in April.

“We got a really good feel for what he’s thinking and what he’s been doing, kind of putting the program together,” Showalter said. “We’re not set in stone with it, but it’s obvious watching him today that he’s been throwing a lot. He’s not that far away. But we want make sure, much like Zach (Britton), that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got a couple dates in mind but we’ll see how the first couple go.”

Cobb will have to build up innings at extended spring training before the Orioles option him to an affiliate. Simulated games can be arranged for him.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a game,” Showalter said. “It can be very much like what Andrew (Cashner) and some of these guys have been doing.”

The Orioles aren’t allowed to put Cobb on the disabled list because he isn’t hurt. He granted permission as part of contract negotiations to be optioned, a right he accrued through service time.

Showalter said Chris Tillman also “threw the ball well” today. Tillman is scheduled to start Saturday against the Twins in Sarasota.

Dylan Bundy remains the starter for Friday’s game against the Rays. Showalter hasn’t revealed his starter for Sunday’s Grapefruit League finale against the Phillies in Clearwater.

Showalter didn’t get to manage Brian Roberts during the two-time All-Star’s peak years, but he still gained an appreciation of the former leadoff hitter who’s set for induction into the Orioles Hall of Fame on Aug. 11.

“I got to see enough of him and he went through some good periods with us, too,” Showalter said. “Brian could beat you in all phases of the game - with his feet, his glove, his arm. A very accurate thrower, power, a doubles machine. Tell me a leadoff hitter like him in today’s game. There is none. Elusively, you’re always looking for a leadoff hitter like Brian and I don’t think we’re going to find him. It’s very deserving. He was something.

“You first see him, he’s not a guy that you just pump a fastball in there 2-0. You didn’t feel like you were getting an advantage left- or right-handed. I mean, it was a tough matchup. He’s a guy you were looking at how many more times can you keep him from hitting, because it seemed like good things always happened. And he made himself into a good second baseman, too. I know what he meant to our club when he was healthy and available.

“It was tough on him the last couple years. Can you imagine being that good of a player and not being able to get on the field as much? It had to be frustrating.”

Update: Mike Wright Jr. retired the side in order on 11 pitches in the first inning, but he allowed four runs and four hits with a walk in the second. Christian Vazquez hit a solo home run, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Mookie Betts had RBI doubles and Deven Marrero had an RBI single.

Update II: Tim Beckham hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to reduce the lead to 4-2, but Danny Valencia replaced him at third base in the top of the third.

Update III: The Red Sox scored an unearned run in the third on Chance Sisco’s throwing error after back-to-back two-out singles, incresing the lead to 5-2.

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