Orioles option Evan Phillips (plus split-squad lineups)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles reliever Evan Phillips didn’t allow a run this spring in 9 2/3 innings.

He still didn’t make the opening day roster.

Phillips has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, reducing the camp roster to 34 players. Pitcher Gregory Infante is excluded on my list because he never reported due to illness.

Two more scoreless innings last night against the Twins couldn’t save Phillips, though it’s always possible that the Orioles bring him back to replace an injured player.

For example, if starter Alex Cobb goes on the injured list with a groin strain.

“I don’t want to say that I’m surprised,” said Phillips, acquired from the Braves in July as part of the Kevin Gausman/Darren O’Day trade. “You know it was going to happen to somebody. I was focused on how I was pitching. I think the results were good, I thought I pitched really well, but I just want to build on that going forward.

“I wasn’t surprised or anything. No negative feelings by any means. There are things I still need to work on. That’s been my mindset all spring is to just get better.”

Could Phillips had done any better? He surrendered nine hits, walked three batters and struck out 10.

“Stats look good and everything, but there’s always things that could have gone better,” he said. “I don’t think I had a clean (outing) all spring. I think I had a couple three up, three downs, but there was a baserunner every time I was out there. There’s things I can work on, go down and develop my pitches.

“I don’t think I pitched perfect. Pretty much impossible to do as a pitcher. And I thought I pitched well, like I said, but there’s definitely other things I can do.”

The message given to Phillips this morning was basic and kept private, but it included how he just needs to continue working hard and getting results, stay ready, and he’ll rejoin the club at some point.

“Essentially, yeah,” he said. “I can’t really say what they said specifically, but they thought I pitched well and just to continue to do that down in Triple-A and stay ready.”

phillips-evan-delivers-orange-spring-sidebar.jpgPhillips, a 24-year-old Salisbury native, needed a restart after making five appearances last summer and allowing 11 earned runs (13 total) and walking six batters in 5 1/3 innings.

The impression left behind this spring, due in part to finding the right grip on his slider via the slow-motion cameras set up behind the mounds, is vastly different.

“That felt great, it felt absolutely wonderful to come up here and pitch so well in spring,” he said. “To end the year how I did and having a shoulder hiccup, as well, having a healthy spring training is the only thing I wanted. Being healthy was my primary key this whole spring training and I came out unscathed, so I can take that as a huge win.”

Catcher Pedro Severino reported to the Orioles this morning after they claimed him off waivers yesterday from the Nationals. He’s been assigned No. 28.

Severino was waiting to meet with manager Brandon Hyde. In the meantime, he’s surprised to be in Sarasota.

“It never crossed my mind going here, especially the spring training I had this year,” he said, “but I’m glad to be here right now.”

Severino never lived up to his status as a top prospect in the Nationals system, his bat lagging far behind his work behind the plate. Today marks a fresh start.

“I just come here and try to do my thing and just help the team over here,” he said. “Try to do my best and enjoy the game with my new family over here.”

Jesús Sucre is catching today in the split-squad game against the Pirates in Sarasota. Chance Sisco is the designated hitter.

For the Orioles
Jonathan Villar SS
Trey Mancini LF
Chris Davis 1B
Joey Rickard CF
Dwight Smith Jr. RF
Chance Sisco DH
Jesús Sucre C
Jace Peterson 2B
Hanser Alberto 3B

Andrew Cashner RHP

Relievers available today include Mychal Givens, Nate Karns and Tanner Scott.

Renato Núñez is starting at first base in the split-squad game against the Phillies in Clearwater and Rio Ruiz is at third base.

Ryan Mountcastle is the designated hitter. Carlos Pérez is catching. Drew Jackson (second base) and Richie Martin (shortstop) form a Rule 5 double play combination.

For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Rio Ruiz 3B
Renato Núñez 1B
Ryan Mountcastle DH
Drew Jackson 2B
Richie Martin SS
Chris Bostick LF
Carlos Pérez C
Ryan McKenna RF

Paul Fry LHP

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