Postgame comments from Steve Clevenger and Suk-min Yoon

SARASOTA, Fla. - Steve Clevenger’s main competitor for the backup catcher’s job, Johnny Monell, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after today’s game.

That leaves three catchers at big league camp with Matt Wieters, Clevenger and Caleb Joseph. After today’s game, manager Buck Showalter referred to Clevenger as “the leader in the clubhouse” for the No. 2 catcher’s job.

Clevenger said today’s news won’t change much for him right now.

“I’m just going to continue to do what I do,” he said. “Go out there, work hard and show them I can be that guy. Basically, until my name is announced on opening day, that’s when I’ll be on the team.

“I feel very comfortable with what I’ve done. Hitting and the main thing is catching. They’ve made a stern point from the beginning, it’s going to be catching that determines who wins the job. I feel that my catching has been up to par here.”

Clevenger went 0-for-1 in today’s game and he is still batting a robust .522 (12-for-23) with two doubles, a homer and six RBIs.

But the Baltimorean knows this is all about defense and as he said, that point has been hammered home from the start of spring camp. So how is he doing on the defensive end?

“Catching is receiving, calling a good game and basically throwing,” Clevenger said. “I think I’ve done all those this spring. While I haven’t really had chances to throw anybody out, receiving the ball and calling a game, I think I’ve done a good job.

“But like I said, I’ll know I made the opening day roster when my name is announced.”

yoon-looking-spring-training-sidebar.jpgKorean pitcher Suk-min Yoon was also optioned to Triple-A after today’s game and outfielder Xavier Paul was reassigned to minor league camp. The Orioles now have 43 players at major league spring training, including eight non-roster invitees.

Yoon’s lack of spring innings and later start to pitching in games due to the time it took to get his visa is the reason he is headed to minor league camp. The right-hander needs to build up innings and the Orioles are expected to build him up to be a starting pitcher. It then gives them the option to use him as a starter or reliever later in the majors.

Did Yoon expect today’s move?

“I’ve thought about it, but I wasn’t really expecting it,” he said through interpreter Justin Yoo. “Actually, I feel good right now and just want to maintain where I’m at.”

In his second O’s spring outing, Yoon pitched two innings today. He retired six of the seven batters he faced over the fifth and sixth innings in a 7-4 home loss to Tampa Bay.

Yoon, who today mixed in several off-speed pitches, retired the first two hitters after he came on to pitch the fifth, but then gave up a homer to Jayson Nix. He then got his last four hitters out, throwing 24 pitches, 18 for strikes.

He said he felt about the same as he did on Saturday when he pitched a scoreless inning against the Yankees in his first Orioles appearance. He feels he left a solid impression on manager Buck Showalter as he now heads to Twin Lakes Park.

“The main thing (Showalter) said is get my innings in and see you soon,” Yoon said.

“I could not get my innings (in here), that was the main thing. I was ready with my preparation, but could not get my innings in.”

Is he excited about the chance to start?

“Not really excited because I haven’t started here yet but we’ll see. ... I left a decent impression,” he said.

The Orioles fall to 10-7-1 with the loss and they are 1-5-1 in their last seven games. Bud Norris gets the start tomorrow night when the Orioles play the Pirates in Bradenton at 7:05 p.m.

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