Cuts and more questions coming with no game today

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles weren’t supposed to play an exhibition game this afternoon until it became a late addition to the revamped post-lockout schedule, necessitating another trip to Lakeland to face the Tigers.

So much for that idea.

It wasn’t fun while it lasted.

The teams agreed to cancel due to a shortage of pitching, with the announcement coming as the Orioles returned to Sarasota following a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin. The minor league camp is ahead of the majors and players are scattering. Triple-A Norfolk opened its season last night.

The Orioles finished with an 8-8-2 record. The camp roster is down to 37 players with infielder Shed Long Jr. and pitcher Rico Garcia listed on Norfolk’s seven-day injured list.

Catcher Adley Rutschman and pitcher Isaac Mattson aren’t making the club. That’s 35.

I feel like we’ve done this before.

Two backup catchers will be removed, whether today or by noon Thursday.

Reliever Dillon Tate is a lock unless his sore throat and lack of appearances since March 26 keep him away from the opening day roster.

Infielder Jorge Mateo is a lock unless the pitch that nailed him in the right hand yesterday forces him onto the injured list. The Orioles didn’t have the results of his X-rays.

Richie Martin isn’t on the 40-man roster and the two current openings are going to the backup catcher and, most likely, utility player Chris Owings. His chances improve if Mateo’s hand isn’t just bruised. Otherwise, the Orioles could keep two extra outfielders in DJ Stewart and Ryan McKenna.

Martin pinch-ran for Mateo yesterday and replaced him at shortstop. He lined a double into left field against Jordan Romano with two outs in the ninth inning, making him 9-for-22 this spring with five doubles, one home run, nine RBIs and three walks.

“He changed his setup, so he’s got a closed setup,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s really trying to stay on the baseball. Richie is so strong that a lot of times in the past he let the ball kind of get deep and beat him, and right now he’s catching the balls out in front. And the pull-side double right there off a really good bullpen arm.

“Swinging the bat with some confidence.”

Will he be swinging it in the majors or Triple-A?

Camp is closing after four workout days and 18 games. No one said it was going to be normal.

“They’ve done such a great job with moderating our workload and all that stuff, so it hasn’t felt rushed,” said reliever Joey Krehbiel. “Yeah, the days go by quick and it’s already almost done, two more days or whatever counting today, but they’ve done such a good job, I’m not any more sore, I don’t feel rushed. Yeah, it’s quick, but it wasn’t too bad.”

How close can the Orioles get to good in 2022?

Can they be a better team after losing 110 games last summer and trading relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser?

Trey Mancini believes it.

“Yeah, I do actually,” he said. “I think a lot of that just comes with a lot of the core guys. You see these two guys here next to me (Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins), they’re both, I believe, in their third seasons this year and it shows, the way they carry themselves and are starting to really lead the guys. (John) Means has certainly become a veteran, in my opinion. We’ve got a lot of guys who have experience and play really well, too, and that’s an important mix.

“I think we’ve got a lot of guys that you’ll see making their debuts this year that are going to be really good major league players, too. So, I think we’ve gotten better, and my job while I’m here for as long as I’m here is to help them and try to get this thing going in the right decision. This is my 10th season with the organization. Nobody wants to see it succeed more than me, so for as long as I’m here, I’m going to help try to do that.”

For as long as he’s here.

Tyler Wells was a Rule 5 selection last year who’s entering the rotation but staying out of any discussions about the state of the team.

“It’s not really my place to say,” he said yesterday after tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.

“Obviously, the clubhouse was a little bit different now with Tanner and Cole being gone. I mean, obviously those were two guys who helped me a lot last year, so to me it is a little bit different. And whether it’s a good or bad thing isn’t my place to say, but definitely going to miss those guys. But I’m hoping that some new guys can pick up those spots.”

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