DUNEDIN, Fla. - The Blue Jays scratched Jose Bautista from today’s lineup due to hamstring tightness.
In other words, the outfield is wet and they’re not taking any chances with him.
Dioner Navarro led off with a single into left-center field as left-hander Tim Berry warmed in the Orioles bullpen. Wright retired the next two batters, striking out Caleb Gindl, but Colabello cleared the tall fence in right field.
Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first by reaching on an infield hit. Everth Cabrera couldn’t make the backhanded stop up the middle. Russell Martin popped up, Edwin Encarnacion struck out and Josh Donaldson flied to center field.
Wright is charged with two runs and four hits in two innings, with no walks and two strikeouts. Catcher J.P. Arencibia was charged with a passed ball.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey opened the game by striking out Alejandro De Aza and Everth Cabrera, walking Chris Parmelee and striking out former Blue Jay Travis Snider. He retired the side in order in the second, inducing a pop-up from former Blue Jay Arencibia, a ground ball from Henry Urrutia and a fly ball from David Lough.
Rookie first baseman Christian Walker is on today’s trip and figures to replace Parmelee at first base.
Walker’s locker is next to Chris Davis inside the Orioles clubhouse. A little mentoring, perhaps?
“It wasn’t anything that deep, but I like to have him there near Chris,” said manager Buck Showalter.
“They are all our guys. We sort of take that hazing rookie thing (out of it). If you’re wearing our colors and come over, that shouldn’t be part of it. Our guys are very welcoming. That’s a guy who maybe can help us. He came up last year and handled himself well.”
Walker has a shot at making the opening day roster for one day while Davis completes his suspension. Someone needs to fill that spot.
“They know we’re going to be carrying somebody other than Chris Davis the first game of the year, so they’d like to win that one-day ‘Price is Right,’ ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ thing behind Door No. 2,” Showalter said.
“The thing I really want to do is build trust in his defense at first base. He had never played in September and hadn’t really played a whole lot in August. It’s a long year for him and a lot of those guys. Jonathan (Schoop) talked about it a lot last year.
“He’s got to maintain a level of defense. I think he can hit up here. It’s just a matter of how good his defense is going to be, which is going to allow you to keep him out here.”
The Orioles signed right-hander Elih Villanueva, 28, to a minor league deal, as first reported by Baseball America. Villanueva made one appearance in the majors with the Marlins in 2011 and allowed eight runs and five hits in three innings, with five walks, two strikeouts and a home run.
That’s not why the Orioles wanted him.
Villanueva led the Dominican Winter League with a 2.63 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings after going 10-10 with a 4.47 ERA in 27 starts for Triple-A New Orleans.
Update: Berry allowed a run in the third and the Orioles trail 3-0.
Berry allowed one hit, walked two, struck out one and hit a batter.
The Orioles are hitless through four innings against Dickey and Drew Hutchison.