Orioles sign Julio Borbon to minor league deal (Wright update)

TAMPA - The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Julio Borbon to a minor league deal. He’s expected to report tonight to Twin Lakes Park.

The contract doesn’t include an invitation to spring training.

Borbon, 30, has spent the past two seasons at Triple-A Norfolk. He batted .269/.299/.321 in 114 games last season and occasionally was praised by Orioles manager Buck Showalter for his defensive excellence, though the club didn’t purchase his contract.

Borbon hit .288/.342/.356 in 124 games at Norfolk in 2014. He’s a career .272/.318/.347 hitter in parts of four major league seasons, most recently appearing in 72 games with the Cubs in 2013.

Minor league shortstop Ozzie Martinez, who crashed into Garabez Rosa and had symptoms of whiplash, worked out this morning and should be “back in the mix” on Saturday, according to Showalter.

Showalter spoke again today to Pedro Alvarez before heading to Tampa.

Angry-bird-bag-sidebar.jpg“I talked to him some today about when he’s going to play,” Showalter said. “See how the next few days go, but I’m hoping Sunday or Monday.”

Alvarez worked out on the half-field this morning and is eager to get into the lineup.

“He’s wanting to go 100 miles an hour the first day, and (I) try to remind him he’s not really behind,” Showalter said. “Just acclimating him to the team’s defense, what the signals are for that and trying to catch up. As long as physically we feel OK, the sooner he gets in the mix and gets in the baseball flow, it will take him a day or two. The memory bank will kick in. He was wanting to play today.”

The Orioles may attempt to get Alvarez around 30 plate appearances before breaking camp.

“I’m just kind of feeding off him and letting him ... there’s plenty of ways to get at-bats,” Showalter said. “We’re not going to run him into the ground, but he’ll have plate appearances. He’ll be ready to go.”

Showalter isn’t certain when Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman will make their next appearances, but it won’t be in the same game. They pitched yesterday against the Pirates in a B game on Field 4.

The plan is to have Tillman face an upgraded level of competition. Not another B game, no traveling high school teams.

Showalter was asked about Bryce Harper’s published comments regarding baseball trying to take the fun out of the game, which seems to have struck a nerve in certain circles.

Personally, I don’t see any reason to bat-flip out over it, but let’s hear from Showalter.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Showalter said. “I think the biggest thing is every little thing that is said and presented is seen and heard. I think sometimes we lose sight of how many things kind of went on back then that weren’t always public.

“Harper plays his ass off. Good thing he’s not in our league. We have to play him every year, though.”

As for today’s game, Mike Wright retired the first two Yankees on three pitches before allowing two runs and three hits. Alex Rodriguez singled, Mark Texiera doubled and Brian McCann looped a two-run single into shallow center field.

Starlin Castro struck out on Wright’s 20th pitch. The right-hander threw 14 strikes.

Wright struck out two batters in the second, but the Yankees scored again with two outs on Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI single to go ahead 3-0.

Hyun Soo Kim reached on another infield hit against Masahiro Tanaka leading off the second inning. The official scorer initially gave Castro an error for charging the ball and misplaying it.

Kim is now 2-for-25 this spring.

So who’s the last player to collect infield singles for his first two hits in the U.S. on back-to-back days in March against the same team? Asking for a friend.

Update: Wright was charged with five runs in 2 2/3 innings, the last two after left-hander Mitch Horacek replaced him. Wright threw 66 pitches, the highest total by an Oriole this spring, and 39 for strikes.

Horacek allowed three hits and also walked a batter before Odrisamer Despaigne replaced him. He was charged with two runs, as the Yankees grabbed a 7-0 lead in the third. All seven runs scored with two outs.

Wright allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six. His ERA grew to 9.45.

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