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Focus on pitchers as the Orioles' Grapefruit games begin

The exhibition season is underway, but it’ll be awhile before anybody should draw any conclusions from the makeup of the Orioles’ Grapefruit League starting lineups or the early performances of the pitchers.

Manager Buck Showalter has indicated that he’s going to bring the pitchers along more slowly than usual because of the longer preseason schedule. He has nine pitchers throwing one inning apiece in the first two games and said his starters probably will pitch only two innings in their second outings.

Normally, starting pitchers start out throwing two or three innings the first time out, but Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair obviously want to make sure the pitchers build up gradually to a regular-season workload and not peak too early this spring.

There doesn’t figure to be a lot of serious evaluation going on the first few days, but Showalter said this week that there are players who will have to be evaluated sooner than others because of their contract status. Pitcher Jair Jurrjens is a good example, since the club wants to know his iffy right knee is healthy before he can exercise the out clause in his minor league contract.

The Orioles play six games over the next five days, including two split-squad games (against the Yankees and Red Sox) on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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