Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he expects the team to be well-represented on the rosters of next spring’s World Baseball Classic, and somewhat begrudgingly gave the players his blessing to represent their countries.
“People smarter than me think it’s great for the game, to grow it globally,” Showalter said. “If the players want to do it, I’m a little biased. I’m always thinking about what best serves the Orioles, and being in spring training on Feb. 12, I hear, playing our first game on the 24th of February — I know we’re playing the Dominican [Republic]. How would you feel? You’re seeing a pitcher go. Some of our guys, talking to them a little bit, I think we’re going to have some participation. I know [coach] Einar [Diaz] will probably be with the Panamanian team again. It’s something that people think is important, and I can see why. So we’ll cooperate, as usual.”
Already, the Orioles know third baseman Manny Machado will represent the Domincan Republic. Left fielder Hyun Soo Kim could play for his native South Korea, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, of Curacao, could play for the Netherlands. And any of the team’s host of American players, like closer Zach Britton and center fielder Adam Jones, could play for the United States.
Around the horn: Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman and his fiancé, Taylor North, presented a check for $31,776 to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the results of a fundraiser that he and several former LSU baseball players spearheaded then matched as a way to support the region after last month’s floods. … Showalter said outfielder Steve Pearce’s flexor tendon repair surgery was a success Wednesday, and he’d be a candidate to play next spring wherever the free-agent-to-be lands. “Hopefully us,” he said. … Left-hander Jayson Aquino was unavailable Wednesday and Thursday with a viral infection, Showalter said. If the team needs to add another left-hander to accommodate a long-term absence, Showalter mentioned that T.J. McFarland, Edgar Olmos, and Kyle Lobstein are in Sarasota, Fla., staying ready.