CLEARWATER, Fla. — Less than an hour after the Orioles' team bus pulled into Bright House Field on Monday afternoon, the team was on its way back to Sarasota.
The Orioles' split-squad road game against the Philadelphia Phillies was canceled shortly before the scheduled 1:05 p.m. start time, and the team headed back for tonight's 7:05 p.m. home game at Ed Smith Stadium.
Left-hander Brian Matusz and right-hander Kevin Gausman were scheduled to pitch here against the Phillies, and they could still pitch tonight against the Twins. But it’s also possible that they both pitch in separate minor league games during tomorrow’s scheduled off day. The Orioles’ Triple-A and Double-A teams both have games scheduled at Twin Lakes Park.
At this point, that may be inevitable. Showers are expected around the area throughout the day, and there’s a tornado warning for parts of the area until 11 p.m., so getting in tonight’s game could also be a challenge.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter had the forethought to send right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to Fort Myers to pitch against the Boston Red Sox’s Triple-A team Monday.
Jimenez was scheduled for 60 to 65 pitches, but threw 66 over 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Showalter said he received a positive report on Jimenez from rehab coordinator Scott McGregor, who was with Jimenez in Fort Myers.
"He threw the ball well today," Showalter said. "Scotty is a hard grader. He sat at 93, 92 all day. He looked pretty good. He said he was really into it too. That’s a good sign.
That’s a nice recovery from his last outing, when he lasted just two innings and allowed four runs, four hits and three walks in a loss to the Phillies at Ed Smith Stadium.
South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon was scheduled to pitch today and make his second appearance in three days since obtaining his work visa, allowing him to pitch in Grapefruit League games soon.
Yoon, who threw a scoreless relief inning in his only previous Grapefruit League outing, is likely to open the season in Triple-A so he can continue to gain experience and get adjusted to American baseball.
It’s not definite yet, but it appears that the Orioles would – at least initially – use Yoon as a starter once he reports to minor league camp so he can continue to build innings.
Other items of note:
-- Outfielder David Lough will receive 48 hours of rest, as suggested by the Orioles’ team doctors, for his stiff neck. The club hopes that will help alleviate the injury. Lough hasn’t played since Wednesday.
-- Infielder Alex Gonzalez had a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment this morning and did not make the trip to Clearwater, but he could play tonight.
-- Left-hander Francisco Liriano is scheduled to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Orioles' road game Thursday in Bradenton.
-- After going down to minor league camp to accumulate at bats, Nolan Reimold leads the team in plate appearances with 53. Showalter said he is considering sending other players to minor league camp to compile at bats.
-- The same group of minor leaguers who made the trip to Clearwater – including OF Julio Borbon, IF Ivan DeJesus, Jr., IF Cord Phelps, OF Dariel Alvarez, RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Jesse Beal, C David Freitas, C Wynston Sawyer, DH Jack Cust, IF Buck Britton and OF Mike Yastrzemski.
-- The club is planning a noon staff meeting on Thursday, and more cuts will likely be mapped out then. Some cuts could come as quickly at Tuesday's off day.
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