FORT MYERS, Fla. - Bud Norris has had a happy spring. On Tuesday, he worked into the sixth inning, and gave up two earned runs.
The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins 4-1 before 5,574 at Hammond Stadium, and Norris pronounced himself satisfied for the spring.
"You've got to take these six, seven weeks and take it one day at a time and get stronger," Norris said. "So, I think from a throwing program standpoint, from a body standpoint, I've gotten a lot stronger, and mentally stronger, too. I'm healthy, and that's the number one priority, and would love to make 30, 35 starts."
He had one rocky performance when he got only five outs against the New York Yankees, but Norris finished with an ERA of 2.65 this spring.
"I'm excited. I think we all are. We've been champing at the bit," Norris said. "We've been working hard. Like I said, for us to get out of here healthy is the No. 1 priority. I'm excited to get this going."
His next start will come against the Detroit Tigers, likely on either April 4 or 5.
Manager Buck Showalter said that he's happy with Norris' performance.
"I like the spring he's had physically. He's throwing the ball well," Showalter said.
Norris allowed two earned runs on seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
TOUGH DECISIONS: Showalter has more players remaining in camp than he prefers. Because of Wednesday's split-squad games, he's kept more players on hand.
Perhaps a dozen cuts will be made by the end of Thursday, but they won't be easy.
"They're good, tough. In the past, we've had last man standing," Showalter said. "These are quality pitchers. We think if they are not here they are going to provide depth. I hope we don't see anybody we sent down, but chances are [we will]. That keeps the competition [going]. Sometimes people in the big leagues don't think there's anybody behind them that can take their place."
CHEN IS NUMBER THREE: Showalter said that Wei-Yin Chen will start on April 3, the season's third game against Boston. Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez are scheduled to start the first two games. Norris and Miguel Gonzalez are the other two starters, but Showalter hasn't chosen an order for them yet.
CLEVENGER THE MAN, SORT OF: Steve Clevenger, who was 3 for 3 in the game, was told he won the backup catcher's job Monday.
The Baltimore native has a gaudy .484 average this spring, and he appeared to have the job won when the team sent Johnny Monell, who has since been designated for assignment, to minor league camp.
"I don't know if he's looked around yet, but there's no other catcher in camp," Showalter said.
ALMANZAR HURT: Rule 5 draft pick Michael Almanzar may start the season on the disabled list with patella tendinitis in his left knee. Almanzar was drafted from Boston, and Baltimore was hoping to keep him.
COMING UP: The Orioles have a busy day Wednesday. They'll have split squad games in Fort Myers against the Red Sox and at Port Charlotte with the Rays. Miguel Gonzalez pitches in the afternoon game and Tillman works at night against Tampa Bay.
Allen Webster, Andrew Miller, Tommy Layne, Burke Badenhop and Francisco Cordero will pitch for Boston. The Rays' scheduled pitchers are David Price, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes, and Mark Lowe.
ODDS AND ENDS: Kelvin De La Cruz, who was designated for assignment on Saturday, has cleared waivers and was assigned to Norfolk. ... Charlie Winner, 89, an assistant coach for the Baltimore Colts in the 1950s and 1960s, and former head coach of the New York Jets and St. Louis Cardinals was honored on the field for World War II heroism. ... Baltimore plays an exhibition game at Norfolk on Saturday. No pitchers from the Orioles are expected to pitch. ... There were no instant replay challenges in the game. It was the fifth and final game for the experiment during spring training ... Baltimore optioned RHP Brad Brach to Norfolk on Tuesday night, leaving 40 players in camp.