SARASOTA, Fla. - The best story of the last two weeks of spring training will be the completion for the Baltimore Orioles' fifth starter.
There are probably four legitimate candidates: Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Sunday's contestant, Steve Johnson.
Johnson threw four scoreless innings in the Orioles' 7-1 win over the Minnesota Twins before 6,194 at Ed Smith Stadium.
He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two. Johnson, Arrieta, Britton and Matusz have combined to throw 16 1-3 scoreless innings this week.
"It's a great competition. Everyone's done pretty well the last time out, so it is definitely a heated battle but it's a lot of fun going out there and competing," Johnson said.
"You're not only competing against the other team but you're competing against the other five, six, seven guys or however many we have going after the spot. So it's a lot of fun and it's just an honor to be in the running."
Johnson is close friends with his competitors, and it's a little uncomfortable.
"It's a weird situation, to be honest with you ... you want everyone to do well," Johnson said. "You don't want anyone to go out there and put up an eight-spot, even if it may help you. ... When they come in, you say, 'Way to deal.' You're rooting for everybody and doing what you can control and then putting it into the coaches hands."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is supportive of Johnson.
"They're all different, and you can't overlook somebody who could be a strength just because he's not 6-4 and throws 96. He gets people out and doesn't beat himself. That's a good combination," Showalter said.
Matt Wieters hit a two-run home run, J.J. Hardy hit his first homer of the spring, and Lew Ford had three RBIs in the win.
At Clearwater, the other half of Baltimore's split squad lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 before 11,100 at Bright House Field.
Jaon Hammel allowed four runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
"Out of all my outings, this one was the worst," Hammel told reporters in Clearwater.
Steve Pearce had his fourth home run of the spring as Phillies starter Roy Halladay left after one inning with a stomach virus.
The split squad was managed by bench coach John Russell.
JONES IS BACK: Two days after Team USA lost to Puerto Rico in the second round of the World Baseball Classic, Adam Jones came back to Orioles camp.
Jones will be rested until Wednesday, Showalter said.
This was the second time in three tournaments that the U.S. failed to reach the semifinals.
"We didn't win, so it was disappointing, but it is actually a legit tournament," Jones said.
"You see how good baseball is around this world. People really want to beat the U.S. They beat the U.S. That's what their goal is."
Jones says he would play again if asked in 2017 and that the tournament hasn't hindered his preparation for the April 2 opener.
"I've played six straight nine-inning games, so my body feels good. I've got a little over two weeks," he said. "Opening day, I'll be ready for that for sure."
BUNDY SET FOR BOWIE: Dylan Bundy, who was optioned to Bowie on Saturday, threw a bullpen session on Sunday. He said he was expecting the assignment.
"I really don't care where it was, Double-A or Triple-A. Wherever they want is fine with me. I kind of expected Bowie because I only got four starts there last year. I'll just go there and pitch," Bundy said.
Bundy allowed one earned run in eight innings.
ODDS AND ENDS: Outfielder L.J. Hoes was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. The roster is at 48. ... The Orioles are off on Monday. Wei-Yin Chen will throw five innings against Minnesota's Class-A team at Baltimore's Twin Lakes Park minor league complex.