Friday's short trip to Bradenton for the Orioles' matinee against the Pittsburgh Pirates was always meant to be an easy road trip for the departing World Baseball Classic participants to get more game action before they head off to their respective teams this weekend.
Center fielder Adam Jones, however, wasn't included in the starting lineup for the Pirates game, and manager Buck Showalter said it's not for any negative reason.
"Adam is ready to go," Showalter said.
At the plate, Jones has been the Orioles' best hitter in the young spring. He has six hits in 14 at-bats (.429) with a pair of home runs and a pair of doubles in five games, and may only play Sunday's home game against the Philadelphia Phillies before joining Team USA.
Several other WBC-bound Orioles, including third baseman Manny Machado, catcher Welington Castillo, and right-hander Mychal Givens, are all slated to play against Pittsburgh.
Joseph breaks his duck
Catcher Caleb Joseph's home run early in Thursday's Grapefruit League loss to the New York Yankees was a bright spot in a forgettable game for the Orioles, with his first home run and RBI in a major league game since last spring training.
"A lot of stuff that I was really working on last year, I couldn't put it together," Joseph said. "I had the pieces of the puzzle, and that by no means is to say that I'm going to hit a home run every game. But confidence is really high right now because those pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together. I've got 80 percent of the puzzle now. I'm feeling really good about it."
Joseph, who has said all offseason and into the spring that he's past last year's disappointments, was in good spirits a day after the relieving home run.
"Honestly, when I hit them like that, I don't even feel the ball on the bat," he said. "I knew right away. My first thought was, 'OK, what's the proper jogging speed?' Because it's been too long. You don't want to go too fast, but you also don't want to go too slow. But how do I do this? How do I jog? What's the proper miles per hour on this?"
Though he drove in 11 runs in the minors on rehab assignments and his stint in Triple-A, Joseph said an emphatic RBI like that in an Orioles uniform was what he imagined it would be.
"I mean, come on, who wants a sac fly or a jam job to second base with a guy on third?" Joseph said. "I had a couple opportunities in Philadelphia, but I thought, 'Nah, I don't want a jam job. I want a big fly here.' … That's the Oriole Way. Crap, I may have gotten myself in trouble. I can say whatever I want after going 360-something days without an RBI."
Around the horn: Right-hander Chris Tillman, who is dealing with shoulder discomfort, is scheduled for a half-mound session Friday with a full-mound scheduled for Sunday, Showalter said. … While Showalter didn't have an update on infielder Chris Johnson, who was hit on the hand in Thursday's tie with the Minnesota Twins, he said minor league infielder Garabez Rosa wasn't included on the travel roster to Bradenton Friday after he was hit on the left hand with a pitch in the ninth inning of the split-squad loss to New York Thursday night.