SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles will play their Grapefruit League opener on Tuesday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., meaning today's workout will be the final one before games get underway.
The Orioles will play five of their first seven spring training games on the road. After playing their home opener on Wednesday against the Braves at Ed Smith Stadium, they play the Tampa Bay Rays at Port Charlotte on Thursday, followed by a trip to Dunedin to play the Blue Jays.
On Saturday, the Orioles play their first split squad game, visiting the Twins in Fort Myers in the afternoon and then hosting the Rays at night. On Sunday, they play in Fort Myers again, this time against the Red Sox.
I thought one of the highlights of Sunday's intrasquad game was right-hander Dylan Bundy's performance. He retired all three batters he faced in the bottom of the third inning, striking out Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, needing just 13 pitches (9 strikes) to get through the frame.
If he's healthy, Bundy is slated for the bullpen because he's out of minor league options, but his role is still undefined.
Because he's only pitched in 17 minor-league games since Tommy John surgery in 2013, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that Bundy will see regular work this spring.
"I think one thing we need to accomplish here is [finding out] whether he can handle the load like it's going to be during the season," Showalter said. "I know we're not backing off. If anything he might get a tad more than everyone else. We'll let him get into the schedule, but he's going to get the ball pretty regularly. I hope he carries [what he did Sunday]. That was pretty good."
Even though Bundy will have to work out of the bullpen this season, the organization still has to figure out how to get him to the point that he can compete for a starting rotation spot.
"We want him to get through the year healthy," Showalter said. "I was hoping he'd be healthy and pitch all year. We need to get him some innings under his arm. One of the biggest challenges with Dylan is how do you ever get to the point of him starting again because we won't want to send him to winter ball."