Orioles travel to Fort Myers to face Twins

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles will head south to Fort Myers today to play the Twins for the second time this spring.

The Twins will have a lineup that includes Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau, so they're playing a number of regulars.


As for the Orioles, this is a game that will be difficult from a roster perspective. It will be their third game in a span of 30 hours after yesterday's day-night, split-squad doubleheader. Yesterday afternoon, the Orioles brought 12 minor leaguers over from the minor league minicamp at Twin Lakes Park.

Expect a number of minor leaguers to make the trip to Hammond Stadium today as well.


Orioles manager Buck Showalter said this is why you need to have minor league minicamps. Minor league spring training doesn't open until next week. And that's why today's lineup won't have much star power to it. Manny Machado is the only "starter" among the group heading to Fort Myers.

"Once we get through [Thursday's] game, we'll be back on our feet again," Showalter said Wednesday. "Let's face it, these split-squad games, we have to bring in 30 players to cover these things for 10-12 days with staff and trainers. Last year we had [a split-squad game] Opening Day. It used to be you didn't play one until [March] 10th or 14th, and you could cover it because guys were in shape."

The Orioles have one more split-squad date March 17, afternoon games at Clearwater against the Phillies and at home versus the Twins.

The Orioles will use the innings to continue to evaluate their utility man competition. Steve Pearce, who plays first base and the outfield, has to be leading with six RBIs in two games. Conor Jackson, who I wrote about for this morning's paper, is also a veteran guy who is in the mix. Jackson will start today in right.

Here are the starting lineups:

Alexi Casilla 2B
Manny Machado 3B
Lew Ford DH
Conor Jackson RF
Danny Valencia 1B
Trayvon Robinson LF
Yamaico Navarro 2B
L.J. Hoes CF
Chris Robinson C
Jair Jurrjens RHP

Darin Mastroianni CF
Eduardo Escobar SS
Joe Mauer DH
Josh Willingham RF
Justin Morneau 1B
Ryan Doumit C 
Chris Parmelee RF
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Brian Dozier 2B
Liam Hendriks RHP