SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo has been waiting to make his spring training debut with his new club, and he will get that opportunity Wednesday afternoon when the Orioles face the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater.
Gallardo is scheduled to throw two innings, or 35 to 40 pitches, against the Phillies.
"I'm excited," Gallardo said. "It's the first step toward getting ready for Opening Day. That first game of the [spring], it's important. You get to face other hitters and get to get that adrenaline going. It's exciting. I signed a week late, but you know what? It's just a matter of getting ready and catching up to what the other guys are doing and then go from there."
Gallardo, who remained unsigned going into spring training because he was tied to draft-pick compensation, signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Orioles one week into workouts for pitchers and catchers. But Gallardo said he didn't fall behind because he remained on his offseason throwing program throughout and reported to camp with four bullpen sessions already under his belt.
"It's just a matter of getting that release point, finding that quickly enough," Gallardo said. "In the bullpens and the time I threw to hitters last time [out], it felt good. It felt like it was coming out good. Obviously you have to make that adjustment. Once the hitter steps in there, you tend to ramp it up a little bit. The ball is up a little bit, but that will come. I think with the rest of the time we have here, it will all end up working out."
Gallardo threw a live batting practice session Saturday, marking the first time he faced live hitters. He threw 15 pitches to hitters, took a break, then threw 15 more pitches to simulate a two-inning stint.
"Going out for an inning, then sitting down for a couple and then getting back up, that's obviously how the game goes," Gallardo said. "Those are the things you have to get used to. I think that first one was a little bit of a taste of that first outing, but like I said you never know once the game actually starts. There's going to be a lot of adrenaline."
Gallardo said he wants to both work on getting the feel for his pitches and at the same time get good results in his first outing, but his fastball command will be his primary focus.
"You want to go out there and do well," Gallardo said. "You want to work on all the things you want to — your breaking stuff, commanding the fastball. And I think that's going to be the most important thing that I'm going to try to do tomorrow. I'm going to try to throw strikes, pound the strike zone and obviously you have to take it one step at a time and go from there."
Around the horn: The Orioles signed their 21 pre-arbitration players to one-year contracts, the club announced Tuesday. Those players were right-handers Parker Bridwell, Odrisamer Despaigne, Oliver Drake, Jason Garcia, Kevin Gausman, Mychal Givens, Chaz Roe, Andrew Triggs, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright; left-handers Chris Jones, Chris Lee and T.J. McFarland; catcher Caleb Joseph and Francisco Pena; infielders Jimmy Paredes, Jonathan Schoop and Christian Walker; and outfielders Dariel Alvarez, Joey Rickard and Henry Urrutia.