Orioles Grapefruit League pregame: Orioles at Tampa Bay (UPDATED)

The Orioles are opening up their Grapefruit League schedule this afternoon against the Rays at the Charlotte Sports Park.

This is one half of a day-night, split-squad double header. The O's will face the Pirates at home tonight.

As expected, not many of the starters made the trip to Port Charlotte. You could realistically make the case that only one "starter" is here: Wilson Betemit.

Betemit will start at first base, a sign that Orioles manager Buck Showalter will gets some looks at the free-agent acquisition around the diamond. Betemit can play first -- he played there a lot with the Yankees.

Also, Nick Johnson is at DH, a sign that the Orioles are going to ease up on fielding opportunities for the oft-injured first baseman.

Joe Mahoney, usually a first baseman, is starting in left.

Here are the starting lineups:

9 Endy Chavez RF
54 Matt Antonelli 2B
36 Nick Johnson DH
24 Wilson Betemit 1B
51 Joe Mahoney LF
31 Taylot Teagarden C
3 Ryan Flaherty SS
37 Josh Bell 3B
70 Xavier Avery CF
55 Alfredo Simon P

Brad Bergesen, Zach Phillips, Miguel Socolovich and Pedro Strop will also pitch for the Orioles

The Orioles have brought several minor leaguers on the trip: Buck Britton, Travis Adair, Cory Aldridge, Jeff Larish, Glynn Davis, Trent Mummey,Tim Bascom, Robert Hinton, Casey Fossum, Greg Burke and Kyler Newby.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of notes from Buck Showalter's pregame meeting with the media.

-- The Orioles are holding a simulated game tomorrow morning at 9:45 a.m. at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex, just hours before the team plays an afternoon game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

It's an important game because rehabbing pitchers Tommy Hunter (lower back discomfort), Zach Britton (left shoulder inflammation) and Jim Johnson (lower back stiffness) will all pitch in this game. Hunter will pitch two innings and Britton and Johnson will throw one inning each.

It's also shows some increased progression when it comes to Britton and Johnson, who weren't supposed to see live game action until late this week at the earliest.

-- The Orioles are bringing several minor leaguers to Port Charlotte to play in the late innings. Top prospect Manny Machado, not listed on the travel roster, is among them. Manager Buck Showalter said Machado could play in this afternoon's game, as well as the home nightcap against the Pirates.

-- Pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada continued his rehab from left elbow discomfort this morning, throwing long toss from 120 feet, then throwing off a half mound. Progression to a full mound would be the next step.

-- Orioles minor leaguer Travis Adair was hit in the head by a batted ball during batting practice, Showalter said. Adair, the son of Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair, was standing near the second base batting practic screen when he was hit. Showalter said he was taken back to the trainer's room for treatment. He also said the batting screens here at Port Charlotte seem unusually low.


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