Morning notes from Showalter, Duquette

Some notes from this morning’s sessions with Buck Showalter, Dan Duquette and other interviews:

Showalter expects some cuts today. But he said it is not a certainty.

He spent some time in the morning watching signee Dontrelle Willis on the back fields. Willis, who signed a minor-league, split-level deal Tuesday that would be worth $700,000 if he were to spend all season in the majors, will be used as a lefty specialist. And almost certainly the 30-year-old will begin the season in the minors.

“He’s had some success, I know his left-on-left numbers have been pretty good. It’s another option to consider.”

Showalter said if Nick Johnson makes the team it would be more as a DH, with the occasional first-base start. But the oft-injured player has to prove he is healthy first.

“Believe me we are not the first ones to be having this conversation about Nick, and he understands that,” Showalter said. “But some of the things he is feeling and seeing, you feel good about so far.”

Dan Duquette said he will continue to look at the waiver wire for players – such as Dontrelle Willis – but the focus now is final evaluation of the players that are in camp. He said he believes it would be unlikely to find a reserve catcher on waivers, so the plan is to evaluate Ronny Paulino if Taylor Teagarden isn’t ready to go, which seems to be the case.

Teagarden (ligament tear in back) said he is feeling better since an epidural but is not yet ready to do baseball activities. He and Showalter are not ruling out Opening Day, but that seems to be wishful thinking at this point.

“I’m just doing the protocol of the trainers. I am just taking it slow and they are happy with the way I respond, the way I feel when I come to the clubhouse,” he said. “Basically I am just doing some back exercises right now. Not doing a lot of on-field activities. I’ll keep taking it slowly, I don’t want to aggravate anything.”

Brian Roberts (concussion) is continuing to take batting practice and will watch part of today’s game from the dugout. But he still doesn’t have a specific timetable for playing in a game.

Alfredo Simon (groin) said he is feeling much better and hopes to get into action soon.

Tsuyoshi Wada, Darren O’Day and Jason Berken all expect to pitch in a minor-league game Thursday.

Tommy Hunter (back) will have no restrictions in his start today.

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