The Orioles headed back to Baltimore after their exhibition finale Friday night with their Opening Day roster essentially set. The one question remaining was the same one the Orioles brass has been asking itself the past week.
Former Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez cleared release waivers Friday, officially receiving his unconditional release from the club and becoming a free agent. It seems unlikely, but the Orioles still hope they can re-sign Gonzalez to a minor league deal and have him pitch in the rotation at Triple-A Norfolk. Gonzalez will likely get a major league offer elsewhere.
Reserves Xavier Avery and Steve Tolleson both hit two-run homers off Phillies reliever Ernesto Frieri as part of a five-run fourth inning. Garabez Rosa hit a game-tying homer and Ryan Flaherty scored on a wild pitch in the ninth as the Orioles won their exhibition finale, 8-7, over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
A winless swoon that spanned all of spring training came to an end for the Orioles with Saturday¿s 8-1 win over the Minnesota Twins, but the victory was pyrrhic as catcher Matt Wieters left the game after the first inning with elbow soreness.
The Orioles didn¿t lose Thursday, but they didn¿t end their winless streak either. The Orioles rallied from a three-run deficit late in the game, but ended up settling for a 4-4 tie at Ed Smith Stadium.
The Orioles entered their night split-squad home game Saturday night still searching for their first Grapefruit League win of the spring following an ugly 13-2 afternoon road loss to the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium.
Buck Showalter held his first press gathering of spring training in the media workroom of the Ed Smith Stadium complex, and alluded to the fact that he could be in the same room a few days from now for a press conference to introduce a new free-agent signing. The Orioles are still engaged in negotiations to sign right-hander Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Dexter Fowler. Though neither has agreed to terms with the club, the Orioles were still considered the leading candidates for both.
To fill out the ALDS roster, the Orioles added Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman while removing infielder Omar Quintanilla and a trio of pitchers who were key for the club at different points this season: Steve Johnson, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton.
Cal Ripken Jr. was in the TBS broadcast booth for Friday night's wild-card game, alongside former Braves pitcher John Smoltz and play-by-play man Ernie Johnson. Ripken had previously been a postseason studio analyst, but he only recently started working from the booth.
Orioles left-hander Randy Wolf is dealing with elbow discomfort and could be lost for the remainder of the regular season and postseason, though he has not made a final decision on his immediate future.
Orioles set-up man Pedro Strop, who was supremely effective for most of this season, has struggled with his command for a few weeks, leading to speculation that he's getting worn down by the grind and spotlight of a major league season.
Orioles pitcher Randy Wolf said he knew coming in he would be used in relief, and he didn't have a problem with that. His top priority was to pitch for a contender, but the 36-year-old said coming out of the bullpen will be an adjustment.
The Orioles have placed infielder Wilson Betemit on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI taken before Thursday's game showed a small cartilage tear in his right wrist and a deep bone bruise. First baseman Joe Mahoney was called up from Triple-A Norfolk to replace Betemit on the roster.
They were referring to the Orioles' two key hits with runners in scoring position in a five-run fifth inning, which fueled their 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. For a team that came in batting just .152 with runners in scoring position since June 14, those hits made the Orioles feel like they were suddenly cured.
By By David Selig and Eduardo A. Encina and The Baltimore Sun
It wasn't exactly a pre-trade deadline blockbuster, but the Orioles sent cash to the New York Mets on Friday for 30-year-old infielder Omar Quintanilla, who was designated for assignment earlier this week.