With left-hander Brian Matusz struggling at the major league level, there are three lefties with major league experience in the Norfolk bullpen pitching well this year. Andy Oliver struck out four in three scoreless innings of relief Thursday to lower his ERA to 1.01 with 27 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. Zach Phillips entered Friday with a 2.95 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, and Edgar Olmos went into the weekend with 25 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.
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.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he has the Opening Day roster set in his mind, but at this time of year, the team is closely monitoring its options for players who can come in and help off the waiver wire.
Minor leaguer Garabez Rosa singled to drive in the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Orioles salvaged a 4-4 tie with the Atlanta Braves to remain unbeaten in their last six Grapefruit League games.
Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who is lined up to start on Opening Day if the rotation doesn't change, yet again lamented the few well-hit balls that blemished what he believed could have been a rare strong start this spring.
Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz, who has made just two appearances this spring because of a lingering back strain, said he planned to play catch Friday for the first time since a cortisone shot earlier this week but didn¿t know how soon he could return to games.
One of the Orioles' offseason priorities was improving the club's left-handed relief depth, especially given the prospect of fielding an all right-handed rotation. And now, less than two weeks before the regular season begins, Brian Matusz's nagging back injury has left the Orioles devoid of situational left-handed relief options, and the club is scrambling for bullpen help.
Chris Davis was on the roster of two Texas Rangers teams that eventually went to the World Series. On Friday, he'll play the first big league postseason game of his career in Arlington, but he'll be on the visitor's side.
The Baltimore Orioles sent eight batters to the plate in the first and nine more in the second, staking starter Chris Tillman to a 7-0 lead by the time he stepped onto the mound in the bottom of the second.
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 head into tonight's game against the White Sox with a change to cut the New Yankees AL East lead to 2 1/2 games with a win tonight after New York's 6-5 afternoon loss to the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't start Friday night's game against the Oakland A's, but it wasn't because he is mired in a 1-for-30 slump. Wieters was held out of the lineup because of a tight right bicep muscle.
Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero, who was 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 17 games (one start) for the Norfolk Tides, had an opt-out clause in his contract at the All-Star break and chose to enact it, the Orioles announced.
Designated hitter Jim Thome is expected to arrive Sunday, so the Orioles will have to make room for him on the 25-man roster (after designating reliever Zach Phillips for assignment to clear 40-man roster space).
Robert Andino, who has played second base in 56 of the Orioles' first 60 games, was out of the lineup Tuesday, as Brian Roberts returned from the 60-day disabled list. And Andino said he's OK if he's no longer the starter there.