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Gallardo ends Florida play with strong performance

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Gallardo ends Florida play with strong performance

SARASOTA, Fla. – As spring trainings go, this was one of the most fascinating of all for the Orioles.

A few days into spring training came the long awaited word that Yovani Gallardo signed a three-year contract with a fourth year option, but after a physical, the deal was hastily redone, and he ended up with a two-year deal and an option.

By then, the Orioles were anticipating the addition of Dexter Fowler to their lineup. Fowler was supposed to lead off and play right field, but two days after reports surfaced he had an agreement to come to the Orioles, he showed up in Chicago Cubs camp instead.

What was supposed to be an upbeat news conference for Gallardo was upstaged by the Fowler news.

Later that day, Fowler’s agent disputed Dan Duquette’s version of the sequence of events, and then a few days later, games finally began.

The Orioles first 12 games failed to produce a win as their winless streak was the longest to begin spring training play in seven years.

After an 0-10-2 start, the Orioles leave Florida with a 11-15-5 record thanks to their 6-1 win over the Atlanta Braves before 5,441 at Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday.

Gallardo, who had three rough starts, had a glorious finale, allowing just one hit in five innings, and faced the minimum 15 hitters because of a second inning double play.

“Good timing, I guess,” Gallardo said.

“Of course, anytime you go out there and pitch well, it’s always a positive thing. Especially the last one, it’s very important to get that timing, get that rhythm down in the last start of spring training to prepare for the regular season. You’ve got to be ready. From here on out, there’s no excuses.”

MORE ORIOLES: HOW WILL NEW O'S HANDLE MOVE?

Gallardo threw 48 pitches and then went to the bullpen so that Tyler Wilson, who was told Thursday morning he had made the club, could work three innings. He allowed the only Braves run.

Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run home run off Bud Norris in the second, and the Orioles scored three more in the eighth.

Xavier Avery hit a home run. Matt Wieters, who had two bunt singles on Wednesday night, had a double, a single, a walk and a stolen base.

Wilson, who was thought to be competing with Mike Wright for a spot on the team, found out that not only he made it, but Wright did, too.

“There’s a lot of guys that I wish were all on the Opening Day roster, obviously I wish the number could be bigger than 25, and they have some really difficult decisions, so like I said I’m grateful that I fell in that number, and Mike as well,” Wilson said.

At the beginning of spring training, Miguel Gonzalez was thought to be locked in for a spot in the rotation while Wilson and Wright were considered long shots here.

Gonzalez is gone. Wilson and Wright stay. For now, 37 players are in camp. Kevin Gausman, Brian Matusz and Jimmy Paredes will begin on the disabled list, and nine players must be trimmed from the roster between now and noon Sunday. Right-handed pitcher Oliver Drake was optioned to Norfolk after Thursday’s game.

The Orioles continue to try and persuade Hyun Soo Kim that he needs to go to Norfolk to hone his skills. He’s resisted, and the club faces a difficult decision on whether to cut him if he refuses their request. He’s owed $7 million.

While Kim has been overmatched, Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard has been the camp star, ending with a .387 average and a good chance at being the Opening Day left fielder.

Decisions have to be made on the final two spots in the bullpen. T.J. McFarland, Zach Phillips, Chaz Roe and Vance Worley have the best shots.

Nolan Reimold is the favorite for the final outfield position, but the Orioles could begin with Paul Janish as an extra infielder since Ryan Flaherty is also able to play the corner outfield spots.

Showalter says the team continues to look at options on the waiver wire.

NOTES: Paredes will remain in Florida when the Orioles leave on Friday. The bone bruise in his left wrist that he suffered on Mar. 3 has been slow to heal.

“He’s got to get that last discomfort out…I’ll bet you that when we leave it will be shortly thereafter he’ll start swinging the bat. That’s what we’re hoping. He’s been forgotten by some, but not by us. It’s been a pretty long injury,” Showalter said.

-Worley will pitch against Aaron Nola in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Friday.

-The Orioles had a team record 11 sellouts this spring and drew a total of 119,029, second highest in the team’s seven seasons in Sarasota.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm