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Here are five important spring dates for Orioles


Here are five important spring dates for Orioles

Three weeks from today, the Orioles will work out for the first time at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium complex, and in a little over a month, the first spring game will be here.

Here are five dates in spring training you’ll want to look for:

1) March 2

The Orioles actually open their spring schedule a day earlier, but they’re taking their longest trip in Florida, about two hours to play Atlanta in Lake Buena Vista.

The Braves come to Sarasota a day later, and while Nick Markakis and Jim Johnson may not make the trip, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bud Norris come over.

Norris signed with Atlanta early in the offseason, and he’d like to forget about 2015.

The Braves make two more trips to Sarasota in the last week of spring training—March 29 and 31, so the former Orioles have a few shots to visit where they used to call home for the spring.

2) March 7

Normally, Buck Showalter likes playing against the Minnesota Twins in March. Hammond Stadium is nice, and legendary George Toma is the groundskeeper.

But, this year it’s different. The Orioles open the season with Minnesota on Apr. 4 and they play the Twins six different times this spring.

Showalter may initially protest, but he’ll likely avoid pitching his first three starters against Minnesota. Instead, he’ll send them to Twin Lakes Park for minor league starts.

However, this is early enough in spring training that if Chris Tillman or Kevin Gausman’s turn comes up, he may think differently.

3) March 8

That’s when the Red Sox make their first of two visits, and the 7,000 seat ballpark is guaranteed to be sold out.

Boston will likely not bring many of its bigger names just as the Orioles rarely take along many of their starters on the road. Fans will be disappointed when Big Papi doesn’t play in Sarasota this year, his final one.

Showalter would prefer to play teams other than the AL East, and this year, Minnesota a great deal in the spring, but the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays are all located within 90 minutes of Sarasota.

4) March 14

Showalter would prefer more games with the nearby Pirates. Their Brandenton ballpark, McKechnie Field is just 20 minutes from Sarasota, but the Orioles only visit there twice. Pittsburgh plays in Sarasota only once.

Philadelphia comes calling on the 14th, and Andy MacPhail, who engineered the move to Sarasota and the redesign of the complex, could pay his first visit there since taking over the Phillies last June.

MacPhail has several former Orioles front office personnel working for him now.

The Phillies don’t have very many big names left, but their biggest, Ryan Howard once hit a long home run to right field.

5) April 1

For the first time since they opened Nationals Park in 2008, the Orioles end their exhibition season with a game in a major league ballpark.

They’ll play at 6:05 p.m. against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

It may be cold and unpleasant, but it could be important. The Orioles may make final cuts on this day.

The next day, Apr. 2 will be an off day, and after a workout on Apr. 3, they’ll open the season against Minnesota at Oriole Park on Apr. 4.

RELATED: New Ray Pearce thanks Orioles fans

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

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

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