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Orioles make cuts, get closer to Opening Day group

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Orioles make cuts, get closer to Opening Day group

A chaotic spring training came to an end on a brutally long evening in Philadelphia. After the rain-delayed 8-7 win over the Phillies, the Orioles made a series of moves that got them closer to their Opening Day roster.

The Orioles still have until noon on Sunday to finalize their 25-man roster.

There weren’t any real surprises among the cuts, but there’s one player remaining on their roster who didn’t figure to be there a few weeks ago.

Xavier Avery, who played for the Orioles in 2012, is the only non-roster invitee still on hand. Avery, who hit his fourth home run of the spring on Friday night, and stole a base, left the team in Aug. 2013 when he was sent to Seattle for Michael Morse.

Several organizations later, he’s back, and if Hyun Soo Kim somehow changes his mind and accepts a minor league assignment, and the Orioles don’t pick up another outfielder, Avery could make his first Opening Day roster.

Kim, who had been silent in recent days, told reporters in Philadelphia that he would not accept a demotion, and he pinch hit in Friday night’s game, his first playing time in six days.

By noon Sunday, the Kim drama will come to an end—for the moment.

Two non-roster pitchers, Pedro Beato and Todd Redmond, were assigned to minor league camp. Two other pitchers with major league experience, Chaz Roe and Zach Phillips, passed through waivers and were assigned to Norfolk. Outfielder L.J. Hoes and infielder Steve Tolleson were assigned to minor league camp as was infielder Paul Janish. Catcher Francisco Pena was optioned to Norfolk.

All moves were expected though there was some thought the Orioles could keep Janish and Ryan Flaherty because of Flaherty’s ability to play the outfield.

Because of a provision in his contract, Janish had to be made available to every major league team, but for now, the Showalter favorite stays in the organization.

As for Avery, his speed and defense help, and so does being a left-handed hitter. He has tools that Kim, who is also left-handed doesn’t have.

For now, T.J. McFarland and Vance Worley are the 11th and 12th pitchers on the roster, but the Orioles continue to look for alternatives.

With Brian Matusz starting the season on the disabled list, only McFarland and Zach Britton are left-handers. Matusz, Kevin Gausman and Jimmy Paredes will be placed on the disabled list to start the season.

The Orioles continue to hope that Miguel Gonzalez, who is now a free agent will accept a minor league deal and go to Norfolk. Several other organizations are interested in Gonzalez, but none may offer him a major league contract.

NOTES: Minor league infielder Felix Rutledge received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse. Former Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden was suspended 80 games for a violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. … Rick Dempsey and Maryland State Senator Bobby Zirkin will throw out first pitches on Opening Day. … The Orioles roster is now at 37 with the removal of Gonzalez, Phillips and Roe. They have 29 players on their spring roster.

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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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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