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For Orioles, Rule 5's aren't the exception


For Orioles, Rule 5's aren't the exception

For the Orioles, the Rule 5 draft is serious business. In each of Dan Duquette’s five years as head of baseball operations for the Orioles, they’ve taken a player in the Rule 5 draft, and they have the longest active streak in major league baseball.

Most times Rule 5 picks don’t make major league teams.

Three times in Duquette’s first four years the pick has made the roster: Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland in 2012 and 2013, and last year, Jason Garcia. Only Michael Almanzar, who went to camp in 2014, didn’t make the team.

This year it’s outfielder Joey Rickard’s turn.

If Rickard is like the others, the Orioles will allow him every chance to make it. While he’s never played in the majors, he has two qualities that he’s shown in the minor leagues that could be helpful: speed and an ability to draw walks.

In three levels of the minors a year ago, Rickard had a .427 on-base percentage and stole 23 of 29 bases.

The Orioles don’t have an obvious player on their bench who can pinch run or fill in for Adam Jones in center, so it looks as if Rickard will get that long look.

Last March, the Orioles had two Rule 5 selections in camp, Garcia and Logan Verrett. Verrett was lost on waivers to Texas late in camp, and he ended up back with the New York Mets.

Garcia, who’s now 23, spent about half the season on the disabled list, but appeared in 21 games with a 1-0 record and 4.25 ERA.

Before he was injured in early May, Garcia pitched to a 5.93 ERA. When he returned in August, he had a 2.81 ERA in 13 games.

It was a lot different. I think my mindset and just my confidence was different. Working with [pitching coach Alan Mills] in Bowie I think was pretty crucial for me, and just getting everything right. I felt a lot more confident coming back from that rehab stint this past year,” Garcia said at last month’s minicamp in Sarasota, Fla.

A year ago, Garcia had never pitched above Low-A. When he was drafted from the Boston Red Sox, he pitched in the same league that Delmarva is in, and he hadn’t even gone as far as Frederick’s level.

“Yeah, it feels a lot different. Just the experience and everything from (last year) that I learned and went through, this offseason I got to sit down and think about and take it in. It was awesome and I’m pumped, excited,” Garcia said.

He had quite an education.

“There’s a ton. It’s hard to choose from. That’s a hard question. I probably can’t choose one thing. On the field, probably just how different the game is, the pace of the game. Just realizing it’s the same game, but trusting in myself,” Garcia said.

Garcia has three options, and needs to pitch regularly. The guess is that he could start in Bowie.

“We’ve talked here and there, but nothing definite yet. Kind of see how this spring goes and see whatever works best for the team,” Garcia said.

Pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti recommended that Garcia, who pitched in the Arizona Fall League, not throw during the three-day mini-camp.

“That was our suggestion, not his, just because he learned so much and has come such a long way. He’s another one of those guys who, we all think in our end of the business that we have a grasp on things, no one expected that guy to be what he turned out to be. We’re all pleasantly surprised,” Wallace said.

“He made a lot of progress, and he went to Fall league, so we’re backing off of him right now until spring training starts just because he’s been through a lot, No.1 and he’s thrown a lot. When you think about it, he had thrown several bullpens before this time last year when we had the minicamp. He essentially hasn’t stopped until the Fall league was over. He doesn’t need to get on the mound down here. That was our suggestion. He wanted to and we kind of talked him out of it.”

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles' prospect killed in motorcycle accident

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

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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