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Powerful Orioles head into off day with a tie


Powerful Orioles head into off day with a tie

SARASOTA, Fla. – Was Sunday a microcosm of what this season’s Orioles may be like? There was a grand-slam home run and a two-run shot by two additions, Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo, and a starter who was challenged.

To be fair, Chris Tillman missed time with a strained right hip, and this was only his second official Grapefruit League start.

Tillman allowed three runs on five hits in four innings in the Orioles’ 8-8 tie to the Tampa Bay Rays before 8,405 at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles are 5-2-2 in their last nine after starting the season 0-10-2.

As the Orioles prepare for their only scheduled off day of spring, they’re starting to look more like the team manager Buck Showalter envisions.

“Getting there, getting there,” he said.

He likes that J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop, who both missed time last year with injuries are both moving well and that Adam Jones’ shoulder seems strong.

Matt Wieters’ right elbow seems to mending, and the he hopes that Kevin Gausman, who was given a cortisone injection for shoulder tendinitis, won’t be far behind schedule.

If you told me we had a chance to come out of here at full strength, I’d be real excited about that. I’m hoping that Gaus’ shoulder manages well. If it pushes him back in the rotation a little bit…we can do that,” Showalter said.

A week from now the Orioles have to decide on their rotation, Showalter said, and if Gausman’s shoulder responds smartly he could still be in it.

“From all indications, we’re hoping this puts him over the hump. It’s something if it was in the middle of the season, it’s something he’d probably pitch through, but we don’t have to do that right now. We can hopefully resolve it and it won’t be an issue,” Showalter said.

RELATED: Trumbo getting hot at right time for Orioles

Alvarez, who played his first game a week ago, hit an opposite-field grand slammer in the second off minor leaguer Jhan Marinez. He added a double that tied the score at 7 in the sixth.

Trumbo, who had a three-run home run on Friday night, hit a two-run shot in the third.

Tampa Bay brought most of their regulars along. Most of the Rays will board a short flight on Sunday night for a short flight to Havana for Tuesday’s game with the Cuban National team.

Logan Morrison and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back home runs off Tillman in the third.

“Those were mistakes and they deserved to get hit,” Tillman said. “Our guys hit some too. It goes both ways.”

Tillman will be happy to have the same kind of run support he had.

“Those guys made a lot of good swings today,” Tillman said. “I think that’s the most important thing in spring, getting to watch the guys hit the ball out of the yard. It’s fun watching the guys, fun watching not only in the game but doing their work.”

The Orioles have 23 home runs in 21 games. Jones has 3, Manny Machado 2 and Chris Davis 1.

Hardy, Wieters, Hyun Soo Kim and Caleb Joseph have yet to homer, but rookie Christian Walker has 4.

Showalter is seeing signs of this team’s power potential.

“There were a couple home runs that would have been out of anywhere, anytime at least. Our contact to damage ratio should be good. We’re getting to know Mark a little bit, what his strengths are. You do see stretches of it. We haven’t had everybody out there yet. We’re close to it, hopefully get Matt back. He had a good day today. That was encouraging,” Showalter said.

Zach Britton struck out the side in the eighth, and Brian Matusz threw a scoreless ninth in his first appearance since he injured his back on Mar. 2.

T.J. McFarland gave up a grand slam home run to Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza, Jr. in the fifth.

Kim had two hits and raised his average to .200. After an 0-for-23 start, he’s now 8-for-17.

NOTES: Jeff Beliveau and Alfredo Marte were reassigned to minor league camp leaving the Orioles with 43 players on their roster. Showalter would like to see Beliveau, who hasn’t pitched this spring due to labrum surgery last April, in a game before the end of spring training. … Tyler Wilson, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach each threw two scoreless innings in an intrasquad game. Mychal Givens pitched one shutout inning. … After Monday’s off day, Mike Wright starts against Minnesota on Tuesday in Fort Myers against Logan Darnell. …Alvarez, Davis, Kim and Wieters will play in a minor league game on Tuesday. Jones and Hardy are scheduled for their first road game against the Twins.

MORE ORIOLES: Gausman has cortisone shot for shoulder tendinitis

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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