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Rule 5 draft pick Rickard makes Orioles roster


Rule 5 draft pick Rickard makes Orioles roster

SARASOTA, Fla. – On the day that the Orioles said a sad goodbye to Miguel Gonzalez, they had something to celebrate.

For the fourth time in five years, a Rule 5 draft pick has made the team.

In a camp full of challenges and disappointments, Joey Rickard, the 24-year-old outfielder from Las Vegas, has sparkled.

Rickard, who has hit .390, spent the entire month impressing the Orioles and opponents.

After Wednesday night’s game, Norfolk manager Ron Johnson walked over to Rickard and the two walked to manager Buck Showalter’s office where he was told to make plans to be in Baltimore for Monday’s Opening Day.

“I’m pretty excited. I’ve got a lot of phone calls to make,” Rickard said with a huge grin.

“I just walked in there, they turned on the lights and all the staff was in there and they told me congratulations. It was pretty special,” Rickard said.

Rickard was drafted from the Tampa Bay organization in December. The Orioles hoped he could be an extra outfielder. Now, with South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim in limbo, Rickard could be the starting left fielder on Monday.

“It’s been a rollercoaster really, but i couldn't ask for anything more. The guys that I’ve played with and the coaches that have prepared me for this. It’s happening really fast but I’m trying to enjoy every minute of it,” Rickard said.

Most of his family is on the West Coast, and they’ll have to make quick plans for a long, happy trip.

“I've got a pretty big family. Most of them are far away but I’m sure they will do what they can to make it,” Rickard said.

While Rickard celebrated, Gonzalez, whose release has not yet officially been announced by the organization, was still processing the shocking news that his Orioles career had ended suddenly.

Gonzalez, one of the most popular of all the Orioles, was revered for never complaining, and even though he had a horrible spring, the news that the team had let him go moved him to tears and stunned his many friends in the clubhouse.

Chris Tillman, one of his closest friends, who trained with him in Sarasota over the winter, didn’t want to talk about it after his start.

He labored through his final spring training start. Eager for March to end and the genuine games to begin, Tillman took the mound a few hours after Gonzalez had departed.

Gonzalez and Tillman were the only two starters who’d been with the Orioles for the past four seasons and experienced two postseasons, but now, Tillman will be without his buddy.

Tillman pitched only four innings, allowing one run in the Orioles’ 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers before 8,163 at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday night.

“I think we’ve had enough of this down here. I think everyone is ready to go and looking forward to get this thing going when the bell rings,” Tillman said.

Showalter spent a long time with Gonzalez, and was relieved to talk about Tillman and Rickard.

“He had good stuff today. When he gets the command down…Tough day for him. It’s cut day. These guys, sometimes we forget they’re not robots,” Showalter said.

“That’s why I like the first two weeks of spring. Nobody’s being cut, nothing’s going on. It’s a lot of fun. These last few days, every time I come out of my office with the door closed, it’s not a whole lot of fun for me, and I know especially for them, but Chris, stuff’s been crisp probably since the second outing. That’s been good to see. It hopefully bodes well for him.”

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles surprisingly release Miguel Gonzalez

No decision has yet been made about Hyun Soo Kim, who was again with the team, but idle. The Orioles are hoping Kim will consent to an assignment with Triple-A Norfolk.

Matt Wieters, whose return to catching went well on Tuesday night, was the DH and had two bunt singles.

Manny Machado was the final of nine strikeout victims by Detroit starter Shane Greene. When minor league umpire Joey Amaral called him out, Machado showed Amaral where he thought the pitch was, and the umpire, who lives in Baltimore, threw him out of the game.

“He did something they usually throw guys out for,” Showalter said.

The Orioles leave Sarasota Friday morning. They have one more game to play here, and with a record of 10-15-5, the spring hasn’t been terribly fun, and the team is eager to leave.

“We all are. Spring training, it’s that time, about a week too long,” Showalter said.

NOTES: Yovani Gallardo starts in Thursday’s Florida finale against former Oriole Bud Norris, who’s pitching for Atlanta. … Vance Worley pitches in Philadelphia on Friday.


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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