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Wieters, Matusz, Cabrera news make eventful day for Orioles


Wieters, Matusz, Cabrera news make eventful day for Orioles

Friday was one of the most fascinating days in recent Orioles history.

Not only was Matt Wieters catching for first time in 13 months, but Brian Matusz’s eight-game suspension for having a foreign substance on his arm was upheld. And, to add to that, Everth Cabrera, who was looked upon as a no-brainer signing in February, was designated for assignment.

Wieters, who is not ready to catch on consecutive days, was activated from the 60-day disabled list, nearly a year after Tommy John surgery.

He caught six innings of a Grapefruit League game in Sarasota on March 17, but was shut down the next day, and now is back after a careful rehabilitation.

Steve Clevenger, who impressed in his brief time, was sent back to Norfolk because the Orioles simply can’t afford to keep three catchers while playing a man short.

The Orioles thought they made a good case in Matusz’s appeal on Wednesday. They felt that their case was stronger than the one Milwaukee relief pitcher Will Smith had. Smith was also suspended for eight games. He had been ejected from a game on May 21, two days before Matusz had.

All along, the Orioles felt that whatever penalty Smith got, Matusz would. On Friday afternoon, the Brewers announced that Smith’s suspension was reduced to six games, but not long afterward, word came that Matusz’s would surprisingly stay at eight games.

The Orioles were prepared for a lengthy suspension. Earlier in the week, they brought up one left-hander T.J. McFarland, who can serve as a long man, and on Friday purchased the contract of Cesar Cabral, who has 12 games of major league experience with the Yankees.

Cabral is a left-hander who threw 21 2/3 scoreless innings at Bowie and Norfolk. He was a minor league signee who was not invited to major league camp. Cabral essentially replaces the left-handed Matusz.

The most interesting move was when the Orioles pulled the plug on Cabrera by designating him for assignment. He could end up at Norfolk, but because he has a hefty $2.4 million contract it’s unlikely any team will claim the .208 hitter.

Cabrera filled in for J.J. Hardy early in the season, but didn’t hit. For now, Hardy and Ryan Flaherty will be the double play combination with Rey Navarro in reserve.

While Navarro showed some shakiness in the field, he has shown some ability to hit. He batted .276 in 10 games with a homer and three RBIs.

The Orioles hope Jonathan Schoop will be ready to play sometime next month. He continues to rehab his sprained right knee in Sarasota.

Cabrera was a National League All-Star in 2013 before his 50-game suspension in the Biogenesis scandal. In 2012, he led the National League with 44 steals in 48 attempts.

This year, he had just two extra-base hits in 105 plate appearances and was successful on both of his stolen base attempts.

The Orioles signed him in hopes he could be insurance in case Hardy or Schoop got hurt. Both did hurt, but Cabrera never hit well enough to justify his place on the club.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles end Cabrera experiment, make room to add lefty reliever

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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

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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