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As the snow falls, it's time to think about Sarasota


As the snow falls, it's time to think about Sarasota

The Orioles began selling tickets to spring training games on Saturday morning, and with the area snowbound for the time being, it’s nice to think about something a little warmer.

Sarasota, where the Orioles train, can be warm in March. It can also be cold.

Last year, they had their warmest March on record, but as pitchers and catchers reported in February, the temperature reached freezing for the first time in years.

Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 18, position players five days later, and the Grapefruit League season begins a week later as the Orioles visit the Atlanta Braves at Disney World.

The Braves have former Orioles Jim Johnson, Nick Markakis and Bud Norris, and will play at Ed Smith Stadium on March 2 in the first of 16 home games.

Because there are 15 teams in Florida, each team must play two split-squad games. The Orioles have split-squad games on March 5 and 17. Their home games on those dates are both at night.

Fans of the Red Sox and Yankees flock to Sarasota for a glimpse of their favorite teams, and they’re inevitably disappointed. For first timers, teams rarely send their front line players on the road, especially early in spring training.

So, if you’d like to see the Orioles play on the road in spring training, you’re likely to see a lot of Ryan Flaherty, Caleb Joseph, Nolan Reimold and Christian Walker. You won’t see much of Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Matt Wieters.

Exceptions may be made on March 22 and 27 when the Orioles play against the Twins in Fort Myers and the Pirates in nearby Bradenton.

Buck Showalter likes the field at Hammond Stadium because it’s maintained by the legendary groundskeeper George Toma, and Pittsburgh plays just 20 minutes away from Sarasota.

The Orioles’ longest trip will be their first game, two hours away. Unlike last season, there are no trips to Jupiter, across the state, or to Lakeland, where the Tigers play.

Detroit does come to Sarasota in the last week of spring training.

Most games are played at 1:05 p.m.—home and away. The Orioles will play two home games at 7:05 p.m. Those are the split-squad games and three at 6:05 p.m. Those three come in the last week of spring training, at Pittsburgh, and at home on March 29 and 30 with Atlanta and Detroit.

If you’re coming in the first 10 days of spring training, home games will feature regulars for perhaps five innings. Starting pitchers are scheduled for two innings in their first start, three in the second, and the sixth-ninth innings are the time for players many are unfamiliar with.

But, pay attention because come the second half of the season, you may be seeing them.

Last year, Mychal Givens wasn’t even a spring training invitee. He was used as an emergency pitcher, and now he’s a mainstay.

Chaz Roe was a pitcher who threw in the late innings, and by May, he was in Baltimore.

The Orioles end this year’s Sarasota run on March 31 and fly to Philadelphia the following day for a 6:05 p.m. game against the Phillies.

It will be slightly warmer in Philadelphia on Apr. 1 and much warmer in Sarasota than it is here today.

[RELATED: Is it time for Orioles to forget Gallardo?]

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."