The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

5 things to know about the Baltimore Orioles heading into spring training

  • Print

BALTIMORE - Five things to know about the Baltimore Orioles as they start spring training camp:

WHO'S CLOSING?: The biggest question heading into camp is who will handle the job of closer, an opening created by Executive Vice-President Dan Duquette's decision to trade Jim Johnson to Oakland rather than pay the right-hander top dollar as the reigning AL saves leader.

"Jim is going to be missed," setup man Darren O'Day said. "He made us a better team on and off the field."

The Orioles reached agreement with Grant Belfour to fill the void, but he failed a physical and the contract was discarded. Now, the Orioles appear ready to stay in-house to find Johnson's replacement.

Tommy Hunter, O'Day and newcomers Ryan Webb and Alfredo Aceves are among the candidates.

WHO'S STARTING?: During what turned out to be a very quiet off-season, Duquette tried to find a veteran to anchor the rotation. As the Orioles prepare for their first workout Friday, the hole has not been filled.

There are plenty of arms capable of pitching into the late innings, but none have done it over the long haul at the major league level.

Chris Tillman (16-7 in 2013) is coming off a career year, Miguel Gonzalez (11-8) started 30 games, and Wei-Yin Chen (7-7) and Bud Norris (4-3) are decent. But there isn't much depth there, and it's uncertain whether youngsters Zach Britton or Kevin Gausman are ready to pitch every fifth day in the majors. Brian Matusz, banished to the bullpen in 2012, hopes to return to the rotation.

WHO'S ON SECOND?: The defection of longtime Orioles Brian Roberts to the New York Yankees leaves the second base job up from grabs.

Jemile Weeks, obtained in the Johnson trade, will compete against light-hitting Ryan Flaherty. Prospect Jonathan Schoop, who played five games with Baltimore last season, is a long shot.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy believes Flaherty has the potential to be the man — if he can do something about his .221 career batting average.

"Defensively, there's been no question that he can play second base," Hardy said.

WAITING FOR MANNY: After undergoing off-season surgery on his left knee, All Star third baseman Manny Machado is uncertain if he will be ready for opening day. His progress will be monitored closely in February and March.

"Rome wasn't built in one day," Machado said. "That's how it is. It's a process. Once I get out there playing, once I'm cleared to play, then let's see how I feel when I'm sliding into second base, trying to take out the second baseman, how I feel the next day."

CRUSH DAVIS: Major league home run king Chris Davis will use spring training to get ready for another 50-home run season, but he will need help from his teammates.

"There's a reason why I hit 53 home runs," he said. "It wasn't cause guys were just laying it up there. Guys were getting on base, putting pressure on pitchers, really making it harder on them.

"Will I be able to? I don't know," he added. "Obviously I have the power to do it, but it just depends."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Dustin Byfuglien reflects on season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google