This afternoon the O’s will take on the New York Mets at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, which will be the final tune up for the Birds in 2013. Just as a disclaimer…please don’t check back here at Birds Watcher for a recap of the game, stats, opinions, etc. It really doesn’t matter anymore! The Orioles will pack up their operations after the game (and tomorrow) and head to Tampa, where they’ll have a workout on Monday, and then open the season against the Tampa Rays on Tuesday. When starter Jason Hammel takes to the mound on Tuesday afternoon (following the Orioles’ first at-bat in the top of the first inning), you’ll know that the bullets are flying for real.
If you’re a longtime Birds Watcher reader you might be familiar with some of our personel. This is my second season as the Senior Editor of the site, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. You can follow along with me on twitter @DomenicVadala, all year for in-game updates, scores, information, and even some opinion here and there. However I’m not the only member of the staff at Birds Watcher, and I sincerely hope that you’ll read all of our articles written by all of our writers. Randy Buchman is our other holdover from the 2012 season, and you can follow him on twitter @OSayOrioles. Randy is a Civil War writer as well, and a historical guide at the Anitetam Battlefield.
We have three new writers on staff at Birds Watcher this year as well. Amanda Redman can be followed on twitter @mandy_redman, Steve Katz @stvkatz, and Margaret Hooper @missmargarita11. Again, I encourage you to read and respond to all of our writers throughout the season. (For the record, Steve was previously a staff writer at another Orioles’-themed site, and he currently pens the Ravens Bleacher Bum column.) We will respond in turn to your comments as you leave them. We want this site to be as interactive as possible for all of the fans! I would also mention that fans can catch my own thoughts on the goings on of the Orioles on a weekly basis every Monday morning on masnsports.com, as I’ll be serving as a guest writer each week. Where as I’ll handle more of the day-to-day operations of the site in terms of game recaps and previews over here, on MASN you’ll get much more of an opinion piece each week.
You can read Birds Watcher in two different places. The easiest place is by clicking on www.birdswatcher.com. However the more exciting place so to speak is on Sports Illustrated’s website. If you go to www.sportsillustrated.com, click on MLB, click on Teams, and click on Orioles…you’ll see regular updates from Fansided/Birds Watcher right there on the page! Birds Watcher is this in a sense Sports Illustrated’s Orioles’ correspondent! Whether the readers come to us directly or through Sports Illustrated, we try to provide as in-depth coverage as we can. Stick with us this year, and I promise we won’t let you down in terms of the coverage we provide!
Orioles Update: The Orioles announced yesterday that T.J. McFarland would be on the final 25-man roster come Tuesday; McFarland of course is a Rule 5 draft pick from the Cleveland Indians. I find it interesting that most teams have already sent their Rule 5 picks back to their former clubs, yet for the second consecutive year the O’s are attempting to hang onto theirs. (Last season of course the Orioles kept Ryan Flaherty on the roster all season and he’s now a full fledged member of the organization.) The news about McFarland also ties in nicely with the latest Chris Tillman news as well. The Orioles sent Tillman to the DL, retroactive to March 22nd. That means that he’ll be eligible to come off the DL in time to make his scheduled start on April 6th…
…work with me here folks! Tillman has had some abdominal issues throughout camp. If he makes that start on April 6th, the Orioles could in theory put him back on the 15-day DL and not need a fifth starter (due to days off built into the schedule) until April 21st. Might the Orioles not be aiming for doing exactly that? This would allow McFarland to potentially have an extended tryout, and ultimately if the Orioles choose not to keep him they won’t have taxed a bullpen arm in their own organization. That might sound a bit out there, however anything’s possible. The greater possibility of course is that Tillman’s in the rotation on April 6th and ready to go…however one way or another the team will need to make a roster move before next Saturday night’s game in order to call Tillman up to make the start. That type of thing was par for the course last year, so I suppose it’s fitting that we start talking roster games before the 2013 season even begins!