The Baltimore Orioles defeated…the Baltimore Orioles yesterday at Ed Smith Stadium. Or I suppose we could flip that around and say that the O’s were beaten by the O’s; however you want to clarify, but this was just an intrasquad scrimmage. Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis homered on the day the day, with Schoop homering off of Steve Johnson. However several other players, including Nolan Reimold, Kevin Gausman, and rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar, all made contributions. It has to be somewhat strange playing against your own team, however this is all part of camp and so forth. If I were the Orioles I’d rather see this than have the team play against a local college before even seeing live competition.
Buck Showalter also announced that Nelson Cruz will make his Grapefruit League debut for the Orioles on Saturday against Toronto at Ed Smith Stadium (a game that will be shown live on MASN at 1 PM). Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to pitch for the first time in an Oriole uniform next Friday, March 7th. The O’s open up Grapefruit League play this Friday against Tampa in Port Charlotte, FL. It’s unclear how many of the “A-team” players will play that day, as often during spring training the regular players don’t make the road trips. (Obviously we know that Nelson Cruz won’t be there.) Certainly Saturday’s MASN game will be an “all hands on deck” affair for the O’s, given that it’ll be at home in Sarasota.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Orioles utilize the aforementioned Michael Almanzar. He was chosen by the O’s in the rule 5 draft back in December out of Boston’s organization. (In fact if I recall, Boston was both surprised and disappointed that he was chosen by someone – a division rival at that.) Almanzar is primarily a first baseman, but while his numbers aren’t the greatest he has played some third base as well. It would stand to reason that the O’s might have to send him back to Boston given that there doesn’t appear to be much space for him on the roster, however I think we might see him in some games this spring. The Orioles have an obvious early need at third base in at least the first part of spring training (possibly longer). So would it not behoove the Birds to give him a look?
I would expect Ryan Flaherty to play a lot of third base as well, especially if it starts looking like Machado won’t be able to start the season. The O’s had penciled Flaherty in to be the starting second baseman, but there’s also depth there as well with Jermile Weeks and Alexi Casilla. The hope and belief is that Machado is going to be able to go on Opening Day, and Buck Showalter said during FanFest this month that March 15th is looking like their target date to have him able to participate in games if he’s to be ready.