The Baltimore Orioles will take on Philadelphia in Florida Grapefruit League play this afternoon at 1 PM at Ed Smith Stadium. (The game will be shown on MASN, as will tomorrow’s game against Boston.) Ubaldo Jimenez, one of the Orioles’ big late-off season acquisitions, will make the start; it will be Jimenez’s first action in an Oriole uniform. Interestingly enough, his mound opponent for Philadelphia will be A.J. Burnett, who the Orioles were also targeting this off season. This will be a little different than seeing someone like Nelson Cruz work out in game action for the first time. Jimenez was signed to a four-year deal, so one way or the other he’ll be with the O’s for the foreseeable future.
Buck Showalter and several players, coaches, and staff will be leaving part way through the game today to board a charter flight to Virginia to attend the funeral of Monica Barlow, the team’s late Director of PR. (It’s unclear whether or not they’ll return in time for tomorrow’s game against Boston.) To his credit, Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos paid out of his pocket so that the team had a plane big enough for everyone who wanted to attend the funeral could do so. It’s unclear how much this will affect the regular players’ normal rotation in terms of playing in today’s game, however one would think that they’ll probably get two or perhaps three at-bats and then be out. That’s about how much one would expect them to play anyways at this point in spring training.
On an unrelated note, I found this tweet from FOX’s Ken Rosenthal very interesting yesterday. In general major league teams are supposed to bring a minimum of three “regular” players (starters that is) on road trips in spring training. As I’ve said in the past, most teams leave many of their starters behind for road games, especially early in spring training. But the idea behind having teams bring at least three regulars is to ensure the “semi-competitiveness” of the games given that people are paying to get in.
Most Orioles fans aren’t going to lose too much sleep over a division rival being fined or disciplined by the league. However I would submit that this is a bad move on the part of MLB. First off, one could look at some of the lineups that the Orioles have fielded at road games in the last week and raise similar questions. However while I do agree that teams should bring a few starters to each road game, I think that brings us to a slippery slope. Furthermore it might not out of the realm of rationality to question who’s considered a starter or a regular at this point in spring training. Many teams are still experimenting with players, combinations, batting orders, and positions. For the most part I think that the unwritten code should be that teams should bring a few veterans on the road with them. But to start fining teams for not doing it might be a bit draconian. In the same respect, if Boston is going to try to argue that they’re “just getting a look” at Joe Blow (in favor of Mike Napoli) at first base, that’s far from believable.