Ayala declines WBC; Roberts’ buildup continues


Spring Training has been going on for one week tomorrow, and I already need a calculator to figure out how often fans on Internet discussion boards have asked if Brian Roberts will be the Baltimore Orioles’ Opening Day second baseman. The best answer thus far, with not even an intrasquad game having been played yet, is that he thinks he will be, and he says he’s physically up to par.

There will be seven more Grapefruit League games this year due to camp starting so early because of the World Baseball Classic. Anyone who says he would like to get more at-bats probably will just by the nature of things. Buck Showalter will oblige Roberts sooner or later, but if Roberts’ body stands up to it, most of his at-bats will come in the last week or two of camp. An attempt will be made not to bore you with his progress and condition, but with second base and Roberts being such integral components in the team’s performance this year, don’t be surprised if you read a ton about it. A lot is riding on his consistent health and productivity.

Oct 10, 2012; The Bronx, NY; The Orioles’ Darren O’Day pitches against the Yankees in the ALDS. Photo: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Today the team has announced they’ve reached an agreement on Darren O’Day’s contract, two years with a club option for 2015. No, it is not Groundhog Day; I know that was reported recently. It turns out that report was from O’Day’s agency, and today’s news is the club making it official. Apparently his agent jumped the gun previously. So this gives us more than just one story. He agreed to terms, and his agent jumped the gun. Usually it’s the agent letting the negotiations take right up until the last possibly moment to get his client the most money and/or best deal possible. The important thing is that a reliever of O’Day’s caliber will be an Oriole for at least this season and next.

According to MASNSports.com, it was confirmed today that reliever Luis Ayala will not take part in the WBC. He pitched Winter Ball, and how much punishment can a pitcher put his arm through and stay effective for a whole year? Giving his arm some downtime, followed by the gradual buildup involved in camp, is the wise choice for him.

A week ago, we were counting down the days until camp started. Now we count down until the first Grapefruit League game, Saturday against the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Can you feel it? More to come.

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