A tale of two debuts, one unexpected and one expected


Feb 22, Sarasota, FL; Baltimore Orioles center fielder

Trayvon Robinson

during photo day at the Orioles clubhouse. Photo: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In baseball, as in other sports, there are few motivators as strong as being told no one wants you.

Trayvon Robinson is in camp with the Baltimore Orioles because they traded Robert Andino for him, but then acquired a few other spare-part type outfielders for organizational depth, and he got squeezed out of the picture. They designated him for assignment, so his return to the Orioles depended on passing through waivers. Every other major league passed on him, so here he is. Back again.

In the Orioles’ exhibition opener Saturday against Minnesota, he hit a 2-run, 8th-inning homer to provide the eventual winning runs in a 5-3 victory. In Sunday’s 5-4 win over Toronto, he doubled and scored in an 8th-inning rally that again put the team ahead for good. In Monday’s 5-1 win over the suddenly toothless Yankees (no Alex Rodriguez until perhaps the second half of the season, and no Curtis Granderson for the next 10 weeks with a broken arm), he singled, stole, went to third on a groundout, and scored on a hit to make the score 5-0 in the bottom of the sixth.

For the two and a half weeks Adam Jones is away from camp at the World Baseball Classic, March 2-19, Robinson figures to get on the field a fair share of times, as Buck Showalter gets the chance to play several of those outfielders Dan Duquette picked up essentially for a looksee and to stash at Norfolk if they don’t make the team. It’s a good first impression, and even though that’s all it is, one never can tell what pleasant surprises can come of situations like this.

Moving on to things that were expected to happen, Kevin Gausman got through two innings in his Oriole debut Sunday, reportedly hitting 98 on the gun a couple of times and sitting right around 96-97 most of the time. His changeup dipped down to 85 according to accounts, leaving Showalter to pronounce that pitch good enough to succeed in the majors. The Orioles’ No. 1 pick last June gave up a run, a hit, and two walks, and struck out two in an inning and 2/3 to get the save.

Not what you’d call the cleanest. By all accounts, including his interview on MASN during Monday’s game, there wasn’t too much concern on his part about cranking it up that high in his first outing. He said he felt amped up. Maybe it takes a worry wart to raise a concern there. Maybe if he comes up with a sore arm, we should trust the healing power of donuts.

Tuesday’s game against the Pirates in Bradenton was rained out, pushing a few pitchers’ scheduled appearances to Wednesday’s split-squad affair with the Yankees and Red Sox. Chris Tillman will oppose the Red Sox in the night game at Ed Smith Stadium on MLBTV. Dylan Bundy will go a couple of innings against the Yankees in the day game at Tampa.

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