Davis determined to exceed his own expectations

Offense most important, but slugging first baseman emphasizing defense in spring

Davis determined to exceed his own expectations

SARASOTA, Fla. -- When Chris Davis was at his lowest point last season, after news broke about his 25-game suspension for a positive Adderall test, he leaned on two people most: his wife, Jill, and Rangers Minor League hitting coordinator Scott Coolbaugh.

Coolbaugh, named the Orioles' hitting coach this offseason, could end up being an underrated acquisition for a Baltimore club that had a relatively quiet winter, losing both Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. One of Coolbaugh's biggest tests will be getting his prized pupil back on track, as Davis -- who will serve the final day of his suspension on Opening Day -- will be a key component in the O's quest to repeat as American League East champs.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tillman fans eight Pirates in final tuneup for Opening Day

Tillman fans eight Pirates in final tuneup for Opening Day

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Everth Cabrera tripled in a run in the seventh and scored on next batter Alejandro De Aza's pinch-hit single to give the Orioles their first lead before the Pirates rallied in the eighth to force a 3-3 tie in a 10-inning Grapefruit League contest Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh Opening Day starter Francisco Liriano and Baltimore counterpart Chris Tillman faced off, both looking sharp. Tillman allowed three hits in five innings, one of them Pedro Alvarez's two-run homer in the second. Liriano surrendered a solo homer by Cabrera in the third, the lefty's final inning of work before yielding to Gerrit Cole, who tossed three shutout innings.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Showalter confident with health on O's side

Manager emphasizes importance of pitching as season approaches

Showalter confident with health on O's side

With the season rapidly approaching, the Orioles have some key decisions to make before Spring Training is over.

MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli recently caught up with manager Buck Showalter to discuss what he's seen this spring and his thoughts on Opening Day.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tillman to get it going as Orioles' Opening Day starter

Will face Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday

Tillman to get it going as Orioles' Opening Day starter

SARASOTA, Fla. -- As expected, Orioles manager Buck Showalter named Chris Tillman his Opening Day starter on Tuesday afternoon.

"There's a news flash," Showalter said with a grin as he delivered the long-speculated news.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gausman forced to work through trouble against Rays

Allows four runs over 3 2/3; Reimold goes deep

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Facing each other for the second straight game, the Rays used some early offense to top the Orioles, 4-3, at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

The two teams played to a 6-6, 10-inning tie on Monday.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shoulder strain sidelines Hardy at season's outset

Shortstop shut down until swelling subsides

Shoulder strain sidelines Hardy at season's outset

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who will miss the start of the season with a left-shoulder strain, said the priority is to reduce the swelling in the area to help him get back to baseball activities.

Hardy is expected to be placed on the disabled list and could return April 11 at the earliest.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lough to start season on DL because of hamstring

Outfielder expected to be available on April 11

Lough to start season on DL because of hamstring

SARASOTA, Fla.-- David Lough said his back issue has been resolved and now it's strictly about getting his left-hamstring injury resolved as the outfielder, who is slated to start the season on the disabled list, works his way back.

"It's disappointing, it's hard to go into [manager Buck Showalter's] office and tell him that I'm injured because I'm not injured too often and when I am, it's frustrating," said Lough, who had some hamstring tightness a few weeks back. "Especially with how well I know my body. It's just a minor bump in the road. I'll look past this when I'm done and get some at-bats at [the Minor League facility at] Twin Lakes and get ready to go."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lefty Hendrickson announces retirement

Veteran pitcher exploring other options in Major League Baseball

Lefty Hendrickson announces retirement

SARASOTA, Fla.-- Veteran pitcher Mark Hendrickson announced on Tuesday he's retired from baseball as a player. The 40-year-old -- a non-roster invitee with the O's this spring -- will explore other options, including remaining with Baltimore in another role.

"It'd be something I'd be interested in this year, yeah," said Hendrickson, who arranged a conference call with the Orioles' media to break the news. "To me, the big question [is], 'What does it really look like?' And I think that's something that's a little bit of an unknown. Coaching, front office, advisor role, lot of different things."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O's have numbers to make up for power void

In covering for Cruz's absence, club expects big season from Machado among others

O's have numbers to make up for power void

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Of all the questions surrounding the Orioles heading into the 2015 season, one number may say it best: 40.

How does Baltimore's lineup make up for a career year by slugger Nelson Cruz, who drove in 108 runs and hit a career-high 40 home runs before signing with Seattle? The O's struck a fantastic bargain in getting Cruz on a one-year deal, and he put the Orioles on his back, particularly early on in the season, and was named the Most Valuable Oriole by members of the local media.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Davies makes successful spring debut against Rays

No. 4 prospect goes 3 1/3 innings, allows one run

Davies makes successful spring debut against Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Joey Butler smacked a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning off Orioles reliever Wesley Wright to tie the game at 6-6, capping the Rays' comeback from an early 5-0 deficit Monday afternoon.

The Orioles opened the scoring in the first inning when Delmon Young's one-out single drove home Nolan Reimold. They got busy again in the third when Jonathan Schoop doubled home a run, Ryan Flaherty grounded out to drive in another, and Schoop scored when Rays left-fielder John Jaso dropped a fly ball. Alejandro De Aza tripled with two outs to drive home the Orioles' fourth run of the inning to take a 5-0 lead.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O's prospect Connaughton still focusing on basketball

O's prospect Connaughton still focusing on basketball

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Manager Buck Showalter said before Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park that the team would give pitching prospect Pat Connaughton time to relax before he reported to camp. But the two-sport star, who also plays for the Notre Dame basketball team that was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night, may not return to baseball any time soon.

Shortly after Showalter spoke, word spread that Connaughton told WEEI in Boston that, at the moment, basketball remains his priority right now.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hardy to miss Opening Day with strained muscle

Former All-Star shut down for minimum of 10 days

Hardy to miss Opening Day with strained muscle

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Former All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop J.J. Hardy will not participate in any baseball activities for a minimum of 10 days after an enhanced MRI revealed a strained muscle below his left shoulder blade.

Hardy, who was injured diving for a ground ball on Friday, will miss Opening Day against the Rays on April 6 and is likely to miss the home opener against the Blue Jays on April 10 as well.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Showalter plays cat and mouse with pitchers

O's face division rivals in last week of spring, first week of regular season

Showalter plays cat and mouse with pitchers

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Orioles played Tampa Bay on Monday. They open the regular season against the Rays on April 6. Two days earlier they played the Yankees, another division rival.

It's not entirely a coincidence, then, that Zach Davies was on the mound at Charlotte Sports Park on Monday while Wei-Yin Chen stayed behind to pitch in a Minor League game in Sarasota, Fla. Or that Tyler Wilson threw against the Yankees on Saturday.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lough in jeopardy of starting season on DL

Lingering hamstring/back injury progressing slowly; Paredes could be roster candidate

Lough in jeopardy of starting season on DL

SARASOTA, Fla. -- David Lough is not progressing as quickly as the Orioles would have hoped, with the outfielder -- who is dealing with a hamstring/back injury -- now a possibility to start the season on the disabled list.

"It's beginning to look like [a DL situation] more than it did," manager Buck Showalter said Sunday. "I was hoping we'd get him out there playing today or tomorrow and not have a problem. He wants to get out there. Talking to him and getting him to be real frank with us, I think he's actually pushing it a little bit where he shouldn't. He knows some of the decisions going on."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzalez likely to pitch during season's first series

Showalter likes O's starter's matchup with Rays, outlook for remainder of first month

Gonzalez likely to pitch during season's first series

SARASOTA, Fla.-- Miguel Gonzalez will likely pitch in the first series of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Buck Showalter said on Sunday.

"We're leaning that way," Showalter said. "It kind of slots him out the rest of the month where he should be. Like I say, we've got a rare opportunity with playing in our division for as much as we do, and the track record our starters have there in different venues against different teams, and kind of take advantage of that." 

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orioles stage hit parade to back strong Ubaldo

Parmelee hits late HR as lineup contributes throughout; starter allows one run in 6 IP

Orioles stage hit parade to back strong Ubaldo

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez tossed six strong innings, while Jimmy Paredes, Dariel Alvarez and Chris Parmelee (three) each had multiple hits in the Orioles' 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Baltimore opened the scoring in the top of the third inning on back-to-back doubles by Everth Cabrera and Paredes. That was the only damage against Blue Jays veteran lefty Mark Buehrle, who scattered seven hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out four over five innings.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jones, Snider fire up O's, but Gonzalez struggles

Pair hits back-to-back homers in first inning; starter allows five runs in 5 2/3

Jones, Snider fire up O's, but Gonzalez struggles

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ricky Nolasco settled down after a rocky first frame to turn in a quality start, while Eric Fryer and Oswaldo Arcia both connected on two-run homers to help lead the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Orioles on Sunday at Ed Smith Stadium.

Nolasco gave up a two-run shot to center field to Adam Jones before promptly giving up a solo blast to Travis Snider, giving the Orioles back-to-back homers and an early 3-0 lead in the first inning.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orioles reassign 3 to Minor League camp

Alvarez, Roe, Parmelee depart; 5 non-roster invitees remain

Orioles reassign 3 to Minor League camp

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles reassigned three players following Sunday's split-squad games, trimming their spring roster to 37 by sending Dariel Alvarez, Chaz Roe and Chris Parmelee to Minor League camp. The moves leave five non-roster players in camp in outfielder Nolan Reimold, infielders Paul Janish and Jayson Nix and catchers Ryan Lavarnway and J.P. Arencibia.

Alvarez had a solid spring and is expected to help the Major League club at some point this season. The 26-year-old right fielder showcased his incredible arm and held his own at the plate in his first big league camp.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Showalter: Keeping both Verrett, Garcia difficult

Club likes Rule 5 pitchers, but carrying pair on roster would affect bullpen, staff

Showalter: Keeping both Verrett, Garcia difficult

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledged Sunday that it would require a trade for the Orioles to keep both Rule 5 Draft pitchers: Logan Verrett and Jason Garcia.

Of the two, Verrett -- who has allowed two earned runs over 12 innings -- appears to be the more likely player the O's will keep. They really like Garcia as well, but it would be tough to have two more players who are unable to be optioned in the 'pen without clearing a spot with a trade of another reliever. It would be difficult enough to just keep one.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilson unfazed by Yanks before heading to Minors

Orioles prospect hurls four shutout innings in spring start

Wilson unfazed by Yanks before heading to Minors

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tyler Wilson got everything he needed out of his first Major League camp, said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who announced the right-hander had been optioned after he held the Yankees scoreless in Saturday's four-inning start, a 10-2 Baltimore victory.

Showalter joked that Wilson's dominant outing -- in which he held the Yankees to one hit -- wasn't enough for the O's high standards, though the real reason Wilson was sent to Triple-A Norfolk is so he can be stretched out and get ready for the Minor League season.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilson's strong outing supported by De Aza

Orioles prospect allows one hit in four scoreless innings; outfielder homers

Wilson's strong outing supported by De Aza

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run homer to back Tyler Wilson's impressive start as the Orioles defeated the Yankees, 10-2, on Saturday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

De Aza's second homer of the spring highlighted a five-run frame as Baltimore jumped on right-hander Scott Baker. Ryan Flaherty had a sacrifice fly and Jonathan Schoop slapped a run-scoring single in the frame off Baker, who is trying to win a spot on the Yanks' pitching staff as a non-roster invitee.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hardy getting more evaluation on shoulder

Orioles shortstop to have MRA after suffering injury while diving for ball

Hardy getting more evaluation on shoulder

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Shortstop J.J. Hardy will get an MRA on his injured left shoulder Monday and won't play before Tuesday, according to Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Hardy said Saturday morning he had been hoping to avoid anti-inflammatory medications this spring, but the infielder had no choice after jamming his left shoulder diving for a ball during Friday's rain-shortened game.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Count on the Orioles being back atop the AL East perch

Front office, Showalter and returning stars will offset key free-agent losses

Count on the Orioles being back atop the AL East perch

Let's get out in front of this thing here and now. The Baltimore Orioles aren't sneaking up on anyone this time.

Fooled me once…

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orioles prospect Davies to start vs. Rays

Right-hander ranked fourth in Baltimore system; Chen to face Minor Leaguers

Orioles prospect Davies to start vs. Rays

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitching prospect Zach Davies will get the start Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, with lefty Wei-Yin Chen pitching in a Minor League game.

The right-handed Davies is ranked as Baltimore's No. 4 prospect by MLB.com. Just 22, Davies went 10-7 with a 3.35 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for Double-A Bowie last season. A 26th-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Davies twice was named Eastern League Player of the Week last season.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orioles, Rays game washed out

Game was postponed in the middle of the fourth inning by rain

Orioles, Rays game washed out

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles and Rays game was called off due to inclement weather in the middle of the fourth inning.

Baltimore was leading the contest, which was not long enough to be an official game, 4-3, with home runs by Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Norris not concerned about his spring struggles

Norris not concerned about his spring struggles

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles starter Bud Norris' stats didn't count in Friday's canceled game, but the right-hander was still able to get his work in, throwing four innings and finishing up with 20-25 more in the indoor cages.

Norris gave up three runs -- including a solo homer from Tampa Bay's Rene Rivera in the third -- as he continued to have what he called an "interesting" spring campaign.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilson gets opportunity to make an impression

O's 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year will make his spring starting debut

Wilson gets opportunity to make an impression

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tyler Wilson, the Orioles' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2014, will get his first Grapefruit League start on Saturday when he faces the Yankees. 

"I'm excited," Wilson said. "Obviously, to get a chance to start a game is great. That's all I've ever done in the Minor Leagues. It's good to be able to have a few days to get back in that routine a little bit."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.