Cruz on track for O's spring debut Saturday

Ubaldo to pitch March 7; Yoon's timetable altered due to visa issues

Cruz on track for O's spring debut Saturday

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Nelson Cruz is expected to make his first spring start for the Orioles in Saturday's Grapefruit League home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter spoke with Cruz on Wednesday -- after he took some infield practice -- and said he may give the veteran the option of going to Port Charlotte for Friday's game vs. the Rays, but he would prefer to have Cruz play at home.

"He's been doing a lot," Showalter said of Cruz, who was introduced as an Oriole and practiced for the first time on Tuesday. "He kind of updated on what all he's been doing."

New pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to make his spring debut on March 7. Suk-min Yoon was originally targeted for that day as well, but he will now have to leave for Canada instead.

"He's going to leave on like the fourth, and he's going to be gone like three days," Showalter said of Yoon, who is trying to secure a work visa without going back to South Korea. "Looks like it puts him back, because he's not going to be ready on the third or fourth [to pitch]. … We were planning on the seventh, but this changes the time frame."

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