Guthrie to start O's spring opener

Guthrie to start O's spring opener

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jeremy Guthrie will open Grapefruit League action for the Orioles, getting the starting nod Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

"I'm excited," said Guthrie, whose last start was Oct. 4, 2009. "I'm happy to open up Ed Smith Stadium."

The 30-year-old Guthrie said he has known about the assignment for about a week and is "ready to go." Although veteran Kevin Millwood is expected to be the team's Opening Day starter, Guthrie has made it no secret that he is ready to put a dismal 2009 season behind him. The right-hander, who went 10-17 with a 5.04 ERA last year, is part of a projected rotation that includes Millwood, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.

Guthrie has said previously that a solid Spring Training would go a long way in helping reestablish his confidence, and he will look to start things off right in the Orioles' inaugural season in Sarasota.

Guthrie will be opposed by Rays right-hander and likely Opening Day pitcher James Shields, with starter Matt Garza also expected to pitch. Jeff Niemann will get the start for Tampa Bay on Thursday in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said on Sunday that he planned to talk to pitching coach Rick Kranitz and go over the team's rotation for the first week of Spring Training. Trembley was under the impression that Kranitz already had the list, so a formal announcement is likely within the next few days.

Closer Michael Gonzalez is slated to make his Orioles debut at some point on Wednesday. Gonzalez is scheduled to throw on Monday -- but not during the team's intrasquad game -- and said he will see how his arm feels.

The Orioles will send 14 different arms to the hill during Monday's seven-inning intrasquad game, with first pitch scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Trembley said last week that the team expects to use a mix of younger guys and veterans while sticking to each pitcher's individual schedule.

"Some of the guys you will see pitch on [Monday] will probably be ready to pitch on [Saturday]," Trembley said. "And there is some consideration early here in camp that we may not want some of the guys to pitch against division opponents, if we can possibly avoid it."

Tillman will throw for the orange squad, and eighth-inning man Jim Johnson will be one of the seven pitchers used for the black team. The outing will mark Tillman's first time facing live hitters this spring, as the right-hander was slowed earlier in the week by back spasms and has not thrown any batting practice.

Mike Hinckley, Wilfrido Perez, Ross Wolf, Choyre Spoone, Josh Perrault and Brandon Erbe will also throw for the orange team, with Jake Arrieta, Luis Lebron, Troy Patton, Armando Gabino and Frank Mata expected to throw an inning each for the black squad.

The game is free and open to the public, but the Orioles are asking attendees for small donations to the local Boys & Girls club. The team will be putting on a free clinic for the Club following the game.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.