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news for Orioles camp

AL BEast Notebook – March 19

The pitchers contending for the two final starting rotation positions haven’t made the selection process easy for manager Buck Showalter.

Steve Johnson pitched four shutout innings on Sunday. Jake Arrieta had an impressive performance on Saturday, pitching 4.2 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits and 3 walks. Zach Britton pitched 3.2 scoreless innings on Friday, allowing 1 hit and a couple walks. Brian Matusz pitched four no-hit innings in his last game, striking out 7, and starts Tuesday’s game. Miguel Gonzalez did not pitch well in his last game on March 10, allowing four 4 runs (3 unearned) in a couple innings.

Jair Jurrjens has not done well in his four outings, allowing runs in each one while walking 6 and yielding 11 hits in about 9 innings. It seems likely he’s headed to the minors to figure out his mechanics.

Chris Tillman is dealing with “abdominal soreness” and hasn’t pitched in a game for a couple weeks. He is expected to be in the rotation, along with Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.

So two pitchers we expect to start the first week (Tillman and Gonzalez) haven’t done much of anything lately, and four of the others battling for the last spot have been lights out. At this point, it looks like Arrieta and Johnson have a leg up for the last two spots but it’s a very fluid situation.

Around the rest of the team, outfielder Nick Markakis has a small herniated disk in his neck and has been resting for a couple weeks. He says he can resume baseball activities later this week, and just has a little soreness in his neck. Barring a setback, he should start the season on time.

In other news, the Orioles have discovered a scheduling conflict with the Ravens. The football team is scheduled to open the season in Baltimore on Thursday September 5,  but the Orioles are scheduled to play at Camden Yards that night. That’s more than the city can handle. You would think that the defending Super Bowl Champions’ season opener would get a little preferential treatment, but Bud Selig and the Orioles (who play 162 games a year) are not budging. Strange…