03/06/2013 5:42 PM ET
Relief trio sees action in O's exhibition blowout
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- A trio of Orioles relievers made their Grapefruit League debuts in Wednesday's 19-7 win over Team Spain, with Luis Ayala, Darren O'Day and closer Jim Johnson each pitching an inning.
"It was a good work day is what I thought," said Johnson, who was slowed last spring with a back issue. "I got what I needed out of it."
O'Day and Johnson -- both coming off career seasons -- are being slow-played like Ayala and have pitched in several simulated games on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex leading up to Wednesday. O'Day entered in the seventh inning with a 13-run lead and allowed a pair of runs on two hits, while Johnson pitched the eighth and gave up an unearned run after surrendering a leadoff triple.
"We've already got it kind of lined up," Johnson said of the rest of his spring schedule. "The next outing we got is for the 10th [of March], and then if things change, things change. But we got it set up that I will do a little bit of everything. I will do back-to-back, maybe an inning-plus or something like that. We have it all laid out as to where we're going to finish so that we're ready. I get like two days off before the season starts."
Ayala pitched a scoreless fourth inning and allowed two hits with a strikeout. The right-hander pitched in the Mexican Winter League playoffs before coming down to Sarasota, so the Orioles have used caution in bringing him along this spring since he's already in game shape.
"I'm pretty sure we'll pick our spots with them," manager Buck Showalter said of Ayala, Johnson and O'Day. "I don't think you'll see them pitch on the same day all the time. We'll see. I am going to treat each one of them a little differently."
O's targeting Sunday return for Markakis, Reimold
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Outfielders Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold could both return to the field for Sunday's home contest against the Pirates, manager Buck Showalter said on Wednesday.
Markakis was scratched from Sunday's game with neck spasms and hasn't played since, while Reimold -- who is dealing with right shoulder soreness -- hasn't seen time in the outfield since being removed after two innings in Friday's game.
Reimold has served as the team's designated hitter, since the shoulder only bothers him when throwing, and he is considered to be a little behind Markakis. The team is being extra cautious with the two, given how early it is in camp and how this year's Spring Training is longer than usual.
Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who threw at the team's spring facility in Sarasota on Tuesday, will throw a bullpen session Thursday and pitch in Saturday's road game against the Red Sox. Bundy, who was pushed back from Sunday's scheduled appearance with a groin spasm, could start that game and fellow prospect Kevin Gausman will also pitch.
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.