2/26/2014 4:13 P.M. ET
Cruz on track for O's spring debut Saturday
Ubaldo to pitch March 7; Yoon's timetable altered due to visa issues
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
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."
Machado could be cleared to play March 18
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is tentatively scheduled to have his left knee reevaluated on March 18, according to manager Buck Showalter.
"That's real tentative," Showalter said Wednesday. "[Head athletic trainer] Richie [Bancells] talked to Dr. ElAttrache, he called just to check up on Manny, he's real excited with what he's hearing."
Machado, who has been cleared to do pretty much everything but play in games, has said that he has one more doctor's appointment to get the green light. Showalter wasn't sure if that March 18 date would be the big day.
"That's what I asked Richie today, does that mean we have to definitely wait until March 18 to play in a game?" Showalter said. "I don't know the answer to that question yet. That would still give him enough time [to be ready for Opening Day], if that was the case."
Machado's last appointment was prior to the team's Fanfest and required him to go to Los Angeles, which would probably be the case again.
Machado has been rehabbing the knee since undergoing reconstructive surgery in October.
'Two Minutes with ...' focuses on Britton
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Up next in the daily "Two Minutes with ..." series is Orioles left-handed pitcher Zach Britton, who is out of Minor League options and competing for a rotation spot this spring. Britton, 26, appeared in eight games for the Orioles last season (seven starts) and went 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA. His best season in the Majors was his rookie year in 2011, in which he went 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA.
Favorite food: I really like anything Dominican, Spanish or Latin type of food. Let's say moro. It's a Dominican dish my mom makes with chicken and rice and beans.
Favorite movie: Saving Private Ryan was one of my favorite movies. And I like For Love of the Game, too.
Hidden talent: I like to draw in the offseason, I draw my wife pictures all the time. I have an easel and everything. I've always done it, in high school and stuff, and then when I started [playing pro baseball], I did it in the offseason with my down time. It's standard pencil drawings. One time I had a picture of my brother [Buck, who is also in the Orioles organization] fielding and I tried to draw that. It's something I like to do.
If I wasn't a baseball player I'd be … Probably something with the military. My dad was in the military [in the Army], and I always was drawn to that and baseball when I was younger. So probably something along those lines, I'd think.
Favorite offseason place: South Lake Tahoe. My wife's family has a house up there, so we go and hang out in the snow.
Prized possession: I have my grandfather's Bronze Star and Purple Heart from World War II. I actually just found those this offseason in my grandma's attic.
Prospect Hart assigned essay on Frank Robinson
SARASOTA, Fla. -- With manager Buck Showalter's homework assignment for prospect Josh Hart making national headlines, the young outfielder will get some time at big league camp this spring.
"He's definitely going to be now. So, I can apologize," Showalter said, laughing. "Heck, he might play the whole year."
Hart came over from Minor League camp Monday as an extra guy for Miguel Gonzalez's live bullpen session and became a big name when Showalter told reporters he had assigned the prospect a paper for not knowing who Frank Robinson was. Robinson visited Orioles camp and spoke to the team on a personal invitation from executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, and he was walking with Showalter past Hart before the Orioles skipper decided to test the youngster.
When Hart didn't know who Robinson was, Showalter assigned him a one-page paper on the Hall of Famer, due on his desk the following day.
"I called [director of player development] Brian [Graham] yesterday about something else, I said 'This kid's not ruined for life or embarrassed?' and he said, 'No, he loves it. I just got through talking to him.' He said he didn't realize what a great player [Robinson] was, and he really needed more than one page to get everything on it. And he hopes to get a chance to see Mr. Robinson again one day; said he knew he was somebody famous.
"I actually feel bad now. I do. I got a good feeling we will be talking about something else concerning Josh Hart than that at some point. He's a talented kid."
Hart, a sandwich pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, discussed his report with Showalter on Tuesday night and will bring the actual report the next time he's at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
"That's what I get for telling anybody," Showalter said of the national attention the story received. "You are never too old to learn a lesson."
One prospect who doesn't figure to get any playing time in big league camp is top Draft pick Hunter Harvey, who was selected out of high school last season. Showalter said he may bring Harvey over to see how things are run, but he wants him concentrating on getting ready for the Minor League season.
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.