3/8/2014 5:47 P.M. ET
Orioles attend service of late PR director Barlow
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles continued to pay tribute to the late Monica Pence Barlow, their former public relations director, on Saturday, one day after they departed en masse to pay their respects.
Barlow, who passed away after a bout with Stage IV lung cancer on February 28, was memorialized Friday night in her hometown of Harrisonburg, Va. A huge contingent of the team -- including manager Buck Showalter and several players -- flew to the funeral and back to Sarasota on Friday night.
One morning later, the team wore orange LUNGevity T-shirts during batting practice in honor of Barlow's chosen charity. Showalter said that he was proud of his players for making the trip and thankful to Peter Angelos, managing partner of the Orioles, who arranged for the team to travel on his plane.
"It went as well as could be expected last night. I'm glad we went," Showalter said Saturday. "It was tough for everybody. I don't think they realized. It's the Shenandoah Valley. Great place, salt of the earth. It was at the church where her father was the minister. A lot of people came down from Baltimore. They're actually going to stay for today. I wish we could've. I'm glad we went, but it was tough."
Adam Jones, Baltimore's All-Star center fielder, spoke Saturday about what Barlow meant to the team. Jones said that her loss was difficult to process for the team, but he also said that it was extraordinarily important to the players to show up and pay their respects.
"We respect the process and we respect her family," said Jones. "She's part of our family, so we've got to show face. Credit goes to Peter Angelos. He set the whole thing up. Everyone gives him flack about not doing this and not doing this. This is the true Peter Angelos, taking care of his family."
Jones, moments later, emphasized why it meant so much to show up and be present.
"This is my team," he said. "There's no way in hell I'd miss this. She taught me many, many things, how to carry myself as a professional athlete, as a man, and how to handle myself in this business. Even if Peter didn't set this up, I would have probably set something up to go up there."
Barlow, who was 36 years old, had worked for the Orioles as an intern after graduating from William and Mary, and she began her full-time tenure with Baltimore in 2001. Over the last 13 years, she had risen all the way to Director of Public Relations on the strength of her diligence and precision.
Barlow touched countless people in the Baltimore community, and Showalter said it was instructive for his players to see where she had come from and to hear stories from the people that knew her for her entire life. And with their simple show of respect, he said, they helped the community heal.
"With our players going, in that community, they'll talk about the visit. ... It will be something that keeps people talking about Monica for years to come," he said. "Our guys would've drove up there if we let them. It was more a case of we had to turn some guys away because we didn't have room."
Norris pleased with performance in second start
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Bud Norris cruised through his second Spring Training appearance on Saturday, striking out four batters and not allowing anybody to reach scoring position. Norris got two guys swinging and two guys looking, and he also coaxed a double play in the second inning.
Norris had worked two scoreless innings in his spring debut, and he escaped Saturday's game despite his back tightening up in the second inning. Norris said the back ailment wasn't really anything to worry about, and he said that getting four strikeouts was generally a good sign for him.
"It means you're playing on the corners, you're getting ahead of hitters and you have a chance to put guys away," said Norris. "That's what you want when you've got a guy ahead. You want to put him away. There are situations in the American League where you're going to need that."
Norris, acquired by the Orioles at least year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, stayed away from the middle of the plate on Saturday. Jackie Bradley Jr., the first batter of the game, took Norris all the way to the warning track, but the right-hander rallied by striking out Deven Marrero and Mike Carp.
Will Middlebrooks -- who would homer later in the game -- singled in the second inning, and Norris stayed on track by coaxing a double play from Travis Shaw. Norris, a California native, gave up another single in the third inning but struck out two of the final three batters he faced.
"Right-hander or left-hander, I'm trying to hit the glove," he said. "I'm trying to play both sides of the plate and work on the things I'm working on. The results were great today ... and I'm happy with that."
Gonzalez taking precautions after liner hits shin
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Miguel Gonzalez was moving better on Saturday, one day after getting hit by a line drive on his left shin. Gonzalez said there was still swelling but that the ball didn't do any lasting damage, and he also said that he hopes to get back on the mound at some point next week.
"It's a little sore, but not bad," said Gonzalez. "It could have been worse. No bone, no nothing."
Gonzalez said he's never been hit that hard by a batted ball before, and he admitted that it was a pretty scary experience. The X-rays came back negative, though, and Baltimore's training staff has advised Gonzalez not to run on Saturday for precautionary reasons. After that, he'll be day-to-day.
"I'm going to play catch today and see how it feels. Usually, two days after is the worst," he said. "It's nothing serious. Just get the swelling down. We're treating it. And just go from there."
Manager Buck Showalter said that the Orioles hope to get Gonzalez back on the mound on Tuesday, but the team will make alternate plans if the right-hander is still too sore to pitch. Now, Showalter said, the priority is to make sure Gonzalez doesn't alter his mechanics to protect his shin.
"I think that's why he'll probably take a work-day in between, make sure it's OK," Showalter said. "Other than throwing more pitches, he got hot down in the bullpen. He went out there. He got the more important things, with the exception of getting stretched out a bit. We've got time with that."
Gonzalez worked in 30 games for the Orioles last season, and Showalter said he wants to make sure that he has him available for the long haul of the regular season. Showalter said the Orioles got lucky in avoiding a more serious injury, and he knows the lay of the land can change in an instant.
"We've had two or three, actually four hits on the foot," he said. "It makes you realize from the dugout that you're a pitch away from the dynamics of everything changing. Fragile. We shouldn't be at that point yet where you just want guys to get out of camp healthy. You've got to play the games."
Infielder Alexi Casilla, sidelined by a sore right hamstring, said Saturday that he hopes to make his spring debut on Monday. Casilla played in 62 games for Baltimore last year.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.