3/9/2014 6:42 P.M. ET
'Crisp' Chen impresses Showalter with start
By Adam Berry and Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter found a lot to like about the way his pitching staff performed in Sunday's 9-2 win over the Pirates. Baltimore held Pittsburgh to five hits and one walk while striking out 11 batters, and the Bucs' only runs came on homers given up by reliever Brad Brach.
Showalter was particularly pleased with the performance of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who was coming off a rough spring debut against the Yankees on Tuesday. Chen allowed two runs on five hits, a homer and a walk in that outing, but he bounced back Sunday with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings of one-hit ball.
"Chen was crisp. It was good to see," Showalter said. "The changeup was very effective. ... [Command] was really good. I thought he was a little crisper, stuff-wise, too, especially to carry it that many innings. It was kind of a hitter-friendly day. I felt very encouraged with the progress they made with the changeup and the breaking ball."
Chen echoed what Showalter said, crediting his sharper command for his improved performance Sunday.
"I think the main difference is my command is better than the last outing," Chen said. "I was able to keep the ball low and hit the both sides of the plate. I think that's the main difference."
Chen also agreed that his changeup is ahead of his other pitches, and its effectiveness against the Pirates backed up Chen's words.
"The changeup works the best for me," Chen said. "The curveball and my slider are not 100 percent yet, so I will try and get a better feel for that in the next few outings."
Sliding next for Machado as he makes progress
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache on March 18, but he hopes to begin sliding before he's re-evaluated and potentially cleared to begin playing in games.
Overall, Machado continues to be pleased with his progress as he works his way back from offseason surgery on his left knee. He passed an important checkpoint Thursday, when he ran the bases and landed on the bag with each foot, and sliding will be his next major rehab milestone.
"I think things have been going great. Everything's been going smooth and I haven't had any complaints," Machado said. "The whole offseason, it's been smooth. It's been a smooth ride. ... It's been going great. I'm happy with everything, how it's panning out so far. Just keep taking it day by day."
Machado said manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles trainers have emphasized the importance of not rushing too fast through the recovery process. The worst thing that could happen, Machado said, is a swollen knee, pulled hamstring or some other minor tweak that forces him to miss a week or two of valuable rehab time. So far, that hasn't been an issue.
Machado could be cleared for game action when he visits Dr. ElAttrache next week, but that doesn't mean he'll jump right into Grapefruit League games. It would make sense to have the All-Star third baseman start off slower, working in simulated games or Minor League contests before joining the Major League club.
Still, Machado seemed confident that he will play in Grapefruit League games before Spring Training is over.
"I hope so. That's my plan. I hope I get a couple games at least with the team," Machado said. "Even if I'm not going to be ready Opening Day, I hope I can play a couple games. I hope I can. I'm pretty sure that I maybe will. We'll see how I keep feeling this week and the next."
Yoon ticketed for Canada to get work visa for O's
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Suk-min Yoon will begin the process of obtaining his work visa in Ottawa, Canada, on Monday, and the Orioles hope to get the South Korean right-hander in a Grapefruit League game shortly after he returns.
Yoon threw a live batting-practice session on Feb. 28, pitched in a simulated game on March 2 and threw a side session in the bullpen Sunday before flying north. Without his work visa, Yoon hasn't been able to pitch in Grapefruit League games, and that process in Canada could take three or four days.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wasn't disappointed -- "not at this point," he said -- that Yoon hasn't been able to face opposing hitters as he gets ready for his first Major League season.
"Knowing where he was when he came in, started late, he's kind of running through the same Spring Training program," Showalter said.
The Orioles signed Yoon to a three-year, $5.75 million contract on Feb. 17.
O's trim roster, send three to Minor League camp
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles reassigned three players to Minor League camp on Sunday, trimming their Spring Training roster to 56 players, including 16 non-roster invitees.
First baseman Chris Marrero and right-handers Fabio Castillo and Mike Wright were all sent to Minor League camp. Marrero has been sidelined and unable to play in Spring Training games due to an oblique injury, but Showalter said he plans to have him start in a Grapefruit League game as soon as he's healthy.
"It's frustrating for us, and I know him, too, because he was a guy we targeted in the offseason. Every day, I can see he's wanting to go out and test it and test it, but that's not what you do with those things," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's a 25-year-old young man, first-round pick. We like him. So I want to give him the same opportunity I would have tried to do before he got hurt.
"I was telling him if he doesn't get it right, it'll linger for a long time, but some of those injuries, you wake up one morning and it's just gone and it doesn't come back. But if you go too fast, I think we're getting into that a little bit, because he's going out and it seems like every time he goes out and tries to test it, he's had a problem. I don't want to re-injure it and make it even more involved."
Wright pitched in two games this spring, giving up one run on three hits and three walks while striking out two over three innings. Castillo pitched once, giving up a hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday.
'Two minutes with ...' O's infielder Weeks
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The "Two Minutes with ..." spring series continues with new infielder Jemile Weeks. The 27-year-old Weeks, who live in Orlando, Fla. was acquired by the Orioles in the Jim Johnson trade from the Oakland Athletics and is competing for the second-base job this spring.
Favorite food: Spaghetti and garlic bread.
Favorite movie: Training Day.
Hidden talent: I can play the drums. I've been doing it since I was little. My mom has a church in Orlando, and I still go and play the drums from time to time.
If I wasn't a baseball player, I'd be … A marketing guy for a company that brings in ideas. My major [at the University of Miami] was business management.
Favorite offseason place: Jamaica. I really enjoy the beaches and the rainforest.
Prized possession: I'm not really a material guy. Besides my family, I don't have anything I can't live without.
• Center fielder Adam Jones will leave the team on Tuesday for the birth of his first child.
• The Orioles put up nine runs against the Pirates in Sunday's win at Ed Smith Stadium, bringing their total to 55 over the last five games, including a combined 20 runs between Saturday's split-squad contests against the Red Sox. Managers and players will often talk about how they don't want to get too hot too early, but Showalter's not getting caught up in the numbers this early in the year.
"I have not read a stat sheet this spring, and I won't," Showalter said. "I trust the people who are responsible for the pitching and the hitting and the defense and I trust my eyes, and not some Spring Training stat. I think there's more in the tank. I'm OK with them playing real well."
• Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was hit in the shin by a comebacker during Friday's game, was sporting a nasty bruise Sunday and said he still felt sore. He planned to throw a light 15-20 pitch bullpen session, then return to game action. He said he might have argued to remain in the game in the regular season, but he didn't want to take any risks at this point in the spring.
Showalter said the Orioles hope to start Gonzalez on Tuesday, "but it's not set in stone."
• Left-hander Brian Matusz and catcher Michael Ohlman are slated to fly out to Philadelphia on Thursday to have warts removed. Matusz has a wart on the side of his left middle finger, and Ohlman has one on his throwing hand.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. 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.