3/19/2014 7:15 P.M. ET
O's cut down roster; Clevenger likely the backup
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles made a trio of cuts on Wednesday, optioning pitcher Suk-min Yoon and catcher Johnny Monell to Minor League camp and reassigning outfielder Xavier Paul to trim the spring roster to 43.
The Monell moves leaves Steve Clevenger as the leading in-house candidate to back up Matt Wieters, although manager Buck Showalter certainly left open the possibility that the club make a move externally. Showalter said there have been some things that have presented themselves over the past 10 days on that front.
"Stevie's done a nice job down here," Showalter said. "So has John. I thought he really came on as a catcher the past seven or eight days. Hopefully he can carry that on. He's got a chance to hit. I thought his catching skills have really improved since he got here."
Monell played in 11 games, batting .278 (5-for-18) with a homer and six RBIs, while Clevenger has gone 12-for-22, also with a homer and six RBIs, in eight spring games.
"I feel very comfortable with what I've done," Clevenger said. "... The main thing is catching. They made it a starting point from the beginning, it was going to be the catching that determined the job, and I feel like my catching has been up to par so far in Spring Training."
Clevenger's locker is right next to the already-cleaned-out previous home of Monell's, but he won't take it easy the rest of camp.
"I'm going to go out there and show [Showalter], basically until my name is announced on Opening Day, that's when I'll be on the team," Clevenger said.
The Yoon move is to allow the right-hander to be stretched out more, and there won't be that many innings left in camp, given that the starters need to keep working deeper. Yoon went two innings in Wednesday's loss -- surrendering a solo homer -- and said he got the sense he will be a starter for Triple-A Norfolk.
"I've thought about it, but I really wasn't expecting it," Yoon said, through interpreter Justin Yoo, about being optioned. "I actually feel good right now. I want to maintain where I'm at."
Yoon was limited by visa issues that delayed his first outing and forced him to leave camp for a couple days to go to Canada.
"He's not going to start with us, but we think he has a chance to be with us at some point," Showalter said. "I think he said it the other day and in talking to him, he needs to go down there and pitch innings. They are starting to go away."
Paul played in 15 games, going 6-for-28 with a double and five RBIs in a crowded outfield camp.
Lough set to return after dealing with neck stiffness
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles outfielder David Lough, sidelined since he was a late scratch in Friday's game, is expected to be back playing on Thursday if he clears his final impact test.
"They cleared me to go for activity and stuff, so I feel pretty good about it, getting back on the right track here with baseball before the break [of camp]," said Lough, who took pregame batting practice and would play late in the game vs. the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
Lough has been dealing with some neck stiffness that he said he had going into a March 8 split-squad game against the Red Sox, but he felt like the inside-the-park homer attempt -- Lough was called out sliding into the plate -- could have triggered some of the concussion-like symptoms that followed.
"I had some dizziness going on. I had a lot of floaters going on in my eyes," said Lough, who was shut down while he had some tests run, the last of which was slated for Wednesday afternoon. "I just wanted to be safe than sorry and get everything checked out and make everything good to go before the season, and get back on the right track."
Acquired in an offseason trade from the Kansas City Royals, Lough is projected to at least platoon in left field for the Orioles this season.
Machado to visit doctor who performed surgery
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will leave camp on Thursday morning and fly to Los Angeles for a quick day trip to be re-examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed his October knee surgery.
"If you're expecting a 'yea' or 'nay' from this doctor tomorrow on Manny [playing in games], it's probably not going to happen as far a decision, because that decision has already been given to us," manager Buck Showalter said after Wednesday's game. "It's pretty much in our hands."
Machado has been doing some pool running the past few days, but he has not resumed on-field running just yet. Obviously, he would have to run before being cleared to play. Machado was shut down from running last week due to scar tissue in his left knee causing some discomfort, which is a natural part of the rehab process.
"This isn't some check, now you can start doing everything [evaluation]," Showalter said. "That's been the potential anyway. [Head trainer] Richie [Bancells] reminded me of that today.
"[Machado] hasn't had a setback, knee-wise. We know that. He's had that scar tissue below, so Manny's leaving tomorrow morning, and he'll be back late, late with the red-eye. It's not like he's magically going to start playing in games the day he gets back. When Richie and our people feel he's ready, he'll play, so this isn't some get-out-of-jail card he's going to get."
Peguero likely to be placed on disabled list
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles outfielder Francisco Peguero is expected to open the season on the disabled list. Peguero has been dealing with a right wrist injury that hasn't gotten better, and he will be fitted for a brace for the next two weeks.
"Just want to let it completely heal," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's got acute tendinitis; [that's] how they put it. I think we're going to try to get that managed. I think that kind of takes him out of the picture for Opening Day."
The 25-year-old hit .267 (4-for-15) with a triple and three RBIs in six spring games.
Peguero will likely join pitcher Edgmer Escalona, who was shut down earlier this month with right shoulder inflammation.
'Two minutes with ...' O's pitcher Ryan Webb
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The "Two Minutes with ..." spring series continues with pitcher Ryan Webb. Signed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal, Webb has pitched six innings this spring and has allowed three runs on 11 hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Favorite food: I'm a big pasta guy, I love a good pasta bolognese. There's a place in Cincinnati called Via Vites that has the best I've ever had.
Favorite movie: I like the Iron Man movies. I like action movies. I also like funny movies [like] Super Troopers.
Special talent: I self-taught myself how to play a few instruments. No musical background. Picked up a guitar during the Minor Leagues and then self-taught myself piano, base and drums. I have a couple songs that are on my Twitter. They are on sound cloud. It's the first time I did anything all myself. I recorded all the music.
If I wasn't a baseball player I'd be ...: I always wanted to be an astronaut. If I couldn't be an astronaut, I would have done something in science and physics. I love that kind of stuff. I know it's kind of nerdy.
Favorite offseason place: Cincinnati -- that's where the majority of my friends and my fiancée are. My fiancée [Lauren Stafford] works at Procter & Gamble.
Prized possession: Probably my memorabilia collection. It's kind of cool making the transition from a kid who was a big fan ... to kind of still being a big kid in the game. I have a lot of old stuff, my dad [Hank Webb]'s stuff, old baseball cards of his, jerseys, hats. Really my overall collection. I have an old Chipper Jones ball and bat from when I was a kid, and a picture of the first time I faced him and struck him out. Stuff like that. It's little things like that that eventually I'll be able to put up somewhere that's really special.
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.