Showalter: O's 'Where we need to be'

Tillman on schedule to pitch first week of the regular season

Showalter: O's 'Where we need to be'

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter has seen his team drill for days, and watched it play two intrasquad games. Now, he's ready for the first game of the Grapefruit League season.

While the Orioles won't send many of their regulars to Lakeland, Fla., on Friday for their game against the Detroit Tigers, Showalter gets to watch his team play an opponent.

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"I don't know about eager. You always think, 'Boy, I wish we had another couple extra days,''' Showalter said. "But the games identify and kind of jolt some things that you want to come back to. But we've got everything covered we wanted to get covered."

"Leaving some room for things that we're going to readdress as spring goes on. It's a long time down here. You don't want to shoot all your bullets. We'll save some things. We're where we need to be. We're ready."

Showalter watched Manny Machado and Welington Castillo hit back-to-back home runs in Wednesday's 4 1/2-inning intrasquad game. Tuesday's initial six-inning intrasquad game ended in a scoreless tie.

Tyler Wilson will pitch against last year's American League Rookie of the Year, Detroit's Michael Fulmer. It's the first of the Orioles' 34 Grapefruit League games.

• Right-hander Chris Tillman, who has started the past three Orioles openers but has been ruled out of this year's regular-season opener because of shoulder soreness, said that he is progressing well.

"As far I know we're still on schedule. I'm feeling good," Tillman said.

Showalter had said that if there were no setbacks, Tillman could pitch in the season's first week.

• Shortstop J.J. Hardy received a cortisone shot in his back. Showalter is happy with Hardy's progress, and if he stays on schedule, Hardy is expected to play on March 10.

Rich Dubroff is a contributor for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.