CLEARWATER, Fla. ——Outfielder Jai Miller, who has been shelved for several days because of tendinitis in his right knee, may be able to play in Monday's night game against the Pirates.
Miller, who is out of minor league options and is fighting for a bench spot, hasn't played since March 20.
"It's something I've been dealing with, but it just got to the point where it got pretty bad and I needed some time off to let it heal," Miller said. "I'm pretty close to being in the lineup."
Miller said the tendinitis stems from an old basketball injury and occasionally flares up with continual stress on the leg.
"I know how it goes. It wasn't anything too serious," Miller said. "Just one of those things, spring training early, and your body just going through the growing pains of getting back into things."
Willis ready for next outing
Now that lefty Dontrelle Willis has his first Orioles outing out of the way — a one-inning stint Saturday in which he walked the first three batters he faced, but eventually escaped the inning with only two runs scored (one earned) — he is eager to get on the mound again.
He hadn't pitched in a game in more than a week.
"It's been a while, so early on I was a little shaky, but once I got settled in I felt fine. That's the one thing about baseball — you take a couple days off and it's like a whole different world as far as the speed," said Willis, who signed a minor league deal Tuesday. "But I settled in. I just need more game experience. Hopefully, I can get in a couple of these 'B' games because there's not a lot of innings left. Hopefully I'll continue to get more work in and go from there."
Right now, there is no timetable set for when Willis will pitch again. But since he is learning to pitch out of the bullpen after a career of starting, that's fine with him.
"I kind of like it like that because that's how it's going to be in the big leagues," Willis said. "I don't want to know, because honestly they don't know. When they're ready to get me in a game, I'll be ready."
Chavez also nearing return
Showalter said fourth outfielder Endy Chavez (groin) is close to returning to the field — though he is not currently slated to go on Monday's road trip. Chavez has not played since Wednesday.
"Getting better every day. I don't have him going over to Bradenton right now, but that could change," Showalter said. "I am hoping Tuesday-ish. Hopefully, I'll feel comfortable playing him and I'm going to have to feel 100 percent that he's a no-risk factor to do that."
Tying another one, 3-3
The Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies played to a 10-inning, 3-3 tie Sunday, the Orioles' fifth tie in 23 games this spring. According to Stats LLC, that ties a record for spring ties dating back to 1996. The 2010 Chicago White Sox and the 2006 Los Angeles Dodgers also had five ties.
"We got that going for us, which is nice," joked Showalter, quoting the movie "Caddyshack."
The Orioles were trailing 3-2 in the eighth when minor leaguer Trent Mummey doubled against Jose Contreras. Steve Tolleson, who singled and stole second, scored the tying run.
The Orioles scored their other two runs in the second innings against Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who lasted 6 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out nine batters. Nolan Reimold homered, his second home run in two games, and Ronny Paulino had a RBI single.
Brian Matusz had an uneven performance, allowing eight base runners and three runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The Orioles' record is now 9-9-5.
Around the horn
Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada will make his first big league start of the exhibition season Tuesday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. Limited by elbow discomfort, Wada last pitched in a minor league game Thursday and has faced big leaguers just once, on March 18. Righty Chris Tillman will also pitch in that game. … Wei-Yin Chen, who was scheduled to start the Twins game, will pitch six innings Tuesday against Minnesota minor leaguers at Twin Lakes Park. … Relievers Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg will each throw two innings in a minor league game Monday at Twin Lakes Park as a way to stretch them out. … Lefty Dana Eveland will make a start Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. … Principal owner Peter Angelos attended Sunday's game in Clearwater. Angelos normally only attends home games while visiting in the spring.
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