O's prospect Schoop impressing on World stage
Showalter says Dutch star will stay in big league camp for a while upon return
SARASOTA, Fla. -- While Orioles manager Buck Showalter has made it no secret that he thinks the World Baseball Classic poses a lot of challenges for Major League Spring Training, when it comes to 21-year-old Jonathan Schoop, there's been a lot of upside.
"I think with Jonathan, it's nothing but good," Showalter said of the Orioles' top position player prospect, who has helped put Kingdom of the Netherlands on the brink of a semifinal berth. "And from an organizational standpoint, a lot of people are seeing what a good player and prospect he is."
Schoop had a three-run home run in the sixth inning early Friday morning and finished a triple away from the cycle as the Dutch completed a 6-2 win over Cuba in the first game of the second round at Tokyo Dome.
In his first big league camp for just a few days before leaving for the Classic, Scoop has been the Netherlands' starting second baseman -- although his future position in the big leagues is still up for debate. Showalter reiterated Friday he thinks Schoop can play shortstop or third base, as well.
"He's going to be able to play infield in the big leagues," said Showalter, who dismissed the notion of Schoop projecting as a potential corner outfielder. "He's got plenty of arm strength, he's got good hands, he's got good habits. You put him in a foot race, I can tell you five or six infielders in the big leagues that he's a comparable runner with. But they are not going to hit potentially the home runs he's going to hit."
Showalter has been getting daily updates from Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens, and the O's skipper said when Schoop returns, he will remain in Major League camp for a while.
"He will get some reps here," Showalter said. "I think as much for our sake as his. We miss him here. There's a lot of times I'd love to play him. ... Nothing wrong with him going right from here into the season. Make sure his knees feel good and everything. I don't know what [the organization's] plan is for him, whether they are going to put him in Double-A or Triple-A, they will figure it out."
Chen says he's on schedule after latest start
BRADENTON, Fla.-- Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen struck out four over 2 1/3 innings Friday night against the Pirates and was pleased with how he felt in his second spring start.
"I felt good on my four-seamer and two-seamer today and OK on my changeup," Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin. "I'm still working on my slider because it's not there yet."
Chen issued two walks and said his slider ran high, which caused him to fall behind certain batters, although the defense behind him didn't help much. The Orioles committed two errors in the first two innings -- leading to an unearned run in the first -- and Chen was charged with two runs total in the 54-pitch outing.
"I'm definitely on my schedule right now," said Chen, who went 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA in his rookie season in 2012. "Spring Training is about adjustments, so I'm still working on that. There are a lot of things I need to adjust."
And the 27-year-old should have plenty of time to do it before the Orioles break camp next month.
"Definitely, I feel it's going to be a good year for me," Chen said.
Markakis out through Sunday after neck flares up
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis re-aggravated his neck on Thursday and will not play in any of the team's games through Sunday.
"He was playing with his kids yesterday and had it flare up again," manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis, who came in last Sunday with a neck spasm and hasn't played since. "He was back, by the time I left [the Ed Smith Stadium complex], he was back to where he was before yesterday.
"So, he's still close, but I wouldn't say Sunday. I'll probably wait a little bit on that one just to be sure."
Nolan Reimold, who has been dealing with a sore right shoulder, was throwing at the team's complex on Friday, although there are no immediate plans for him to get back in the field. Reimold exited last Friday's game after two innings, and Showalter said he's available right now as a designated hitter as the team is also erring on the slower side with that injury.
Catcher Taylor Teagarden (lower back) said Friday he is feeling better, and Showalter said he could return to spring games on Monday if all goes well up until then.
"I was pretty much a full participant in yesterday's workout and I'm going to do it again today," Teagarden said. "Make sure that the back feels good. It's responding well and I'm not waking up feeling stiff and achy. I feel all right today. I'm going to go out there and hit BP again and run around and do all my stuff, catch bullpens, and I suspect that I'll feel pretty good tomorrow morning."
• The Orioles announced Friday that they have agreed to terms with 17 players on one-year contracts, completing agreements with all players on the 40-man roster.
• Third baseman Manny Machado got a full workout in at the team's complex after leaving Thursday's game early to get a root canal.
• Some members of the organization were surprised right-handed reliever Pedro Strop was used for multiple innings for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Clasic on Thursday night.
• Manager Buck Showalter got his first glimpse of Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia in the batting cages at the Minor League facility on Friday morning, and he was impressed with his swing, noting his solid wrist action.
• Tsuyoshi Wada (Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen session Friday, and he will go back-to-back for the first time in his rehab on Saturday. Wada isn't throwing full bore, but he is working on getting his mechanics back to where they need to be.
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.