SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada inched closer to throwing a regular bullpen session on Friday, throwing 15 pitches off the half-mound after long tossing on the back fields at the team's Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Wada, via interpreter/athletic trainer Seob Yoon, said it was the best he's felt so far in rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in May, and the plan is for him to throw off a regular mound Monday.
"I feel that it's gradually getting better and better, day by day," said Wada. "Today was more like getting ready for Monday -- that's the whole purpose of today's half-mound -- and it went well, so I'm happy about that."
Wada's early timetable is a May or June return to Baltimore.
Prospect Gausman impresses Showalter
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Kevin Gausman retired all four batters he faced in an inning of intrasquad action Thursday at Ed Smith Stadium, and he continues to impress in his first Major League Spring Training.
"You can see why everybody thinks so highly of him," manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman, the O's first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
"He's got a great delivery and does a lot of things to make himself successful. The changeup he has should play better at higher levels. He's one of those guys who looks real comfortable on the mound."
Gausman, who is ranked by MLB.com as the O's No. 2 prospect, said he was throwing mostly fastballs. The right-hander struck out Lew Ford and Chris Robinson, and L.J. Hoes -- who praised Gausman's velocity upon returning to the dugout -- grounded out to second base. Gausman stayed out on the mound to collect a fourth out to get his pitch count up to where it needed to be.
"It's definitely good to kind of get that out of the way," Gausman said of his first inning in a game situation this spring. "Now I can focus on not having those jitters. I know I'll have some jitters when there are actual fans out there. That's normal. It was definitely good to get that out of the way and good to have guys behind you and not be throwing so many bullpens."
O's to honor Weaver before spring opener
SARASOTA, Fla.-- The Orioles will hold a moment of silence and air a video tribute for former manager Earl Weaver, who passed away in January, prior to the start of Saturday's Spring Training opener against the Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET. Zach Britton will start for the O's, with Kevin Correia going for Minnesota. Gates open two hours prior to the start.
Britton will be followed by Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Steve Johnson, Dylan Bundy, T.J. McFarland, Todd Redmond, Zach Clark and Adam Russell. Most of the team's regulars are expected to start, with second baseman Brian Roberts getting one or two at-bats and then going to a wedding he's in for his best friend that night.
Asked if the regulars included Nolan Reimold, manager Buck Showalter said he hadn't made a final decision on that.
"I don't see limitations on playing him right now," Showalter said of Reimold, who is a full-go in camp but still regaining strength in his left arm following neck surgery last season.
Adam Jones, who will play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, probably won't bat any higher than he would normally, with Showalter satisfied with the amount of at-bats Jones -- who leaves March 3 -- will be able to get. The Orioles have played intrasquad games the past two days, and Showalter said he will leave the approach of his hitters up to each individual player.
"There's a lot of trust," he said. "They know what they've got to do to get ready, we did a lot of pitch tracking in the cages, we've played some games, everybody's gotten two or three at-bats, so I think it's kind of personal preference. Everybody is a little different. Does that mean nobody is supposed to swing at the first pitch? I'm going to leave it alone. It's also a little bit of an evaluator to see how guys handle themselves and stuff.
"It's a competitive place. Starting [Saturday], people are competing not only for jobs here, but jobs in [Triple-A] Norfolk, because we are a lot deeper in those areas then we were. I was looking over our Major League camp rosters the last couple years. [I'm] very proud of where we've gotten to with the depth."
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.