Notes & images from camp Day 8 (w. injury updates)

*Pedro Strop is one of the Orioles’ 10 players out of options and he’s competing for a spot in the bullpen this spring. Acquired from Texas late last year –after the Os’ sent Michael Gonzalez to the Rangers, Strop was the player to be named later– Strop said his focus is making the Opening Day roster.

“I’m aware of it but I don’t want to go anywhere, I want to stay here,” Strop said of the possibility of not making the team and ending up elsewhere in a trade or waiver claim.  “I know this team is going to be good. I don’t want to miss that party.”

Strop estimated he threw about three bullpen sessions before arriving at camp, where he’s thrown another pair. So far, he’s feeling good and ideally would like to take over a spot in the later innings, given that he’s thought of as more of a power arm that works primarily off his fastball.

Asked why he has such faith that the Orioles can turn things around, Strop said: “Because the way we played the last month of the season, I’m sure we can just start doing the same thing. [This year] we don’t have to wait until the last month.”

You can read more on Strop here.

*Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada did not practice Sunday and is dealing with left elbow inflammation, although an X-ray on the area showed no new structural damage.

Wada –who first started feeling discomfort after some fielding drills on Saturday —  received a cortisone injection and will have the fluid removed from his elbow to get rid of the swelling. The 31-year-old has had this procedure done before and manager Buck Showalter said the team will likely wait a day or two and then re-evaluate the injury.

Wada was signed this winter to a two-year, $8.15 million deal with an option for 2014 and is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation. If he doesn’t make the starting five there’s also a strong possibility the Orioles will use Wada, a veteran Japanese pitcher, in the bullpen. Wada posted a 16-5 record with a 1.53 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 184 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in 2011 and is the second Japanese-born player in Oriole history.

You can read more on Wada here.

*Reliever Jim Johnson (lower back) threw 20 fastballs off a regular mound today with no problem and the plan is for him to throw again Tuesday or Wednesday. Johnson said he’s in no pain or discomfort, even when he wakes up in the morning, and right now he’s encouraged with how things are going. Johnson estimated he’s about a week away from trying to throw any offspeed, and Showalter said he will throw two more bullpens before facing live hitters.

*Zach Britton (left shoulder inflammation) threw off flat ground today, getting up to 120 feet, and remains right on his progressed schedule as well.

*Willie Eyre (groin) will take a few days off still. Eyre, who is in Group 2 slated to throw tomorrow, said he won’t go as scheduled. He’s been dealing with a sore groin since Friday, when he came off the mound after warming up prior to his bullpen session.

*The last major addition in the Orioles’ renovations at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex was officially unveiled Sunday morning, as the team’s artificial turf field –which last year ran into serious drainage problems – was completed and given the green-light for the club’s use this spring.

The field’s completion gives the Orioles’ state-of-the-art spring complex–which got a final boost with a redone clubhouse, training and baseball operations area – another option for inclement weather and also prepares the Major League club for playing in Toronto and Tampa Bay, two divisional foes which use the exact same turf.

“I think it helps too with our rehabs down here, being able to put them on that surface as they start out with leg injuries,” manager Buck Showalter said of the field’s benefits.”I can name a hundred different reasons…It’s no doubt it’s going to be very much an upgrade from where it was last year.”

The Orioles, who had the pitcher’s throw with hitters in the box for the first time Sunday morning, supplied the additional funds necessary to redo the field although there was some initial arguing as to who was responsible for the initial mishap. Showalter, who has said before that the new complex “eliminates excuses” and helps foster a winning culture, singled out Orioles’ managing partner Peter Angelos for agreeing to foot the bill.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody in Spring Training that has three fields they can get on 15 minutes after it rains,” Showalter said.  “Because we have a tarp now for the Camden Yards [replica] field and we have a tarp for the stadium field and an astroturf field. There should never be a reason why the Gulf Coast League, or us in Spring Training, at some point during the day can’t have three fields, and you can [also] include the cages.”

“It’s like if you’re comparing colleges,” director of pitching development Rick Peterson said of the facility. “This is Ivy League. And who doesn’t want to go to Yale or Harvard?”

*Brian Roberts was out on the artificial turf field doing some running drills with special assistant Brady Anderson. Roberts reportedly had a good day on Saturday and seems to be in pretty good spirits being around the team the last few days.

Special assistant Brady Anderson working with second baseman Brian Roberts.

Matt Lindstrom throwing on the mound with a rotation of hitters stepping into the batter’s box.

Mark Reynolds was one of the hitters who tracked Lindstrom’s pitches.

Chris Davis, upon noticing several cameras pointed at him, smiled and yelled “Facebook me.”

9 Comments

Pedro is one of the few I have already penciled in. He did more than enough last year to earn his way. Same with Phillips.

I can’t imagine the O’s letting a young power arm like this escape. He has future closer potential.

“there was some initial arguing as to who was responsible for the initial mishap”

What was the mishap on the new field? Is it that it didn’t get completed until this weekend or the drainage problems? Thanks for all the updates.

That it was done incorrectly the first time. The arguing was over who was at fault and who should pay, but then the Orioles got the OK from Angelos to just pay for it and have it done correctly.

Does Brian Roberts have any chance of actually playing this season. Any timetable?

I wrote a huge story on Roberts on Orioles.com on Friday. Also, you can look through this blog to find the entire interview transcript.

Can we get some photos of Brian Ward?

I’ll try my best.

Thanks for the updates Britt really feel like were there at spring training!

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