Pitchers and catchers report date- news & notes
Greetings from Sarasota, where pitchers and catchers officially reported to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla in advance of tomorrow’s first workout, which will start around noon. The players have morning physicals and have to be cleared before starting camp, so the Orioles won’t have any media access until post-workout on Wednesday. Thursday will switch back to the regular schedule, with the players set to take the field at around 9:15 a.m.
The Orioles have 60 players listed on the roster for Major League camp, including outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who was designated for assignment –which puts him on waivers– on Saturday to make room for Todd Redmond. Robinson is still waiting to see if he was claimed by another team, although he did report to Sarasota.
The status of the Orioles’ agreement with pitcher Jair Jurrjens also remains in limbo with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette saying Tuesday that he hoped to have a resolution within the next few days.
“We are still working on that issue, we don’t have that resolved yet“, Duquette said of Jurrjens, who underwent a length physical given his injury history in regards to his right knee. “But hopefully we will have that resolved within the next couple days.”
The Orioles originally agreed to terms with Jurrjens on a one-year, $1.5 million deal — that could escalate to $4 million with incentives — on Jan. 25, but there has been no official announcement and Duquette didn’t elaborate on whether it’s possible those terms could change.
“This is an issue that just takes a little more time in the process,” Duquette said. “But hopefully we will get it resolved.”
An All-Star in 2011, Jurrjens went 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA last year and was non-tendered by the Braves this winter, effectively becoming a free agent. Should he join the Orioles in camp, Jurrjens would compete in an already-crowded rotation picture that includes Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Steve Johnson, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter and Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland. Top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will get a good look, but they aren’t expected to be part of the Opening Day rotation.
Manager Buck Showalter, who held court along with Duquette, said Matusz and Hunter will get spring starts. The pair of pitchers could be bullpen options, but –like Bundy and Gausman– will get a look this spring as starters and there will be plenty of innings to go around early as guys are eased back in.
Bundy and Gausman will have their innings monitored all season and will not be shut down early, with Showalter noting that the pair of top prospects will be available to the organization in September and October.
“That’s how I’ll answer it,” Showalter said of the possibility of having Bundy in Baltimore to start the season. “How we get [to September and October], we’ll see. I know that on the front end of it, we’re going to get ahead of it. Does that mean I’m not pulling for [Bundy] to make the club? I’m not saying it’s a longshot. We’ve got a lot of innings here for pitchers, so everybody is going to get a long look, including him.”
“We’re probably at 9, 10, 11 guys that we’re looking at [in the rotation]. You’ve got to say ‘What if?’ If [Jason Hammel] has a knee issue or Miguel [Gonzalez] has some issue or [Wei-Yin] Chen or something. We’ll be able to move in a lot of different directions. I like our depth. I like that we have people in a good position. Steve Johnson, I don’t want anybody to forget about him. He did some good things for us last year, and I know I’m going to forget some people – [Jake] Arrietta and [Zach] Britton. It’s going to be intriguing to see how it plays out, but we’re also keeping that maneuverability. We’re not going to penalize people. We’re not going to penalize a guy and send him to Triple-A because he’s got an option. If he has that type of year, we’ll figure it out. I think our guys understand that we’re going to take the best 25.”
A few other notes from today…
*Nolan Reimold hit off live pitching for the first time today and he will be a full-go in camp. Showalter noted that Reimold has a good edge this spring and seems eager to prove himself in the organization. Coming off season-ending neck surgery, Reimold will be monitored closely but doesn’t have any restrictions on him.
*Tsuyoshi Wada is on a long-toss program and there’s been all positive reports regarding the lefty’s progress in coming back from May’s Tommy John surgery. He isn’t expected to return to the Orioles until at least May, and the club should have a better idea of his timetable moving forward.
*Brian Roberts has been working out at the complex and is also expected to be a full-go in camp. He’s been able to do more than in winters past in terms of baseball activity and there’s some growing optimism regarding his status.
*The Orioles will have intrasquad games on Feb. 20 and 21 in advance of their first game on the 23rd. The game on Feb. 20 will likely start at 10:30 a.m. and be played on the back fields while the 21st game will be simulate spring game with a 1:05 p.m. start on the main field at Ed Smith Stadium.
*Non-roster invitee catcher Jose Gil is having visa problems and will report late to camp. There’s always one every year.
*Most of the position players are here including Roberts, Reimold, Xavier Avery, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, Alexi Casilla, Russ Canzler, Ryan Flaherty, Jason Pridie, Lew Ford, Steve Pearce and Conor Jackson.