Spring Training news and notes Day 1
Officially, the Orioles began Spring Training this afternoon, taking the field right around noon with their new Spring Training hats (with the orange on the front) on display.
*Nolan Reimold said all went well with yesterday’s live hitting session, which was his first since undergoing neck surgery, and he was part of two groups that hit on the field again today. Reimold is standing behind the cage in the second photo, watching along with Manny Machado as Ryan Flaherty takes a few swings.
The Orioles had to split up the hitting sessions because they have so many position players who are here early working out. The only player who has yet to report on the entire spring roster is infielder Yamaico Navarro, although manager Buck Showalter said to reporters today he’s pretty sure Navarro is in the city.
*Tsuyoshi Wada is about 3-4 weeks away from throwing bullpen sessions and he said this afternoon that it’s “a possibility” he gets into a Spring Training game before camp ends. Wada took part in drills with the team today, but didn’t do any of the throwing part.
*Pitchers who threw bullpen side sessions today: Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Todd Redmond, Adam Russell, Dylan Bundy, Zach Clark, Steve Johnson, T.J. McFarland and Mike Wright. (Matusz, Arrieta and Hunter are pictured throwing above.)
McFarland, the Orioles’ Rule 5 Draft pick, stood out in particular to manager Buck Showalter and he will get a look as a starter this spring.
“He was impressive,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of nice. You see so much tape of these guys coming in and you read so many reports, and to be able to actually see them live, it’s always a different look. Quickly, you can see why he’s had success, the deception he has in his delivery. Same thing with Clark. You look at the year Clark had last year. It’s very easy to kind of get lost in the shuffle. He had a big year. But McFarland was maybe a guy who caught my eye today.”
With the crowded rotation competition, it’s possible McFarland becomes a bullpen option later in camp.
“That’s why we’ll stretch him out early,” Showalter said. “We can always go either way. It’s a good year [with the WBC making more a longer spring] to have a Rule 5 pitcher that you want to see, because you can get a lot of looks at him.”
*New Oriole Danny Valencia reiterated on Wednesday afternoon that he has never used performance-enhancing drugs in response to a report earlier this month that mentioned Valencia as one of three new names linked to the Biogenesis clinic alleged to have distributed PEDs to Major League players.
“Basically I’ve never had any contact with those people,” Valencia said of the Miami-based clinic, which has been linked publicly to about a dozen players. “I’ve never met [clinic operator] Tony Bosch, never seen him, never been to that clinic, never heard of that clinic until the [Miami] New Times story first broke. That being said, I’ve never ever taken a PED in my life, never failed a drug test in my life and I never will.”
According to the Yahoo Sports report that implicated Valencia, he does not have his name appear next to any specific PEDs on the list, and his name is scratched out on the bottom of the paper. Major League Baseball is currently investigating the clinic.
“When I first got the phone call, I knew I was going to be in the clear, I knew I’m not going to get in trouble because there’s nothing they are going to find on me,” said Valencia, who said he was shocked when he was told he was listed in connection with the clinic. “I’ve never done anything. But the only thing that bothered me at the time was how the Orioles organization is going to perceive [it]. I thought about what [executive vice president of baseball operations] Dan Duquette is going to think, obviously what [manager] Buck [Showalter] is going to think, my teammates. That’s what matters. That was my first feeling, I felt upset about that.”
*Non-roster catcher Jose Gil, who was having visa problems, got his clearance and is expected to arrive in camp in the next two to three days.
*The Orioles will host five Division I college baseball teams for the Snowbird Classic at Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex this weekend, Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17. Five college teams – Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Notre Dame, Ohio State University, St. Johns University and Mercer University – will play games at Ed Smith Stadium from Friday through Sunday. One game, on Sunday, February 17, will be played at the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park. Over 6,000 fans are expected to attend the three-day event.
Day passes for the games can be purchased for $10 by calling 941-893-6300. Tickets may also be purchased at the Ed Smith Stadium Box Office, which is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Parking is available for $5 per vehicle in the East lot at Ed Smith Stadium.
*A reminder that you can find more photos by following me on Instagram (brittghiroli), as well as continuous updates on Twitter (@Britt_ghiroli) and Orioles.com.
*Orioles closer Jim Johnson talks about raising the bar for 2013 in a video interview here.