Fan fest notes on Machado, Chen, Wieters, etc
Here are some notes from Fan fest…
*As expected, Manny Machado was cleared for baseball activities after being checked out in Los Angeles on Friday. Machado would need to play in spring games by mid-March to be ready to start Opening Day for the Orioles.
*Troy Patton, suspended 25 games to start the season for taking Adderal without a prescription, said he feels like he let the team down. Patton will be allowed to go on rehab assignment before his suspension is up and manager Buck Showalter said that he would “slow play” Patton all spring. Patton’s absence could change the chances of Brian Matusz making the starting rotation this spring, although Showalter said it wouldn’t necessarily mean Matusz is ticketed for the ‘pen. The Orioles could have a very right-handed heavy relief corps to start the season.
*Wei-Yin Chen, who had bone spurs removed from his knee this winter, said he will try to make all of his bullpens on time this spring and didn’t think it would be an issue that would jeopardize Opening Day.
*Henry Urrutia has added about 20 lbs of muscle and he is expected to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster at designated hitter. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette mentioned Urrutia specifically as a player he thinks can help the Major League club this year.
*J.J. Hardy and the Orioles have not had any extension talks, although it’s something Hardy said he’d definitely be “open to”. Duquette first mentioned wanting to lock up Hardy at the Winter Meetings, although there’s nothing new on that front or potential extensions for Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. Wieters, the only arbitration-eligible player who has yet to sign for 2014, is a case that the club is focused on one-year only right now.
*Nolan Reimold took batting practice for this first time at the club’s recent mini-camp and said he won’t have any restrictions coming into camp. Reimold, who is coming off his second consecutive season-ending neck surgery, was also appreciative of the opportunity the front office gave him in resigning him this winter.
“There’s probably not too many teams, too many owners or front offices that after a guy has two neck surgeries, somebody who is not a super established player to bring me back,” said Reimold, who was a non-tender candidate. “I’m definitely very appreciative to the organization it’s one of many things I’ve used for motivation because I want to prove that the organization was right in giving me another shot.”
As for the notion that this is his last chance, Reimold —who has a pretty dry sense of humor— cracked, “I will be living and every pitch, every at bat, it’s do-or-die.” After some laughs with the media, he did admit it’s something that he has given thought to.
“It’s in the back of your head but if you’re really thinking about that a lot nothing good can come from that,” Reimold said. “So, it’s more just relax, have fun, play, blah blah blah..”
*Dylan Bundy was supposed to throw from 90 feet for the first time on Friday in Florida but it got rained out. Bundy will do that on Monday and said he hopes to start flat ground sessions (with a mound) in March. Bundy is targeting a June return and could be a second-half factor for the Orioles.