Spring Training Day 2 news & notes
The Orioles pitchers and catchers had their first workout today, taking the field earlier than the anticipated noon start time and basking in the Florida sunshine as another season officially begins. (Click on any image above for some of the daily images).
“My biggest challenge is I’ve got to slow myself down,” manager Buck Showalter said of the first day of workouts. “Keep in mind the tempo and the process of everything. You know where you want to end up, but you got to go through the steps to get there. It’s exciting. I think everybody that’s been in the game for a long time you got that moment…where all of a sudden you get the sense of anticipation that you can’t wait to get out there in that environment. Because it’s something you are comfortable in. I had a little trouble sleeping last night for the right reasons.”
Here’s the daily roundup…
*The no-shows today were all weather-related in pitchers Alfredo Aceves, Tim Alderson and Jonny Monnell. Alderson and Monell are expected to be here for the workout tomorrow, while Aceves’ ETA is Sunday.
*Suk Min-Yoon has a nameplate on one of the lockers here in Sarsota, and Showalter got a chance to meet him as well. Yoon was here for his physical and the plan right now is for him to go back to South Korea to get his visa, although the organization is trying to figure out a more efficient plan. The timetable for Yoon to join Orioles’ camp, assuming he passes the physical, is anywhere from 5-14 days.
As for whether Yoon would be a starter or a reliever, Showalter said it’s not a conversation he’s had with EVP Dan Duquette just yet so he didn’t want to handicap it one way or another.
*Dylan Bundy threw from 120 feet again with trainer Chris Correnti, and he could move back to 180 next week. Bundy could be an option for the Orioles as early as June, a timetable he’s mentioned already but Showalter clarified on Friday.
“In other words, they are saying this is when he’d be an option again for us,” Showalter said of the June deadline. “It’s not when he’s pitching in Frederick on rehab. That’s the way I understand it. I’ve found through the years, it means to me that he’s probably going to be pitching competitively in May. By the time this is over we are going to have to pull the reins back on him.
He’s doing well. My biggest hope, not my biggest but one of them, is not having setbacks with him. I haven’t seen anything to think that would happen. He looks good.”
*The position players continue to trickle in early, with Julio Borbon and Quintin Berry here today.
“It’s kind of fun watching Borbon and Berry show up, they think they are early. Well, five days they are but there’s a lot of guys already here. I think it’s part of getting an idea of the culture these guys have [in Oriole camp],” Showalter said. “It was a beautiful day, I can’t tell you how many times i’d look out there and say, “Gosh we get paid for this?”
*About half of the pitchers threw bullpen sessions today including Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Edgmer Escalona, Steve Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, Liam Hendriks, Mike Belfiore, Josh Stinson, Mike Wright, Kevin Gausman, Chris Jones, Eduardo Rodriguez, Fabio Castillo and Eddie Gamboa.
Gambo, converted to a knuckleballer, was caught by Michael Ohlman and that’s probably not a coincidence. There’s a hierarchy in baseball and Ohlman is one of the youngest catchers in camp.
“I’d have to ask John Russell,” Showalter said of the choice to put the rookie Ohlman with Gamboa. “I know who wasn’t going to be back there the first day.”
“You know it’s a good knuckleball when you are having trouble catching.”
*The Orioles still want to add a veteran starter, Duquette reiterated that yesterday, but Showalter said it’s not something he’s concerning himself with. If he’s asked for his opinion on guys he gives it, but he said he doesn’t get into contract length and money since it’s not in his job description.
“I’ve turned the page on that,” Showalter said of the offseason mindset. “If somebody different [than] is on our roster shows up…just because things are delayed sometimes, they are not denied. I like what we got. Until something changes I’m going to grind that.”
*The news of the passing of longtime player, scout and manager Jim Fergosi was felt at Orioles camp.
“When I was contemplating going upstairs he would have been one of the guys I would have considered [hiring],” Showalter said. “A really good manager. Good baseball man, solid as they come. It’s a loss. Dom [Chiti] is not doing too well with it, he was real close to Dom.”
*Chiti, who is the team’s new bullpen coach, has gotten solid reviews early along with new pitching Dave Wallace. With more than 30 pitchers invited to big league camp the pair have their work cut out for them.
“I don’t want to use the words ‘fresh eyes’ so much but just the wisdom of the process,” Showalter said of what Wallace and Chiti bring. “There’s a process. They are not going to blurt something out after a guy throws a side one day. You can see their experience, they aren’t going to coach every second. they know that sometimes the best coaching you do is the coaching you don’t do sometimes. It’s about the environment. I’ve said many times this has got the chance to be the best coaching staff I’ve ever had.
They are not in a race to show everybody how smart they are. they come in with a lot of cache, but they realize how much weight their words carry and they choose them very carefully.
Pitchers seem to be responding and excited about it. Especially when you’ve had some troubles in certain areas, they come in with a fresh set of eyes to look at it. And they came in with a lot of respect for guys like Chris Tillman and Tommy [Hunter] and Darren [O’Day]. That’s not going to get throw out. They know what people have done. They’ve done their homework.