Spring Training news & notes Day 5 (updated)
It was an early day in Sarasota with the team taking the field early to attend the charity golf tournament (formerly organized by Jim Johnson) later this afternoon.
*Position players report date is tomorrow, but they continue to come in early with Ivan De Jesus, Jr. arriving today along with Delmon Young. The only player on the 40-man roster not here yet is Rule 5 draft pick Michael Almanzar.
Asked if he had any new wrinkles for the first full-squad workout on Tuesday, Showalter said yes. Not surprisingly, he wouldn’t elaborate.
“I don’t want to get too predictable,” he said. “I got a few things, may not be noticeable. I’ve already had a couple.”
*One of the Orioles’ holes this season is the designated hitter position and –while there’s no frontrunner– Showalter isn’t necessarily pencilling that spot in to be a platoon.
“I’m not going to start telling somebody they can’t do something,” he said. “You always try to create a role where everybody knows, ‘Ok in this situation, this is where I’m going to be asked to contribute.’ That’s one reason why it kind of works out that way with a lot of places.
For instance, Delmon Young. This guy has hit left and right-handed pitchers. You go right down the board, if you look at Henry Urrutia’s numbers in the Minor Leagues. Steve Pearce. We got seven or eight of them we are considering…I wouldn’t say going into it we’ve already made that decision. We’ll see. We got some guys with a track record of hitting both of them.”
There’s also the possibility the Orioles add a DH, either with free agent Kendrys Morales, or a late-spring trade.
“It’s one thing to have the ability to acquire players during the offseason, monetarily or whatever, but it’s also a big feather in your hat to have the ability to do it later in the spring,” Showalter said. “Because what happens when you get down in this area here [late March], lot of people are seeing what their club looks like and they realize they have some excess.[I] can’t tell you how many times over the years, not just here, there’s been somebody like that available, but it didn’t fit into your payroll. So there’s always an advantage to having some flexibility with that.”
The Orioles payroll could be around $100 million, meaning there’s money there for them to add another player or two before Opening Day.
*The Orioles will announce officially the three-year deal with Suk-Min Yoon this afternoon, with a press conference slated for Tuesday.
*Miguel Gonzalez will not participate in the golf tournament, but he did play catch today. Gonzalez has been dealing with back spasms that started during Saturday’s workout and the hope is he’ll be able to get back up on the mound in the next two days. Showalter was still waiting to get the report on Gonzalez’s stuff on Monday.
*Players who threw bullpens today: Tommy Hunter, Bud Norris, Darren O’Day, Evan Meek, Troy Patton, Ryan Webb, Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Wei-Yin Chen, Tim Alderson, Brock Huntzinger, T.J. McFarland, Nick Additon and Tim Berry.
*Kelvin De La Cruz, who has been dealing with a sore hamstring, threw off a half mound today and assuming he feels OK, will go back to a regular ‘pen the next time out.
*Alfredo Aceves and Johnny Monell were late arrivals, due to weather issues, but both guys played winter ball and manager Buck Showalter said he wouldn’t count the tardiness against them.
Aceves is an interesting character, given his well-documented on-field blow ups with teammates and managers in Boston, he doesn’t seem like a “Buck” guy at first blush.
“I’ve learned through the years I make up my own mind about people,” Showalter said yesterday when asked about Aceves. “Some people are a product of their environment. I’m pretty confident about our environment.
“It’s very obvious – Dave [Wallace] and I were talking [Sunday] – whether it be PFPs and drills and this and that – when he gets on the mound and puts a baseball in his hand and he’s pitching, you see why he has been in demand. He had a number of offers and he came here.”
There are a lot of guys in camp who have played with Aceves, who is vying for a bullpen spot and has a pretty good chance to make the club as a non-roster invitee. Showalter said he made a favorable impression in an early meeting and that it’s a tough balancing act to trust the clubhouse environment created as well as protect it.
“That’s the weighing,” he said. “Protective of it, but you’re confident of it. Peer pressure is pretty good. My barometer of players is, if they don’t care what their teammates think, you’ve got a problem. That’s usually the indicator. But until you’ve walked a mile in a man’s shoes and been in some of his recent environments…
“There have been some good baseball people who have had this guy who have had some bumps in the road. I’m not blind to that. I’m not any smarter than they are, but I’m real confident that, if it’s there, we can find it.”
*In honor of Presidents Day, MLB.com spoke to each club’s president (or high-ranking official) for a Q&A. You can read mine with EVP Dan Duquette here.