Day 7 news and notes (updated)
*Michael Gonzalez threw 25 pitches today and said his back felt pretty good, with the plan for him to throw a bullpen at 100 percent on Friday. He was followed by Kelvin De la Cruz, who has been slowed with a hamstring injury. Both guys pitched on the mound off to the side, with the strings at home plate with bullpen catcher Jett Ruiz (who is auditioning for the job) behind the plate.
*Henry Urrutia had a stomach issue that prevented him from joining the team on the field early on, but he was able to come out later and track pitches in the cage. Urrutia was a no-show during the team’s stretch, and came back out briefly to talk with outfield coach Wayne Kirby and the athletic trainers before going inside.
“Henry’s got to make sure he knows that if he’s not going to be on the field he needs to let somebody know, because he got the wrath of Kirb today,” Showalter said. “But you know what hit me about that, instead of flying off the handle, is this is his first camp. We forget, last year at this time [he wasn’t even in the country.] So, give him a mulligan.”
Urrutia is competing for a roster spot at designated hitter and he had a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League. Showalter said you can just see on his face how much more comfortable Urrutia is than a year ago.
“You can see it,” he said. “Henry likes baseball. He likes being out here and engaged. He likes being a part of the whole picture. He’d stay here all day if you let him. But I think that car gets him out of the parking lot, his Camaro. Black and orange…He’s real proud of that car.”
*Ubaldo Jimenez is here and finishing up his physical, with news on that coming shortly. He passed his physical with no issues, and the Orioles were just waiting to get approval on the corresponding 40-man roster move.
*Suk-min Yoon did not throw his first bullpen today, as scheduled, with pitching coach Dave Wallace opting to push it until Thursday to give Yoon a day to adjust. The new Oriole did take part in the team’s fielding practice and other drills (see below him covering home plate) and was joined by his agent, Tad Hun Yo, to serve as interpreter. Yoon’s interpreter for the season flies in tonight.
Yoon said he wasn’t nervous taking the field and that he has been used to longer workouts so he really liked Wednesday’s practice.
“This guy has been throwing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Yoon. “He thinks he’s ready to go nine innings right now.”
Baseball is baseball. locker rooms for the most part are locker rooms. I was talking to him yesterday about the food. When i met with him i didn’t talk much baseball…fortunately his favorite place is In-N-Out Burger…he said he was hungry and went back in there [in the team cafeteria] and ate like a guy going to the electric chair.”
*The team will start biomechanical testing shortly, which they’ve done the past few years. Guys who have already done it will still go through the process as the team has compiled some impressive logs on their pitchers since bringing it on board. The project is run by direct of pitching development Rick Peterson.
*Nick Markakis is significantly bigger this spring, having added muscle in a pivotal year for the right fielder. Markakis is motivated, coming off the worst year of his career, and for the first time in a while, he was able to have a normal winter.
“I think he’s in a pretty good place in his life in a lot of ways,” Showalter said. “Health, you can see the way he’s moving around compared to the last couple springs when he was trying to not go too fast to make sure he’s ready for Opening Day.
“I think Nick is going to have a really good year. I do. I know you can tell he feels good about where he is physically. He’s going to have a good year.”
Will he stick with that hair, which has grown into some pretty substantial bushy locks?
“Nick shaved this morning and he’s got a three-day beard right now,” Showalter joked.
*Pitchers who threw with hitters tracking today were: Alfredo Aceves, Chris Tillman, Steve Johnson, Kevin Gausman, Chris Jones, Eduardo Rodriguez, Eddie Gamboa, Brian Matusz, Edgmer Escalona, Liam Hendriks, Josh Stinson, Mike Wright, Fabio Castillo.