February 2014

News & notes Day 12 (updated)

*The Orioles are expected to Nelson Cruz’s one-year contract later today with a press conference expected on Tuesday morning. Cruz was here yesterday getting his physical and was listed on the original sheet for today’s practice, but he didn’t work out with the team.

The hope is Cruz will be at tomorrow’s practice and manager Buck Showalter said he talked to the outfielder last night and he was “excited” about joining the O’s.

*Quintin Berry exited Monday’s workout with a back spasm and the outfielder will get an MRI to make sure its nothing more serious.

Berry, who said he hadn’t dealt with the issue before, didn’t seem overly worried about it being an issue. The non-roster invitee was in the clubhouse walking around and was optimistic he would be at practice on Tuesday.

“I hope, we’ll see,” manager Buck Showalter said of Berry’s back being a minor issue. “He went down pretty good there.”

*Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz will leave the team a few days after pitching in Wednesday’s intrasquad game to get a wart removed from his left index finger in Philadelphia. Matusz had the same issue in the spring of 2011 and also went to Philly. He is expected to be back that night, but will likely be sidelined for at least a couple days after.

*Hitting coach Jim Presley was gone today, as he got an epidural for a pair of building disks in his neck. He’s expected back tomorrow.

*Suk-min Yoon will throw his final bullpen on Tuesday and then progress to throwing to hitters with the target date for his first spring game March 6 or 7. Yoon hopes to secure a work visa in the next week, since he will need one to pitch in a Grapefruit League game.

*The “Two Minutes with…” series continued with Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez yesterday and you can catch up with him here. Gonzalez threw live batting practice today with a couple of the guys coming over from Minor League camp.

*Hall of Famer Frank Robinson is here and addressed the team this morning before they went out for stretch. Robinson also held court with the media and you can read that interview here.

Showalter asked one of the Orioles’ young players, last year’s sandwich pick Josh Hart when he was walking with Robinson if he knew who he was. When Hart said no, Showalter assigned him a one-page paper on Robinson to be put on his desk by Tuesday.

*Ubaldo Jimenez also hopes to get into a spring game the first week. Jimenez, like Yoon, will throw another bullpen before facing hitters. While the right-hander didn’t throw any bullpens before camp, he said his arm feels good and he’s not worried about being behind at all.

Jimenez, who signed last week, has really enjoyed just being out on the field with new teammates after a winter of waiting around.

“I was kind of desperate to be out there, be with a team, doing my stuff,” he said this morning. “I’m used to every year in February be doing something. And this year everything was different, so it was hard. It was hard to be waiting so long. It feels like I’m able to breathe again. I’m able to be happy.”

Jimenez played a Double-A All-Star game with Miguel Gonzalez and was Little League teammates with Alexi Casilla. They go way back, playing together when he was 12 or 13.

“He was an unbelievable hitter,” Jimenez said of Casilla.

*The Orioles have said all along that they want to extend J.J. Hardy and the shortstop and his camp have made it clear that they want it done before Opening Day. Hardy said today that there a meeting between the two sides. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s obviously encouraging that they’re going to start getting things going.

*I keep getting asked about the Orioles interest in Ervin Santana, which is a rumor that won’t go away. Again, I’m told there’s no substantial interest by the O’s and Santana would have to fall in their lap price-wise for anything to get going. It seems Santana’s camp is OK with waiting instead of dropping their asking price, which makes him even less likely to be an Oriole. Baltimore is OK with its pitching depth as it stands now, and payroll-wise they don’t have a whole lot of room to work with.

News and notes Day 11

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*The Orioles have their annual MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) annual meeting this morning with former O’s in the clubhouse in attendance in Jeffrey Hammonds, Phil Bradley and Bobby Bonilla. Tony Clark and Dave Winfield, who spent a sizable chunk of the morning sitting down and talking with top infield prospect Jonathan Schoop, are also here. Schoop was in awe after his chat with Winfield, asking for a picture after. It was a pretty cool little scene.

*Dylan Bundy will work up to throw at 150 feet again today, with the only difference being that he will move back to 90 feet after that and throw a bit more. Bundy said it’s been hard to hold himself back, he’s throwing at around 75 percent right now, and everything is going according to schedule right now.

*Pitchers who will throw live batting practice today: Tommy Hunter, Bud Norris, Darren O’Day, Troy Patton, Ryan Webb, Evan Meek, Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Wei-Yin Chen, Brock Huntzinger, Tim Alderson, T.J. McFarland, Nick Additon and Tim Berry.

*There was lots of news yesterday, including the Orioles agreeing to terms on a one-year, $8 millions deal with Nelson Cruz. No sign of him just yet at the complex. You can read more on that here along with yesterday’s notebook from camp here.

Markakis on Cruz: “He’s going to be welcome here and we are going to play as one”

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who has been a vocal advocate for stricter penalties for performance-enhancing drug users, said Saturday the organization’s addition of Nelson Cruz –who was suspended last season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal — doesn’t change his opinion any.

But Markakis, the team’s longest-tenured player and a quiet leader in the clubhouse, will put aside his personal feelings on the matter and plans on welcoming Cruz to the Orioles.

“He’s my teammate now and I got to be a teammate, and no matter if you disagree or agree with your teammates they are still your teammates,” said Markakis, who has called PED users out for ‘stealing’ money. “He’s going to be welcome here and we are going to play as one. That’s for sure.”

Markakis didn’t think there would be any ill-will among the other players when Cruz –slated to arrive Saturday night– joins the clubhouse. Chris Davis, who has also been vocal about PED users and maintains that the home run record being 61, has played with Cruz in Texas.

“We know how things go on in this clubhouse, we know how we do things, and we do things certain ways,” Markakis said. “Guys coming in here are going to have to adjust to that. It’s not just about making adjustments in the batters box and on the pitchers mound, it’s making adjustments to a new clubhouse, a new team, and so forth. There’s adjustmentes, not just on the field but off the field, too.”

“I’m aware of what’s going on and what’s been going on in baseball. But my opinion doesn’t change toward anything. He’s part of this team now and he’s going to be in this clubhouse and we’re going to welcome him just like anybody else. He’s going to be part of this team.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has had Cruz and –speaking hypothetically until the organization officially announces the deal– said the front office and coaching staff has done their homework on researching guys before they bring them in.

Os add Cruz on one-year deal

SARASOTA, Fla.— The Orioles have agreed to terms on a one-year, $8 million contract with free agent Nelson Cruz, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Saturday.

The deal, pending a physical, was first reported by ESPNDeportes and comes just days after the team made their first major move in signing right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50-million deal. Cruz, 33, adds another power bat to Baltimore’s lineup, giving the O’s a much-needed threat out of the designated hitter spot. A right-handed hitter, Cruz has at least 22 homers each of the last five seasons and his arrival in Camden Yards, is seen mainly as a platoon DH and occasional left field. Cruz’s contract, like Jimenez, also contains performance incentives.

Because Cruz rejected a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Rangers, the Orioles will lose a draft pick, their 55th overall, in signing him. But that wasn’t seen as a huge obstacle given that Jimenez also had a qualifying offer from the Indians, and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said recently the club would evaluate losing picks on a “case-by-case” basis.

And the case for the Orioles in 2014 is simple, with Duquette acknowledging that the team has a window of success with its current core in place. While the Orioles also had interest in switch-hitter Kendrys Morales, they weren’t keen on his asking price and it’s believed Cruz’s camp came down recently. Whether it was the rumors of the Orioles after more pitching to trade for a bat, or the nature of how late it is in the offseason, Baltimore picked up steam on Cruz in the past 24 hours and was able to swing a deal that fits within their payroll.

Over an 109-game season last year — he missed 50 games because of a suspension due to the Biogenesis scandal — Cruz hit .266 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs. His arrival, which would require a corresponding 40-man roster move- could make it tough for Orioles’ DH hopeful Nolan Reimold to get consistent at-bats, and Cruz could also spell left fielder David Lough once in a while. Left-handed hitter Henry Urrutia is considered the top internal candidate for the other half of DH.

News & notes Day 10, Cruz mania (updated)

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(Pictured above: Buck Showalter, Jim Presley and Brady Anderson convene on the field. Chris Davis gets a drink during stations. Davis and J.J. Hardy during the sliding station.)

*Nelson Cruz is flying in from the Dominican Republic today and is expected to drive over from Miami tonight to the Orioles’ spring home in Sarasota, Fla. You can read more about the Orioles’ one-year agreement with Cruz here, but the physical is scheduled for either Sunday or early Monday morning, and the official word would be at least a day after he gets checked.

“They’re getting a power bat and a guy who drives in big runs,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the Orioles deal with Cruz. “They’re getting a guy who loves to play baseball they’re getting his power in that small ballpark. He’s a tremendous teammate. All the qualities you want in a winner, that’s Nelson.”

*Cruz, of course, comes with some baggage. Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who has been a vocal advocate for stricter penalties for performance-enhancing drug users, said Saturday the organization’s addition of Cruz –who was suspended last season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal — doesn’t change his opinion any. You can read more from Markakis here.

*The club will have a pair of intrasquad games on Wednesday and Thursday, and they’ll play four and eight innings respectively. I do not know yet if they will be open to the public. Will keep you posted.

*In case you missed it, I wrote about Henry Urrutia in his first Spring Training and how far he’s come in the past year here.

*Random fact of the day: Alexi Casilla and Ubaldo Jimenez were Little League teammates.

*I’ve said it repeatedly, including in my blog entry yesterday, but it’s pretty doubtful the Orioles sign Ervin Santana. You can never say never on anything, but he’d basically have to fall in their lap for that to occur.

*A reminder that the “Two Minutes with…” feature has moves to Orioles.com, and yesterday’s featured pitcher Wei-Yin Chen.

Update on Santana

The Orioles focus remains on adding a bat — not another starting pitcher– before Opening Day, multiple sources told MLB.com on Friday as rumors swirled that Baltimore was still in on right-hander Ervin Santana.

CBSports.com and FOXSports.com both reported that the Orioles have had active dialogue recently with Santana, who is the best –and one of the only– remaining free agent starters on the market this late. And that could certainly be true, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette liking to accumulate pitching depth and perhaps hoping to get a deal on Santana that would make it easier to trade for a designated hitter. But there’s nothing as of Friday afternoon to suggest there’s anything imminent with the Orioles and Santana or even if the talks are serious.

The Santana situation is interesting and certainly something to monitor, but two organizational sources downplayed any serious negotiations between the two parties.

The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million contract and officially unveiled him in a press conference on Thursday in which Duquette later said that the club was still exploring some external DH options. Jimenez gives the O’s some pitching depth and –assuming everyone stays healthy– there could be enough of a pool to draw from to trade for a bat. Free agents Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz are also still in play.

Day 9 news and notes (updated)

It was an off day for the pitchers today as scheduled, and Monday will start the team’s voluntary biomechanical testing. Saturday is team picture day, so there won’t be any media access until after practice. Here are the rest of the notes from Ed Smith Stadium complex today…

*Dylan Bundy threw today and got up to 150 feet of long toss, which was encouraging. Things with Bundy are going “as well as you could hope for” manager Buck Showalter said today.

*Miguel Gonzalez (back spasms) threw a bullpen today with no issues. He will throw next, probably on Monday, with hitters tracking.

*Alfredo Aceves will not be with the team for at least 4-5 days, tending to a visa issue in Mexico. The O’s aren’t concerned about him missing time, however, given that he played in Winter League.

*Liam Hendriks, who was put on waivers on Wednesday for Ubaldo Jimenez, was claimed off of waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the third time he’s been on waivers and claimed since the season ended.

*I discussed the Ervin Santana rumor and the nature of the O’s interest here.

*The Ubaldo Jimenez signing shows the Orioles “mean business” according to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, and you can read that column here.

*Jimenez’s signing had a lot of factors in it, the fourth year was important and obviously so was the total contract value. But so was the initial visit he had with the O’s and the word of Pedro Martinez.

“We had a really good visit with [pitching coach] Dave Wallace and Dan [Duquette] and Lee Thomas at the Winter Meetings,” agent Fernando Cuz said yesterday. “I flew Ubaldo up. We spent a long time talking about the direction the organization was going. Dave Wallace and [athletic trainer] Chris Correnti had a connection with Pedro. Pedro thinks the world of Dave Wallace and of Chris. Chris was his personal trainer when he played with Boston and in New York. So he knew that these guys really know how to work with pitchers, and he had a chance to be on top of his game with this staff around him that Dan has put together.

So that’s what really impressed him more than anything. Dave speaks perfect Spanish, he knows the culture, he’s worked with some of the best Dominican pitchers in the history of baseball. And I think this environment is going to be good for him.”

Jimenez is a big family guy and plans on getting a house in the area. His mother will be a staple at Camden Yards every fifth day.

*Suk-min Yoon threw his first bullpen session as an Oriole yesterday and talked this morning with reporters through interpreter Justin Yoo:

“I threw nice and easy. My control was good, and it was better than I expected.”

Is he on pace with everyone else?
“I’m on pace and everyone’s been very welcoming, so that’s also helped me get on pace.”

What pitches does Yoon have?
“Fastball, slider, change, curve.”

Initial impressions of O’s after first four days?
“This is my first Spring Training here, but baseball is baseball anywhere you go. You’ve got some of the best players here, so spring camp has been very good.”

Intimidating being in the Majors after being in Korea for so long?
“No, not at all.”

Bullpen session tomorrow, throwing to hitters or what?

“[Pitching coach Dave] Wallace told me I’m going to throw a pen tomorrow. No hitters. Probably the same as yesterday.”

*With all the news in the Orioles signing two pitchers, the annual movie on the eve of the first full-squad workout didn’t generate much buzz in the media. But this year’s 20-minute motivational video, which manager Buck Showalter has made to show to the team every year, still did its job. Several players said this morning that the video — part of the team’s meeting– went over well, although it didn’t have some of the famous cameos of years past with guys like Ray Lewis.

*The “Two Minutes With…” series yesterday focused on new Oriole David Lough, who studied for and got certified to be a personal trainer while with the Royals. You can read more on him here.

Ubaldo Jimenz joins the Orioles, pictures and transcript

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It was shortly after 9:30 a.m. today when Ubaldo Jimenez walked into the media room, converted into a press conference, joined by agent Fern Cuza, Orioles manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50-million contract with Baltimore, is one of the biggest signings in organizational history and Duquette started the press conference off with the following statement…

“The Orioles are proud to announce they’ve agreed to terms and signed right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year contract. Ubaldo is a proven, reliable, dependable starting pitcher. He has shown excellent on the pitching staffs that he has led in Colorado and Cleveland. He’s started over 30 games six years in a row. When he’s at the top of his game, he’s one of the top pitchers in baseball, and last year, in the second half of the season, he was one of the top pitchers in the American League. He led Cleveland to the playoffs. He won 19 games in 2010, 15 games in 2009 and 13 last year.
 
“Overall, if you take a look at his body of work, he’s one of the top 10 pitchers in the league over the course of his career. We’re happy to have his leadership on our pitching staff. He’s at the point of his career where he can provide leadership in innings and stability to our ballclub, and we’re glad to have him.”
 
Jimenez spoke after that, electing to say a few words before reporters jumped in with questions. Here is what he said…
 
“Good morning everyone. First I want to thank God for this opportunity today, my family who’s been with me through the good times and the tough times. The other thing is to thank the owners of the Baltimore Orioles, Peter Angelos and Dan Duquette and the manager, Buck for giving me the confidence. I know it took a lot for them to bring me here. I’m really excited to be here. The only way to pay them back is to go out every five days and get the best out of me and just be there for the team, giving me the opportunity. I’m very excited. We’re here for one thing, and that’s bringing a championship to the city of Baltimore. I want to thank everyone, starting with the owner, Dan and Buck, and everyone that made it possible for me to be here today. I want to do everything possible to go out there and compete and give the team a chance to win. I know it’s a tough division, but I like the challenge. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m very prepared for that. I’m excited to be in Baltimore, and I’m going to do everything possible to meet the challenge.”

On why he chose Baltimore, Jimenez said he had a feeling the first day he sat down with Duquette, special assistant Lee Thomas and pitching coach Dave Wallace.

On how he maintain mindset that made him so good 2nd half last year: “Those two years were a nightmare but they’re in the past. As a player, I just have to forget about it and I look forward to the future. I had a great second half last year and that’s what I’m going to take. I’m going to be prepared and I know that I have the confidence to go out there. And knowing that I’m healthy and I’m going to be able to compete every five days.”

On how difficult it was waiting that long to sign: “It is very difficult to wait. I know I’m not the only one who had headaches. Probably Dan and  my agent. Those guys worked really hard. It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy to be waiting that long. I love baseball too much and I just want to be out there with my team. That’s what was on my mind. I just wanted an opportunity to get everything done. I don’t want to wait too long.”

On taking on a leadership role: “Yeah, that’s something I’ve been doing since I was in Colorado. I know I was young back then, but that’s what I put in my mind. I just want to go out there and compete and lead by example. It’s not that I’m going to be telling everyone what to do or anything like that. These guys are in the big leagues, they’ve been playing baseball for a long time. They really know what they need to do in order to compete. But for me, that’s something I put in my mind. I want to be out there, I want to take the ball every five days and give everything I’ve got and lead by example.”

Duquette on choosing Ubaldo over other free agents: “I think the most important thing about Ubaldo is that he goes to the post and he’s been a proven solid dependable pitcher. And if you look in the book, you can’t find very many pitchers to take over 30 starts six years in a row like he has.

In 2012, he had an injury to his ankle and he was not at the top of his game but he was out there pitching for the club and he didn’t get the kind of results he had gotten at other times in his career. But there was a reason for it. He had an issue with his ankle. But when you talk about leadership and the leadership of a pitching staff to me is the front end of the rotation starters who pitch innings and Ubaldo has been a workhorse over the course of his career. … I do want to thank Fernando Cuza and Diego Benz for their role in the process in helping bring Ubaldo to Baltimore. Fernando represented the Martinez brothers and he saw how Dave Wallace worked very efficiently with Ramon and Pedro Martinez, but particularly Ramon who is built very similar to Ubaldo and has a very similar delivery and an excellent change up. I think Fernando saw the opportunity for Ubaldo working with Dave making the same kind of adjustments that Ramon made later in his career. And Mr. Angelos deserves a lot of credit for investing in a pitcher on a four-year basis and the comfort level of Ubaldo going to the post for 30 starts a year had a lot to do with that.”

Jimenez on if the ankle was a big difference between ’12 and ’13: “That was part of it because I couldn’t repeat my mechanics and I couldn’t push off the mound, but something that I put in my mind was that like I had to be out there and I had to compete with whatever I had. In a way, that just messed up my mechanics. I wasn’t able to repeat it every time.”

Jimenez on the pressure of living up to that big contract: “I know it’s a lot of money, but it doesn’t matter how much money I got before. I just put enough pressure on me to go out there and do the best that I could every five days. But I know what you mean that’s definitely  is a lot of money. I’m just going to go out there and show everything I have. I’m not going to be trying to do too much because then it’s going to mess everything up. I have to be who I am. I can’t be thinking about doing too much. I just have to go out there doing what I am.”

Duquette on Jimenez, the DH search and if the Os are in win-now mode

Shortly after the Orioles formally introduced new pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, executive vice president of baseball operations held court on a host of topics regarding the organization’s present and future. I’ll have a full story up on Orioles.com shortly, but here are the highlights…

On how long the offseason was for him given that Orioles didn’t make any major moves…

“It took a lot of patience by the fans and a lot of patience by us to add veteran starting pitchers, but this is a robust market for the veteran starting pitchers. Every starting pitcher that we were in on, there were four or five other clubs also in on that pitcher actively trying to sign him with good offers. So, we were glad to get a quality starting pitcher in Jimenez and add him to our ballclub at this stage of his career. We think he’ll be a pretty solid addition for us.”
 
On the chances of an additional hitter…
 
“I wouldn’t handicap that. I can tell you we’re happy we were able to sign Yoon. We’ll be able to take a look at him. His proven experience and pitching will be an asset to the team. He was the youngest starting pitcher available on the market and Jimenez was one of the most dependable starting pitchers on the market, so we think between the two of them we’ll get some quality innings for our pitching staff.”
 
“We can continue to look, from the players we have here in camp and a couple of players who are still on the market, see if there’s a fit.”
 
On how tough the offseason was for him…
 
“If we went out and we signed these players in October and November, people would be saying, ‘The Orioles are addressing their needs. They are being aggressive. They’re adding good starting pitching. They’re ramping up their team for a run at the title. Well, we didn’t sign them in October, but by waiting we got contracts with these players that are good for the market, that are good for the team. People understand that we are building our team and ramping it up to be a contending team this season.”
 
On how important the fourth year of Jimenez’s contract was…
 
“The fourth year was a big step for the Orioles, but in light of Ubaldo’s dependability and his age, I think it was the right recommendation to invest in that fourth year for Ubaldo. I think we’ll be able to get a couple of very good years from him over the course of the contract.”

 
On how tough it was to lose a Draft pick and pool money for Jimenez…

 
“You know, it’s always a consideration. Getting the dependable starting pitcher is very important. Really, what we’ve done is we traded our 35th pick for Norris, who won 10 games last year, and we gave up our first pick this year for Ubaldo, who won 13 games last year. We made that conscious choice to put those resources into our current team on the starting pitching staff and that’s what we felt we had to do to stabilize our team and be competitive in the AL East.”
 
On if the Orioles have a window of success…

“We want to have a good team every year. We have some good established players here that should be in the prime years of their careers, so I understand what people say, but the opportunity is there to have a contending team and we feel we have do this.”

On if this means the Orioles are sending the “win now” message to fans…

“We want to contend every year but we made some conscious choices to put the resources into our pitching staff for this year. We like the core of our team. We like our core players. They are at the stage in their careers where they should continue to have good, solid years and we hope we built our pitching staff properly.”

On if this changes things for a Hardy/Davis/Wieters extension(s)…

“We want to have a competitive team year-in and year out. And we are going to do whatever we have to do to accomplish that. As far as the core players, we’ve made it clear that we want to sign the core players, the good dependable players to stay with the club. With that being said, we have to stay within the resources of the team and the market.”

On if the 55th pick does not matter as much anymore…

“Our expansion of our scouting on the international market and the additions and signings of Carlos Diaz, the first baseman we picked up from from Mexico City and Jomar Reyes, the top Dominican third baseman that we signed. I think that helps us continue to build the quality of the talent depth within our Minor League system. So, there’s other avenues in signing and bringing players into the organization other than just the Draft. Now, do we want to be giving up all our Draft picks every year? No, that’s not something we want to be doing long-term. But we made a conscious choice to do that this year to put the resources into our pitching staff with the core. We thought that was the right choice to make. Are we going to continue to be aggressive on international scouting? Yes we are. And we are going to be aggressive not just on the amateur market but also on the professional market in bringing in players like [Suk-min] Yoon, who can help our club.”

On if that pick would specifically preclude them from making another move in free agency…

“Every draft pick has a specific value and we take into consideration that specific value before we part with the Draft pick. and we did that in this case and we would do that on a case-by-case basis.”

Day 8 news & notes

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*New Oriole pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Suk-min Yoon each through the first bullpen in an Oriole uniform on Thursday morning at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

“Ubaldo especially was anxious to get out there,” manager Buck Showalter said of Jimenez, who spent the early part of his day being introduced at a press conference. “He handled himself well didn’t he? Impressive.”

Showalter wasn’t sure what the next step was for either guy and would confer with pitching coach Dave Wallace before publicly announcing that although he seemed pretty sure that both Jimenez and Yoon wouldn’t just jump right in and throw to hitters the next time out.

*Showalter also noted that Thursday’s practice went particularly crisp and said it was one of the better ones he’s had as the Orioles manager. Could there be a little different vibe in the locker room with the recent additions of Yoon and Jimenez?

“Yeah, a little bit,” he said. “It’s something that you’ve been in locker rooms for a long time you know…you walk through locker rooms many times during a season, you know sometimes you got it going on. There’s just a feeling in there. I can’t [describe it].”

*There’s plenty of Jimenez content up today, with the full transcript of his press release and photos here and a story on the presser up here.

*Orioles EVP Dan Duquette also held court to talk about Jimenez, the team’s designated hitter situation and future extensions for other players and you can read that here.

*Guys who threw with hitters tracking today were: Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter, Ryan Webb, Wei-Yin Chen, Brad Brach, Tim Alderson, Nick Additon, Bud Norris, Evan Meek, Troy Patton, Zach Britton, T.J. McFarland, Brock Huntzinger and Tim Berry.

*Nick Markakis (pictured above) created a little stir today, walking in with a shaved head.

*Showalter was asked again today about Manny Machado’s rehab and while he didn’t say anything different, he did mention that they wouldn’t let Machado do any side-to-side stuff today. Machado has been cleared to do that on the field, but the O’s are moving cautiously with Machado who Showalter said “is worth waiting for.” The organization wants him to be 100 percent, whether that be Opening Day or a week or two after.

*In case you missed it yesterday, the “Two Minutes with…” daily spring story has moved to the main site on Orioles.com and featured Brian Matusz yesterday. New Oriole David Lough will be featured on the site later today.

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