News and notes day 19 (updated twice)
*The Orioles are closing in on a Minor League deal with Johan Santana, who was spotted at the Minor League complex today. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said coyly that outfielder Francisco Peguero, who wears uniform No. 57, could stand to make some money soon. That number is what Santana has worn his whole career. You can read more on that developing situation here.
With free agent starter Ervin Santana still out there, could that be the Orioles’ only visit from a Santana this spring?
“I wouldn’t say that and be completely sure it was true,” Showalter said.
*The Orioles have resigned lefty Chris Jones to a Minor League contract after he was released last week. Jones was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Nelson Cruz and cleared waivers before signing a new deal with the O’s. He will now report to Twin Lakes Park.
*Alfredo Aceves made his debut for the Orioles today, throwing one scoring 1-2-3 inning. He will take a day off throw and then go two, take two days off and then throw three. Then he will be evaluated from there.
*Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman both threw two innings today and you can read more on that here.
*Prospect Jonathan Schoop continues to have a strong spring, with a pair of hits today making him 4-for-6 in four games. He also had a pair of homers in the teams intrasquad games.
“He’s going to take advantage of every opportunity he gets,” Showalter said. “He’s been locked in, seems to be in a good spot offensively since the first intrasquad game. Really BP.”
Is there a way Schoop can force his way to the Opening Day roster?
“I wouldn’t use the word force. I would say he’s competing for the job and there’s nobody ahead of him or behind him right now,” Showalter said of the second base competition that also includes Ryan Flaherty and Jemile Weeks. “He’s very much in the mix as he was the day we got here. In my mind I can tell you for sure there’s nothing in stone about where he’s going to start the year. Down or up. We made sure he knows.”
All three of those guys have Minor League options, which certainly helps Schoop’s case.
*There are no plans right now for Suk-min Yoon to leave for Canada. He’s still waiting on paperwork and then he will be gone for a few days. Given all that uncertainty, there’s no timetable for his first spring game.
*Nolan Reimold is sick today after contracting some kind of food poisoning last night. Manager Buck Showalter said he came into his office this morning and he immediately sent him home.
*Reliever Darren O’Day will be working with Orioles scout Todd Frohwirth on an off speed pitch that the club hopes will aid the the sidearmer in getting left-handed hitters out.
“I know Darren’s excited about it”, said Showalter, who wouldn’t specify what kind of pitch it was but came up with the idea over the winter. “It’s one thing, how does a pitching coach work with a knuckleball guy? how do they work if he’s n ever thrown down there? I know Dave and mark and rick before always spent a lot of time talking with people about mechanics.
“We thought, we had this great resource…Todd thought it was real important he build up his arm strength and arm speed before he got here, that’s why you didn’t see him early. Plus he coaches a girls basketball team back home that he’s big on.”
Pitchers like O’Day have a difficult time with secondary pitches because, as Showalter explained, it’s not always a case of just changing your grip.
“It’s hard, you don’t see many guys down there who have a good off speed pitch,” he said. “Be interesting to see if he can do it with the grip or if they have to do something different with the arm action.”
*David Lough will not play against lefties right now, Showalter said. The plan is for Nelson Cruz to play left field in that scenario, which frees up another spot for a right-handed hitting bat. Cruz is starting in the outfield for the first time this spring today.
“We need to use nelson’s skills to make everybody better,” Showalter said. “It’s possible, right now going in, I don’t plan yet on using [Lough] against left-handed pitching. So,you’d have a DH spot for a right-handed hitter. He could evolve into that too, a guy we trust against left-handed pitching. It’s also a way to keep everybody involved, too.”
The Orioles relied heavily on their regulars last year, they were the first club in the Majors to have seven or more players reach the 140 games played mark last year, and Showalter doesn’t want to get into that same rut again in regards to his bench.
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Nelson Cruz RF
Matt Wieters C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Alex Gonzalez 3B
David Lough LF
Bud Norris RHP
Darin Mastroianni CF
Danny Santana SS
Trevor Plouffe 3B
Chris Parmalee RF
Chris Colabello 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Wilkin Ramirez LF
Jomil Pinto C
Jason Bartlett 2B
Vance Worley RHP