Spring Training news & notes Day 2 (updated)
*Lots of bullpen action today, but that’s also infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop doing some running work pictured above. (There’s a video on my Instagram/Twitter accounts from earlier). Yes, Manny’s knee looks fine. Also, Schoop has really slimmed down and that should help his speed on the basepaths.
The Orioles had the following guys throw today: Dane De La Rosa, Brian Matusz, Wesley Wright, Oliver Drake, Steve Johnson, Chaz Roe, Chris Jones, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Tim Berry, Eddie Gamboa, Jason Garcia, Hunter Harvey and Logan Verrett.
Garcia, one of the two Rule 5 Draft picks, throws hard. You can hear the glove pop pretty frequently. It was also interesting to watch Harvey, one of the Orioles best young pitching prospects, throw to quite the audience. Not only were the prominent members of the organization on hand, but several players also stayed to watch. Chris Tillman and Zach Britton waited until Harvey finished to shake his hand, with Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter, Kevin Gausman and Miguel Gonzalez among those who watched Hunter’s first ‘pen.
“They are engaged in the group. These guys don’t separate themselves,” Showalter said of the veterans who weren’t pitching still wanting to watch. “They are looking for an ally, they are looking for help. They want to be good.”
*Speaking of O’Day, he will be slow played this spring. As a veteran reliever he doesn’t need as much time to get ready. Lefty Brian Matusz will be stretched out again this spring, a move which helps him get a feel for his changeup.
*The Orioles won their arbitration hearing on Friday against outfielder Alejandro De Aza, which means he will make $5 million in 2015. De Aza’s side had requested $5.65 million, but he still gets a good raise from the $4.25 million he made last year.
De Aza was the Orioles only arbitration case that went to a hearing and continues the organization’s recent success in those trials with general counsel H. Russell Smouse 8-0. Acquired in an August trade from the White Sox, De Aza flourished with Baltimore and is expected to get fairly consistent playing time in the corner outfield spots this winter.
*Ubaldo Jimenez was among those who threw bullpens yesterday and the right-hander is sticking with the simplified delivery he incorporated last year. (You can watch the video of him throwing on my Twitter and Facebook feeds.)
“My mechanics got so messed up, I was going way too far and I was losing sight of home plate,” Jimenez said of last year. “I mean, you are supposed to do that [overhead motion] and stay over. I was going way over and I didn’t know it. I didn’t know it until they showed me.”
Jimenez’s hands are now lowered and stay there, a delivery that looks more like what Chris Tillman does. It’s not a new delivery for Jimenez, as it was something he did in the Minor Leagues. He only added the motion to go over his head as a way to stay back on the rubber in his younger days.
The new delivery worked well for the final two months of the season although it still wasn’t enough for Jimenez to be on the team’s American League Championship Series roster. Jimenez left the team during that time, which drew a lot of negative attention, though he said that it wasn’t sour grapes.
“I had some business I had to take care of personally back in my country,” said Jimenez, who returned to the Dominican Republic. “Everything is OK. It wasn’t at that time.”
“As a player you are not going to be happy to not be on the roster, but as a player I didn’t take it that way,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t start anything and I said ‘OK, I wish them the best’. And I saw all the games. I made sure I kept myself ready in case they needed me after that.”
So does Jimenez, who went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA last year, think the O’s and their fans have seen what he can do?
“Not even a little bit. They haven’t” Jimenez said. “I cant wait [to show them].”
“As a player you are trying to do the best. The season wasn’t the one you wanted it to be, of course you aren’t going to be happy. You know you have something that you have to prove.”