Spring Training news and notes Day 4 (updated)
It was a quick day today as the Orioles head off to their annual charity golf tournament. Also, I’m having some trouble adding pictures and videos today so please visit my Facebook page to view them all for today: https://www.facebook.com/brittghiroli
*The Orioles are piping in noise from two of their playoff games last year to use while they work on pop-up and priority drills. Typically when they work on these things in the spring it’s quiet and obviously that’s not a good replication of during the season so manager Buck Showalter is implementing this method this year. Interesting.
*Steve Johnson did not throw his scheduled bullpen today because he jammed his right middle finger during pitchers’ fielding practice yesterday.
Johnson was waiting to get an X-Ray this afternoon, but didn’t think it was anything serious.
“It felt a lot better than it did yesterday, just got to ice it,” Johnson said.
“Hopefully it’s a day thing and [I’m back out there].”
*Here are the Orioles who did throw bullpen sessions today: Dane De La Rosa, Brian Matusz, Wesley Wright, Oliver Drake, Chaz Roe, Tim Berry, Eddie Gamboa, Jason Garcia, Chris Jones, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Hunter Harvey, Logan Verrett.
*Caleb Joseph is back in camp today, after leaving early yesterday when his pregnant wife, Brooke, was hospitalized. Joseph said it wasn’t anything serious, just precautionary, with Brook being due on March 1.
*Rey Navarro and Jayson Nix both reported to camp today, in advance of Tuesday’s full-squad report date. Nix was a late signing and said he thought the Orioles had a good thing going. With the injury to Paul Janish, his versatility could be a factor this spring.
“What I’ve done the last few years, doing a variety of things,” Nix said of what he brings to the Orioles. “Playing all over the field, playing short, second and third mainly, but also being able to play in the outfield. Wherever they put me, I’m very versatile in that way. And whatever need arises, whatever is needed, I can fill.”
Nix has played for eight teams in seven years and has gotten a good look at the Orioles over the years.
“I remember looking back to 2012 when I was in New York and coming down the stretch that season in September, this team was really playing good and we were fighting with them down the stretch and then in the playoffs that year,” Nix said. “I could really see it turn that year. That was the first year for me playing and seeing this team win seeing and Baltimore come alive, and ever since then it’s been that way. Yeah, I’ve definitely seen it, and I know for a team to be playing like that, they’ve got to have a lot of good things going on in the clubhouse.”
*David Lough is an interesting guy to watch this spring. A lot of people didn’t notice how well he did the final four months of the season, batting .337, because of the slow start Lough had. He suffered a concussion last spring that Lough admitted this morning lingered on and was tough to get over while on the field at the start of the year.
“It was more of a mental thing,” Lough said. “It was with me, I kind of felt it a little bit. And with baseball you got to have a clear mind a little bit. If it’s stuck in your mind, it’s just going to be worse. And that’s how it was for the first half of the season. And after that, I was like you know what? I just got to get let it go. Play baseball. And I ended up playing a lot better.”
With no Nick Markakis or Nelson Cruz, Lough will get more of an opportunity this spring. But there’s a lot of competition in camp, making the outfield situation one of the more interesting storylines this spring.
“I told Dan [Duquette] the other day, it’s the guy that they traded for,” Lough said. “And hopefully he’s here to stay.”
It was Duquette who made a bold statement at last year’s FanFest regarding Lough, telling Orioles fans that the new acquisition –who they got in a trade from the Royals– was better than the departed Nate McLouth in nearly every facet of the game. But Lough –whose concussion-like symptoms first came up during March 8’s inside-the-park homer– couldn’t shake off the spring injury, batting .159 in his first 38 games (98 plate appearances).
The early struggles didn’t help endear him to Orioles fans and Lough –despite a solid second half– had trouble climbing out of the early hole, finishing the season with a .247/.309/.385 line in 112 games.
“I was on a roll and I was doing some good things for the ball club,” Lough said of his season from June 1 on. “I felt like that was the old me, swing-wise and having my mental approach going up to the plate. It’s just trying to bring that into Spring Training [this year] and put those first 100 at-bats from last year aside and have a good spring.”
Lough is eager to show the fans a “bit more this year” in terms of what he can do on the field. Now he just has to prove he deserves that chance this spring.
“I hope so, that Buck looks at the whole playing field here and sees what we got and feels that I’m capable of doing a lot of things to help this ball club,” Lough said. “Whether it’s leading off for the team or doing something in a starting role.”
*Travis Snider, who is a huge Seahawks fan, is also fitting in quite well at his new camp. After his club lost the Super Bowl, Snider is now indebted to Patriots fan Ryan Flaherty, who will get a steak dinner of his choosing during the season.
*MLB.com’s columnist Richard Justice took a good look at the Orioles from yesterday’s camp and you can read that here.