This week marked the beginning of Spring Training for the Baltimore Orioles. Pitchers and catchers reported on Tuesday. Multiple position players are already working out and taking batting practice at the Sarasota complex.
Full team workouts begin next week and the Orioles won’t play their first Spring Training game until Saturday, Feb. 23 against the Twins at 1:05 pm from Ed Smith Stadium.
A lot of what we heard this week, not just from players but from Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde, was related to the excitement surrounding the 2019 season. There’s only so much to talk about after just four days of workouts, but now there’s information out there that didn’t exist at the start of the week.
#1: When Chris Davis was nowhere to be found on Tuesday, (when Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo were spotted), the internet went wild. On Friday MASN‘s Roch Kubatko sent out a tweet saying that Davis had reported to camp. Apparently Davis arrived in Sarasota on Saturday, but caught the flu which then turned into bronchitis. Not wanting to risk making his teammates sick, Davis decided to wait a few days before making an appearance.
Not seeing Davis in camp right away wasn’t an encouraging sign for a player coming off a historically-bad season, but the national media and fans made too much out of nothing. Position players are not required to report until Sunday, so Davis is still early. With that said, all position players should be reporting early coming off the worst season in franchise history, whether they were an Oriole in 2018 or not.
#2: The news about pitching prospect Dean Kremer being held out of workouts due to oblique soreness is certainly not a headline Orioles fans wanted to read. Kremer strained his left oblique a few weeks ago and is expected to resume throwing in two weeks.
“I’ve got a slow recovery coming back,” Kremer said. “I’m obviously not happy that it happened, but happy that it happened early. That way, I can still be relevant in camp.”
Oblique injuries are notorious for taking a lengthy period of time for pitchers to bounce back from. Kremer led the minor leagues in strikeouts last year with 178 at the Double-A level. He was one of the players acquired in the Manny Machado trade. If he’s back in two weeks, Kremer will still have plenty of time to get ready for the season. It will be important to not rush him back due to the nature of pitchers dealing with oblique injuries. “I’ve got a slow recovery coming back,” Kremer said. “I’m obviously not happy that it happened, but happy that it happened early. That way, I can still be relevant in camp.”
#3: There’s well over a month remaining until the Orioles season opener in New York against the Yankees on March 28, but I’m guessing that either Dylan Bundy or Alex Cobb will toe the rubber as the starting pitcher for game 1. I touched on that in a piece I wrote earlier this week projecting the rotation order.
In regards to Cobb, it’s very nice to see him receiving a full spring training to get his arm ready. That wasn’t the case last year when he inked a four-year, $57 million contract just nine days before Opening Day. Unsurprisingly, Cobb struggled mightily early in the season and finished with the worst numbers he’s put up in a full season. Expectingly, he received unfair criticism from fans. If I had to guess, having a full Spring Training to prepare will result in those same people cheering for Cobb following a quality start in April.
“It’s just relaxing right now,” Cobb said. “I’ve got everything taken care of. Family’s good, my place is set up, housing-wise. I know exactly where I’m going, I know exactly what I’m walking into and nothing feels rushed. I’m able to take my time getting my delivery down and not being thrown into competition from Day One, it felt like last year.”
#4: I think Mancini receiving Adam Jones‘s old locker at Ed Smith stadium is a pretty clear indicator of what Elias and Hyde think of Mancini’s importance to this young team. Apparently Mancini did not know about this until Chance Sisco sent him a text that included a picture of the locker with a Mancini nameplate above it.
Mancini has only completed two full seasons in the majors, but he will have more big league experience than a chunk of guys who make the 25-man roster. At 26, he’s a young player who the Orioles can build around. With all the failure surrounding Davis, Mancini will be seen as a leader. I’m looking forward to watching Mancini embrace this role, as well as if his personality starts to come out.
“I’m obviously not Adam Jones,” Mancini said. “I’m not trying to be. Nobody can fill his shoes at all…But I’m definitely in [a] position now where we have a lot of younger guys and I’ll do my best to do what was done for me whenever I was a young guy here, which was get a lot of veteran leaders to guide me and help me know how major league camp works. Set an example just by the way I go about my business.”
#5: It’s very nice to hear that all but one of the Orioles Spring Training games will be broadcasted in some capacity. In prior years more than half of Baltimore’s Spring Training slate was not broadcasted on MASN or the radio, but this year that’s changing.
There will be seven televised Spring Training games on MASN, 13 games on the Orioles Radio Network (locally on 105.7 The Fan) and 16 games streamed on Orioles.com and the MLB At-Bat app commentated by MASN’s Steve Melewski.
Ideally there would be more games on television, but this is a big step in the right direction. For years fans have complained about the lack of Spring Training coverage on the Orioles’ media affiliates. It appears that the Angelos boys (and possibly even Elias) are working on changing that. Now can we please have a MASN app to watch games on?
Image Credit: Baltimore Sun