Over the past several years, the Orioles have typically had a mini-camp at Camden Yards the week prior to Fanfest. Pitchers and rehabbing players were generally those who would attend. This year, with Fanfest coming two weeks later than it has been, they've moved the mini-camp to the team complex in Sarasota. The camp opens on Tuesday, but some players and reporters were there on Monday to get an early start.
One of the players who arrived early was Dylan Bundy, who is in the midst of a throwing program as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.
Dylan Bundy progressing well frm TJ surgery. Said he feels no pain in his arm for 1st time in a yr, he's aiming 2 be back June 28. #Orioles— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) January 13, 2014
The significance of the June 28 date is that would mark exactly one year since his surgery. That was described as when he hopes to be in a "competitive game", which would most likely start out with the Gulf Coast League Orioles as he gets back into form.
On his rehab program, Bundy is currently playing catch at 60 feet. He told reporters that he wishes he'd undergone the surgery sooner. Hindsight, as always, is 20/20.
Still, routine news is better than bad news. There's still no way to know exactly how he will be as a pitcher when he gets back to that, and it may take him time to get back to where he was when the Orioles gave him a brief look in the big leagues in 2012. He may need further minor league development even when fully healthy. Counting on him for much in 2014 is probably not something that either the team or fans should do.
There's still plenty of reason to hope that he'll be a part of the Orioles success in the not-too-distant future, even if it's not quite Next Sunday, A.D.
One player who cruised by briefly, though he won't be at the mini-camp, is Matt Wieters. Reporters indicated that he purchased a second home and is in the process of moving. He addressed the subject of an extension and said it "wasn't taking up as much" of his thoughts as in past years.
Wieters: "The money is something...that's why we hire agents and you have front office people that can work that stuff out." #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) January 13, 2014
Something tells me that second house probably isn't in Baltimore. Unless you think that the fact that Wieters is worrying about it less means he knows an extension will get done. What kind of contract do you think it would take to sign him long-term at this point? Is that more than you're comfortable with him getting?
Two players who aren't Orioles are expected to be at the complex tomorrow. Free agents Delmon Young and Stumblin' Jack Cust will be dropping by in hopes of working out contracts. In both cases, they are expected to be a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
That's not indicative of any kind of serious commitment to either player, and it probably wouldn't be worth getting worked up about at all if it wasn't for the fact that the only news relating to the O's lately is these sorts of retreads getting spring training invite signings. We know that if they can play, they'll play. If they can't play, they won't.
Young batted .260/.307/.407 in 103 games between the Phillies and Rays in 2013. He is only 28, but his career walk rate is approximately something worse than Adam Jones. Though he's a right-handed batter, he hit even worse against lefties than righties last year.
UPDATE: Immediately after I posted this article, the Orioles announced that they have signed Young to a minor league deal with a spring training invite.
Cust, soon to be 35, has not played in the big leagues since 2011. Also, he will be forever linked to this moment, now over ten years old. Good God.