The Orioles winter minicamp continued in Sarasota on Tuesday with a whole lot of mundane pictures of random pitchers who may or may not ever matter throwing bullpen sessions. This is not a bad thing in the sense that no news is good news. If there was minicamp news it would probably involve a catastrophic injury. Boredom is A-OK.
One nice thing to be said about having a bunch of players around without much pressure is that there's more room for them to be asked about random topics that make them more human, rather than just guys who put on a uniform who you don't know at all. Does it mean anything in the grand scheme? No, but it's some baseball on a day where there's no baseball, and that's not nothing either.
The human moment on Tuesday came from the O's Rule 5 draft pick, Logan Verrett, who was selected from the Mets organization. Verrett himself was unaware that he had been picked initially and told reporters that he only found out because his wife read about it and told him, which left him speechless. Aw, shucks.
It's all too easy to default to some jaded attitude that nothing matters, but these things certainly matter to the players involved. Verrett worked for much of his life to get a chance with a big league team and it was his wife who got to let him know he'd get his chance. That is a pretty cool moment.
What kind of a chance does he have to stick with the Orioles? I like his chances better than the other Rule 5 guy, Jason Garcia, because it's easier to imagine a role for Verrett as the long reliever/spot starter. We know the O's can carry that kind of player as a Rule 5 pick because they did so with T.J. McFarland to hold onto him in the 2013 season.
Buck Showalter opined of Verrett, "He's going to be a pitcher." Yes, I think that is the idea. Apparently he meant pitcher along the pitcher/thrower continuum. This is the same guy who says, "He's a baseball player," is the greatest compliment he can pay someone.
Newly-minted $4.65 million man Tommy Hunter was milling about minicamp for the second straight day, though he's not scheduled to throw since his arm got extra work in MLB's Japan All-Stars tour in November. He told reporters that he's open to signing an extension to stay in Baltimore. Much as I enjoy Hunter's personality on the team, it's tough to imagine that happening.
Another guy hanging around the camp is new hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh. Minicamp is mostly to get a look at pitchers, though a few hitters like Henry Urrutia and Alex Hassan have been there to take a little batting practice. Coolbaugh said that he was in Dallas with Chris Davis for some workouts and "expects much improvement in 2015." From his lips to the baseball gods' ears.
And now for what we've all been waiting for, a couple of pictures of random players throwing bullpen sessions, featuring fewer possible beer bellies than yesterday:
After last year's forearm injury scare, any time seeing him in action is good. Harvey's dad, former MLB pitcher Brian Harvey, was around at minicamp yesterday. Showalter told reporters that he likes having Mr. Harvey around because he can help people work on splitters. That is making the most of available resources.
Gonzalez was the O's top draft pick in 2014 - just a third rounder after the signings of Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz. Third round picks are people too! It has to be cool for a guy to have been in high school at this time last year and now he's got the big league pitching coach watching over his session.
Manny Machado is supposed to stop in tomorrow so the team staff can check out how his recovery from knee surgery is coming along. Whether his rehab is going well or not, that will probably be the biggest story to come out of the minicamp.
In the afternoon news dump, Showalter told reporters that pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti will soon be flying out to California to get a look at the O's California contingent, which includes the likes of Miguel Gonzalez, Zach Britton, and Brian Matusz.
Something tells me that the Baltimore media outlets won't be expensing trips for that one, so our collective desire to see a single photo of Zach Davies throwing a bullpen session will have to wait for another month.