The first workout for Orioles pitchers and catchers in spring training is more important for what it represents than what it actually is. Those of us who are back in Maryland are enduring temperatures in the teens, and that while the sun is still shining. It's also on the cold side in Florida, though not cold enough to stop anyone from stretching, running, throwing, fielding, or taking batting practice.
All of these are activities that are a part of baseball, even if taken individually, they aren't really baseball.
One promising development to get the day started was that Matt Wieters was taking part in various bullpen sessions. That's part of his road back, although the only reason he is doing that now is that he doesn't have to go all-out throwing in a bullpen session. There's no one out there trying to steal a base. The goal is to have him play his first Grapefruit League game on March 17. That's starting to cut it close for Opening Day, especially if there are setbacks of any kind.
Last year, the Orioles had success in getting Zach Britton to throw off a mound that had strings suspended in front of home plate, with the goal of getting him to keep the ball low, not hitting the strings. Today the O's had Kevin Gausman using that mound, seen in action here:
#Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman throwing a bullpen session today in #Sarasota. https://t.co/N5jbf6kLJT— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) February 20, 2015
Ubaldo Jimenez's struggles are due to having issues with his delivery. Supposedly, he had refined and repeated a more compact delivery in September of last year, and it is indeed true that Jimenez had his best month in that month, allowing opposing batters to hit only .128/.277/.205. That is still a lot of walks, and it's also only three games, two starts. Small sample size much? Anyway, he's said to have maintained that delivery into spring, so maybe that matters:
Ubaldo Jimenez's more compact delivery #orioles pic.twitter.com/EbhIGjGIkw— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 20, 2015
Actually, one can do a lot worse than taking the stance that nothing on the first day of spring training matters, as long as nobody gets hurt. That's true of most of the rest of the days of spring training as well.
With that in mind, spring is a good time to keep things light. Of course, Tommy Hunter keeps things light all of the time, which is one reason why he was seen hoarding beer bottles like a paranoid maniac during the celebration of clinching the division title last year. Here he is mugging for Roch Kubatko:
Tommy Hunter striking a pose for me while jogging to next station #orioles pic.twitter.com/oMO4jkE3UW— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 20, 2015
It's also a good time for the renewal of friendships. The O's beat crew made note that Brad Brach and Darren O'Day were always spotted together, which, it turns out, was also noticed by the wives:
"@masnRoch: Yes that's ODay and Brach. I'm aware pic.twitter.com/hvXVMinShw" @ElizabethPrann Always together. Should we be worried? Haha— Jenae Brach (@JenaeBrach) February 20, 2015
Shucks. One thing I enjoy about Twitter is how you get a chance to experience players as people also - not just through their own accounts but the loved ones who support them. Doesn't this picture make you happy? Aw.
Also on the lighter side of spring training, Buck Showalter signing a man's shirt:
#Orioles manager Buck Showalter signing autographs today, even signing this guy's shirt! #springtraining pic.twitter.com/KzqaMEdH6s— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) February 20, 2015
I feel like this fellow is a bit too old to be having someone sign the shirt that he is presently wearing, but who am I to judge, other than a dude who has never had anyone sign a shirt for me?
Only pitchers and catchers are required to be in camp for the next couple of days, but many position players have reported early also. One who was sighted was perennial Camden Chat favorite Nolan Reimold:
Nolan Reimold and Steve Pearce playing catch this morning in Sarasota. #orioles pic.twitter.com/IgMAP19bpw— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) February 20, 2015
I have to say that if things worked out that the Orioles could be good and also have Reimold on the team, doing well, that would make me very happy.
So, spring training day one. Not very exciting. Don't hope for much from day two either.