When there is no news, every little bit of news seems like big news. That was part of the story of Orioles camp on Monday, which is how you end up with multiple updates on the condition of Steve Johnson's right middle finger and whether or not it is broken.
It's not broken, if you were wondering, although I suspect that if you really care about the status of his finger, you are probably related to him and already heard about it from him before needing me or anyone else to tell you. It takes a lot of imagination to picture Johnson mattering for the team this year, and most of the scenarios you might imagine are bad. That one month in 2012 was great. We'll always have that, Steve.
By now, every position player has reported to O's camp except for Delmon Young and Michael Almanzar. Rey Navarro arrived today, another non-event that resulted in a flurry of updates for lack of anything else to talk about. No news is good news in spring because it means nobody important has gotten hurt. It also means no news. The report date for position players is tomorrow.
There was one bit of hot news, though:
It's hot because it's about a microwave, see.
Staying on the subject of heat, Rule 5 flamethrower Jason Garcia was scheduled for a bullpen session today, a couple of pitches of which Baltimore Sun beat writer Eduardo Encina captured on video:
The beat contingent noted the presence of both Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette while Garcia was throwing his bullpen. No slight meant to Berry or Gamboa, but I'm guessing those two guys were not there for them.
A few pitches in a bullpen in February aren't going to put Garcia on the Opening Day roster. There's a reason they took a flier on him, though. The Orioles went out of their way to acquire Garcia, working out a small cash transaction in which the Astros would select Garcia in the Rule 5 draft and then trade him to the Orioles. He's getting a chance to prove himself.
2013 first round pick Hunter Harvey took a turn on the mound today as well, which you can see thanks to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli:
Hunter Harvey: pic.twitter.com/OKUvdh4KZe— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 23, 2015
Showalter was paying attention when Harvey was throwing, too. He pointed out to reporters that Harvey threw a few split-fingered fastballs, a new development for him. What do you get when an already well-regarded prospect suddenly unveils a new pitch? Well, that depends on how well the pitch works out, and we won't know that until he deploys it in competition. It is something to keep an eye on.
You can see Chris Tillman in the background of the Harvey video as well. No doubt you can't put a sabermetric stat on that either. Later, Harvey and Tillman were talking to one another:
Hunter Harvey talking with Chris Tillman. pic.twitter.com/4bEgynTlWC— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 23, 2015
If you missed it over the weekend, the comment about the "sabermetric stat" is poking fun at MASN writer Steve Melewski, who put a heck of a lot of stock in this sort of thing and took a potshot at "the nerds" in the process. You can read his blog entry for his side of the story if you want, which does contain some interesting thoughts from Orioles starters about how they have helped one another out.
That's a pretty big difference from the days of having Kevin Millwood as the veteran starter. Whether by luck or design, the Orioles had a nice situation with starting pitching last year, and hopefully that can continue on into this season with the same group of guys.
On the lighter side of things, today was also an Orioles charity golf event in support of the Miracle League of Sarasota. After knocking off from camp, a number of O's players were there. Tillman and Brian Matusz in golf attire:
The golf course is actually a great place for Matusz. When he shouts, "Fore!" he is giving both a warning about the shot and his ERA.