The Orioles annual minicamp for some pitchers got underway on Monday afternoon at the spring training complex in Sarasota. Although the remote possibility exists that something interesting might be said about the Orioles plans for the upcoming season, the minicamp is, in general, on the meaningless side for fans.
However, the temperature in the Baltimore area has not been above freezing for much of the early days of 2018. It was so cold for so long you might have wondered if it would ever get warm again.
And here, on Monday afternoon, if you have kids at a school in Maryland, they probably got off early due to incoming winter precipitation. Down on the Eastern Shore, they still haven’t fully dug out from last week. The evening commute probably won’t be much fun, especially if you have to go west.
With that in mind, here are some pictures and videos of baseball-ish activities undertaken by people wearing Orioles clothing in Florida on Monday:
There was not much discussion about whether the Orioles would or should try to use Miguel Castro as a starting pitcher in the upcoming season, but his hair got a lot of attention. I guess it says a lot about this offseason so far if the most newsworthy thing happening about the Orioles rotation is Castro changing his hair.
Here are a bunch of guys getting loose under what may be the supervision of newly-named head athletic trainer Brian Ebel:
I don’t know if it’s Ebel, I was just thinking that it looks like someone bald is in the middle.
Doesn’t it just make you feel warmer seeing people in shorts working out on a baseball field? That’s what this is all about.
Hunter Harvey doing a little throwing is a big deal as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery. There’s also a little look at Stacey’s cousin Lucas Long (not really Stacey’s cousin) and Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes.
Speaking of Harvey, there’s been some occasional talk, all of it crazy in my opinion, about Harvey possibly making it all the way up to Baltimore this season - including at least once suggestion that he might break camp in the big league bullpen. Manager Buck Showalter addressed the Harvey situation a little bit:
Buck on Hunter Harvey: “I know Hunter was probably as happy a guy to just be here as a normal pitcher. He’s ready to go. If anything, we’re going to have to caution ourselves with him. I don’t have much doubt he’ll be productive if healthy. I think he’s got the worst behind him"— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) January 8, 2018
Here’s hoping they do, in fact, go ahead and caution themselves with Harvey, because although there is certainly a need in the 2018 rotation, there should not be too much rush on a guy who has, due to multiple injury problems, yet to pitch at a level higher than Delmarva and has also yet to throw more than 87.2 innings in any one professional season - and that back in 2014.
Showalter was a bit more cryptic on the question of what will be done with Manny Machado possibly switching to the shortstop position for the season:
Last month at the winter meetings, Showalter was demur on the subject so as not to speak publicly before he talked to the parties involved. Those conversations, he said, have happened.
”It’s further along than it was,” Showalter said, though he said there’s no public resolution to them. “I’m going to let some things play out. We don’t want to get too committed to something unless we’re sure everything’s going to be as we think.”
One might certainly read the above as Showalter not being entirely certain whether or not Machado will actually be on the team when the season begins. That’s enough intrigue. Let’s get back to warm baseball stuff.
Cortes is the one of the Rule 5 trio with what I would think is the best chance of sticking on the Orioles roster as it’s currently made up, since he was a swingman at both Double-A and Triple-A this past season. The Orioles, who had a lot of bad spot starters and long relievers last season to go along with their plethora of bad regular starters, could certainly make use of an improvement in that role.
Some of the other pitchers who are at minicamp will be throwing over the next couple of days. Others who are there include the hard-throwing Tanner Scott, an actual pitching prospect in lefty Keegan Akin, and rehabbing converted outfielder Dariel Alvarez. By the way, Cortes is the only one of the trio of Rule 5 picks at this minicamp, which may or may not mean anything.
That’s what passed for excitement today. Hopefully it brought a little warmth to your winter day, wherever you are. Stay safe out there.