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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where the spring training battles are heating up

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In other news: Davis is hurt, Susac is hopeful and Means is excited.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

I am such a sucker! These Orioles are not going to be good. I have to keep reminding myself of that fact. It’s so easy to buy into the spring training storylines, embrace the positive batting lines as the truth and reject the poor ones as a result of small sample sizes.

Drew Jackson looks like a better version of Ben Zobrist. Richie Martin is being talked about like a J.J. Hardy-type of fielder. Cedric Mullins has turned into Rickey Henderson all of the sudden. And the pitching...well that’s still been pretty terrible.

Of course these results and puffed up quotes by the coaching staff don’t really matter, but there does seem to be a very nice feeling about the Orioles camp. It is one of the rare times in professional sports where truly anyone could make the team or be sent packing. The longest tenured player (Chris Davis) is not a lock. The big time prospects still have a lot to prove. And non-roster invitees always face an uphill battle.

Healthy competition tends to breed success, or at least make those involved in the competition better as a result. Lowered expectations also help, but I’m going for the glass half-full approach here.

Links

Notes on Mountcastle, Young, Yacabonis, catching and coaches - School of Roch
As usual, Roch has quotes from all around the club. Most of the piece talks about Ryan Mountcastle’s spring so far. The prospect has been filling in at both first and third base so far, but it seems the O’s are not sending him to the outfield just yet.

Susac wants to catch a break this season, stay healthy with the O’s - Baltimore Baseball
First of all, I appreciate the pun in this headline. Second, Andrew Susac is probably going to have a tough time finding playing time in Baltimore this year regardless of his health. He is not even on the 40-man roster and faces sever competition from the likes of Jesus Sucre and Carlos Perez.

Chris Davis late scratch with left hip flexor strain - NBC Sports Washington
Don’t get too excited, people. This won’t keep the maligned first baseman out of the lineup for an extended period. He’s still likely to be around by Opening Day.

Orioles Creeped Out By Fan Who Followed Them To Spring Training - The Onion
Tough, but fair.

John Means hopes velocity, data make for a better big league encore - Baltimore Sun
Count the Orioles young lefty among the players that have totally bought into the organization’s analytical awakening. He explains in this piece that he is already throwing harder than ever before, up to 95 mph at times this spring. On top of that, he learned last year that he can be successful up in the zone. The 25-year-old may not break camp with the big league squad, but he will almost certainly get a chance at some point this season.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

It’s the 33rd birthday of failed starter turned Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. During his time with the Orioles, Arrieta was a highly-touted prospect, but a struggling big leaguer, pitching to a 5.46 ERA over 358 innings. He was then traded to the Chicago Cubs and everything worked out pretty well for him.

Happy 53rd to Anthony Telford. The right-handed pitcher was drafted by the O’s in 1987, and then played in 20 games for them in parts of three seasons in the early 90’s.

That’s the way it is in Birdland! The O’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Chartlotte later today with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. Means is on the mound for the good guys. Charlie Morton starts for Tampa.