There are now 42 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. The uniform number is retired for the Orioles and every other team in honor of Jackie Robinson. Before that league-wide decree took effect, it was last worn by Lenny Webster from 1997-99. Large numbers of nerds of many ages and types may also recognize it as the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Today marks the second day of work for O’s pitchers and catchers in Sarasota. Position players are slowly trickling in as well, though they aren’t required to be there yet. Things will all come together in time for the first spring training game, nine days from today.
If you want to actually see the O’s, you’ll have to either be in Florida or wait one extra day days to see them on MASN. The network announced its spring training schedule of seven games yesterday, with the first being the spring training home opener on February 23. That’s the same number as last year. A radio schedule has not yet been announced.
For now, here is a picture of the Orioles newly-expanded spring bullpen mound, which increased in size from four mounds to six mounds since last spring:
That’s a lot of mounds. No wonder Adley Rutschman got a big league spring training invite. The O’s needed people to catch this six-wide spread and they might as well give last year’s #1 pick a taste of that.
Speaking of Rutschman, here he is catching a couple of bullpen session pitches:
Around the blogO’sphere
Baseball is coming back, baby! That means there’s actually some fresh stuff to talk about today:
Hunter Harvey will begin the year as a reliever - both an expected and necessary pronouncement (The Athletic)
I feel like the previous regime would have blundered around with Harvey trying to be a starting pitcher this spring. Now the only question is how soon he’ll get to the back end of the bullpen.
Four spring training predictions for the Orioles (Orioles.com)
Among the predictions from MLB.com’s Joe Trezza is that Harvey will end up as the closer. That would be interesting, and hopefully exciting to see as well.
Breaking starter John Means hoping young teammates follow in his path (Baltimore Sun)
The lesson of John Means last year is that it doesn’t matter what your prospect stock was before, if you show up pitching well enough, you’ll get a shot in MLB.
DJ Stewart making progress from ankle surgery (School of Roch)
Seven picks after the Orioles took Stewart in 2015, the Pirates selected Ke’Bryan Hayes, who is now the #30 prospect in the game according to the just-released Fangraphs top prospects list.
Trey Mancini ‘aiming higher’ with his swing to elevate his performance amid low team expectations (Baltimore Sun)
It’s a running joke of spring training coverage that players show up having worked on something new; a lot of the time it amounts to nothing. If Mancini does manage to unlock a level of performance beyond the .899 OPS he posted last year, that would be fun to watch.
The Baseball 100: No. 44, Cal Ripken Jr. (The Athletic)
The ongoing series by The Athletic’s Joe Posnanski rolls past the undisputed greatest Oriole of my lifetime. I can’t decide if #44 on such a list feels like it’s lower than he deserves or not.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
A handful of former Orioles were born on this day. They are: 2013/15 outfielder Henry Urrutia, 2016 pitcher Logan Ondrusek, 2002/06 reserve Howie Clark, 2004-07 reliever Todd Williams, and the late Jim Brideweser, an infielder with the 1954 and 1957 Orioles.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: test pilot Chuck Yeager (1923), television’s Jerry Springer (1944), and football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1977).
On this day in history...
In 1542, the fifth of Henry VIII’s wives, Catherine Howard, was executed for treason and adultery. A bill of attainder from Parliament proclaimed her guilty; she never received even a sham trial.
In 1861, the defenders of Gaeta in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies surrendered to Sardinian forces. The Sardinian victory helped lead to the unification of Italy.
In 1935, a New Jersey jury found Bruno Hauptmann of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh. Hauptmann’s widow fought to clear his name until her death in 1994. No court ever took up revisiting the case.
In 2004, astronomers determined that the core of white dwarf star BPM 37093, about 50 light years from Earth, must be a diamond, making it the largest known diamond in the universe. The star was rechristened “Lucy” in honor of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 13 - or at least, until something happens later as O’s pitchers and catchers do their early spring training thing. Have a safe Thursday.