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Monday Bird Droppings: Orioles spring training has finally arrived

A month delayed but not denied, the Orioles reported to spring training yesterday and will start work today.

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Baltimore Orioles, 2014 Spring Training
An Orioles spring workout from 2014.
Set Number: X157784 TK1 R1 F130

Hello, friends.

Baseball is coming! We can finally resume a countdown around here. Today marks the first workout day for Orioles spring training, so that is zero days away. They will start playing Grapefruit League games four days from today. Opening Day is a mere 25 days away, with the first game at Camden Yards coming along three days after that. Enjoy the fun of the anticipation before the reality that this team will probably stink again, especially at the beginning of the year, sets in.

The post-lockout, pre-spring training period has already brought a little Orioles news. The pre-lockout agreement with starting pitcher Jordan Lyles was finalized, and the Orioles added another signing on top of that, bringing in catcher Robinson Chirinos (not final as of this writing). The only real question there is whether Chirinos will be Adley Rutschman’s backup already on Opening Day, or if he starts out as the starting catcher and shifts to a backup role upon Rutschman’s arrival. I hope for the former and expect the latter.

On Sunday, the team announced the list of non-roster players who have been invited to the big league portion of camp. These are players who are not on the 40-man roster who will still be participating in camp until reassigned. Players on the 40-man roster are automatically part of big league camp unless optioned to the minors. Some of the non-roster guys may have a chance to squeeze into a fringe roster spot if they show something special or if injuries afflict players who are closer to being locks right now.

The headliners among the group are Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, and Kyle Stowers. We can hope to get to see or at least hear about some of these guys in the early games of the camp schedule and also hope they’re able to apply that experience and get themselves into real big league games soon.

Here’s the full list of announced invites:

  • Pitchers: Marcos Diplán, Rico Garcia, Ryan Hartman, Blaine Knight, Travis Lakins, Ofelky Peralta, Denyi Reyes, Grayson Rodriguez, Cody Sedlock, Nick Vespi, Spenser Watkins
  • Catchers: Anthony Bemboom, Brett Cumberland, Maverick Handley, Jacob Nottingham, Cody Roberts, Adley Rutschman
  • Infielders: Patrick Dorrian, Shed Long Jr., Richie Martin
  • Outfielders: Robert Neustrom, Kyle Stowers

One name absent from this list is 2020 first round pick Heston Kjerstad. Earlier in the offseason, Mike Elias mentioned him as a possible invite to the big league camp. With the three-week spring training scramble, though, it seems like the O’s have chosen to not bring him in. This probably would have been the case even if Kjerstad wasn’t currently day-to-day with a pulled hamstring that occurred during an intrasquad scrimmage in the minor league camp last week.

A week ago, it seemed like we might go without big league baseball for all of April. Now, spring training has begun. It’s exciting progress. Whether fans will be able to watch or listen to an Orioles broadcast of any of the coming spring games has not yet been announced. MASN typically has done a handful of spring broadcasts, with Orioles radio doing most home games.

For those fans who have been unable to resist the pull of the notion that the Orioles might actually sign Carlos Correa, you can keep that hope alive for now. He enters today unsigned. I would be surprised if there’s not a resolution to Correa’s free agency before the next time I’m writing Bird Droppings for you on Thursday. I think anyone who has their hopes up for this outcome will be disappointed, but I understand the need to latch onto something fun when the Orioles haven’t had a winning month since August 2017.

Around the blogO’sphere

Some business and benefits of beginning big league camp (School of Roch)
Roch runs through a few of the storylines for the first days of camp, a number of which will involve seeing how Orioles who ended last year injured - including last year’s Rule 5 guy Tyler Wells - progressed on their own over the offseason.

A guide to Orioles spring training in Sarasota (Baltimore Baseball)
If you’re making the trip down to Sarasota now that there’s a spring training again, Rich Dubroff has some suggestions for you on how to get there and where to go when you’re there.

Why Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee could be Orioles No. 1 pick this summer (CBS Sports)
It’s not too early to start figuring out the candidates to try to follow through the spring who might be in the mix for the Orioles pick at the top of the draft in a few months. Early attention is going to high schoolers like Druw Jones, Elijah Green, and Termarr Johnson, but we’ve certainly seen Mike Elias’s fondness for college position players show up before.

‘You have ALS’: Former reliever Jim Poole joins a short list of ex-MLB players to have Lou Gehrig’s disease (The Athletic)
Jim Poole was in the Orioles bullpen from 1991-94. I’m sure I have at least one of his baseball cards in the vast, unsorted stacks still piled in a closet at my parents house. Dan Connolly checked in with Poole after an ALS diagnosis last summer. Best of luck to Poole in managing the disease from here.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2013-14 reliever Josh Stinson, 2008 reliever Randor Bierd, and 1995 starting pitcher Kevin Brown (not the broadcaster or my cousin). Today is Brown’s 57th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: physicist Albert Einstein (1879), oldest living American astronaut Frank Borman (1928), actor Michael Caine (1933), baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett (1960), basketballer Stephen Curry (1988), and gold medal gymnast Simone Biles (1997).

On this day in history...

In 1794, Eli Whitney received the patent for his new invention, the cotton gin.

In 1942, the first recorded use of penicillin to treat an American patient took place. Drs. Orvan Hess and John Bumstead used the drug on a patient, Anne Miller, who had been dying of a streptococcal infection. Miller’s fever broke the next day and she survived another 57 years, passing away at the age of 90 in 1999.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 14. Have a safe Monday.