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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Spring training is almost here

A few Orioles have begun trickling into camp in Sarasota, and the rest will soon follow suit.

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MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
There’s nothing like playing baseball under the palm trees.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

A new baseball season — or, at least, the ramp-up to a new baseball season — is very nearly upon us. By tomorrow, all Orioles pitchers and catchers will have reported to the team’s spring training camp in Sarasota, Fla., with their first group workout scheduled for Thursday. Five days after that, the position players will join them for the first full-team workout.

In no time at all, we’ll be hearing all our favorite spring training cliches. We’ll find out who’s in the best shape of their life. We’ll learn which pitchers feel good about how the ball is coming out of their hand. We’ll hear which players have made a few mechanical tweaks that will solve any problems they had last year.

Then we’ll spend the next six months figuring out which of those storylines had any meaning at all. Spoiler: probably very few. But that’s what spring training is all about, isn’t it? Unbridled optimism. The feeling that this is your year. In those early days of spring, when the sky is bright and the grass is green and the smell of baseball is in the air, it seems like anything is possible.

Sometimes that early optimism pans out, as it did last year for the Orioles, who surprised the baseball world by finishing with a winning record and staying in the playoff race until the season’s final weekend. Too often, though, the feel-good vibes of spring are long forgotten when the harsh reality of the regular season rolls in, as the pre-2022 recent O’s clubs were all too aware.

On which side of the spectrum will the 2023 Orioles land? We’ll find out later. For now, let’s bask in the jovial spring atmosphere that the O’s will experience in the coming days.


Baltimore Orioles: Early Report from Spring Training - Eutaw Street Report
ESR contributor Eric Garfield is a frequent visitor to the Orioles’ Sarasota complex, and he’s gotten his eyes on a few O’s players at camp so far, with nothing but glowing things to say about all of them. Somebody’s already been bitten by the spring optimism bug.

Orioles spring training: 5 storylines to watch in Florida - The Athletic
Among other questions, Dan Connolly wonders which journeyman left-handed DH type will crack the Opening Day roster. Why should any of them? Kyle Stowers exists.

A look at how the 2023 Orioles could get off to a fast start - Steve Melewski
As Melewski points out, the O’s have — on paper — an extremely generous schedule to start 2023, as only three of their first 31 games are against teams that had a winning record last year. If the Orioles stumble out of the gates, they’ll only have themselves to blame.

Mullins working to be left with better splits in 2023 - School of Roch
Cedric Mullins’ sharp decline against lefties last year, after hitting them so well in 2021, was one of the bigger mysteries of 2022. Don’t make us ask you to start switch-hitting again, Cedric.

Orioles searching for passionate fans to fill gameday positions -
Hey! Want to work for the Orioles? Check out their job fair tomorrow. They’re currently hiring for event staff, grounds crew, and backup first baseman. (I may have made up that last one.)

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 26th to Ryan McKenna, the only Oriole in history born on Feb. 14. McKenna figures to have a leg up on a roster spot for the 2023 Birds, likely serving in the same role he did last year, coming off the bench to provide speed and outfield defense. Enjoy your day, Ryan!

Valentine’s Day has typically been a slow news day for the Orioles. The last time the O’s made a roster move on this date was in 2020, when they signed veteran left-hander Tommy Milone to a minor league contract, adding to a pile of uninspiring rotation candidates. Not only did Milone make the team, but he ended up being the Orioles’ Opening Day starting pitcher when the pandemic-shortened season finally began July 24. Milone pitched well in six starts and then was traded to the Braves for a couple of minor leaguers.