SARASOTA, Fla.–It was hardly ideal spring training weather for Brandon Hyde’s first genuine day as Baltimore Orioles manager. Until now, Hyde had talked about his team, but hadn’t seen it in action.
The Orioles were supposed to take the field at 10 a.m., but instead had to wait for an hour until the rain subsided. It would rain again later, but Hyde wasn’t going to let that stop the workout as he watched 15 of his 31 pitchers throw bullpen sessions.
First, the pitchers stretched and ran, then tossed to each other. The fields were too wet for the pitchers to run through their drills. Later, they walked over to the bullpen, where six pitching rubbers have been set up for throwing sessions.
While they pitched, new cameras installed to evaluate them recorded their work. The Orioles will need time and evidence to validate their decisions.
Hyde couldn’t say how many pitchers are in competition to join Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb in the starting rotation. If he’s healthy, Nate Karns is expected to join them.
Bundy, Cashner and Karns were among those who threw in front of Hyde.
“I think it’s pretty open,” Hyde said. “It’s a great opportunity for everybody in camp. There’s a lot of jobs to be won. I don’t really anything is set in stone.”
David Hess, who started 19 games for the Orioles last year and is a leader in the battle for the fifth starter’s spot, also threw.
“It’s just going to be a ton of evaluating,” Hyde said.
Hyde, who isn’t short, is impressed with how many tall pitchers he has, noting that Cody Carroll, who is 6 feet 5, really stands out.
“The size that we have in camp is really impressive,” Hyde said. “I know they were itching to throw, and I was just excited to watch them throw.”
While Josh Rogers, John Means, Luis Ortiz, Dillon Tate and Jimmy Yacabonis are considered candidates to make the team, Hunter Harvey, who also threw today, is probably not.
Hyde is hoping that Harvey will get through major league camp healthy.
“We’re going to be careful with him,” Hyde said. “Our number one goal with Hunter is that when we break [training camp] for him to be healthy and ready to start the season. He’s dealt with a lot.”
Richard Bleier, who hasn’t pitched since last June because of lat surgery, also threw, and Hyde pronounced him healthy.
When camp opened on Tuesday, there was a nameplate for Jesus Sucre, but that disappeared a day later. Sucre is being held up in Venezuela because of visa issues.
Hyde isn’t sure when Sucre will arrive, but in the meantime the Orioles added a minor league catcher, Cael Brockmeyer, who signed with the team last month. Hyde and catching coach Tim Cossins are familiar with him because he spent several years in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Hyde hasn’t talked specifics about players, but he has discussed the competition for jobs.
“It’s got to excite them,” Hyde said. “What an incredible opportunity. It’s not like this everywhere. To have the opportunity to win a major league job in front of a new staff, a new front office, I think that’s got to drive them.”