SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – Chris Davis is eager to get on the field after reporting early for spring training. He hopes to get back to work today after coming down with the flu and bronchitis after arriving last Sunday.
Davis said he’s been diligent in his offseason work after an abysmal 2018. He hit .168 and stuck out 192 times in 128 games during the 115-loss season.
“I think anytime you are successful at the highest level, when you’re going through tough times, when you’re struggling, there’s always going to be a voice questioning, ‘Did he work? Did he do this?’” Davis said.
“I think that’s just kind of part of it. To me, the biggest thing that bothered me the way it was handled last year was I felt like, as far as our team was concerned, we were just kind of hanging on for dear life at the time and that really showed. Personally, I think it really showed how disconnected and just how far apart we were in the clubhouse. That was frustrating to me because I didn’t want any of the guys in the clubhouse to feel like I wasn’t pulling my weight.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has had discussions with Davis but hasn’t talked specifics.
“I haven’t talked to him about a comeback or a bounce-back year or anything like that, mainly his comfort level,” Hyde said. “I want him to feel good about being on the field. I want him to feel like this camp is going to go well for him. He’s done it before. He’s done a lot of really good things. I just want him to feel like we’re behind him and supporting him.”
The first Grapefruit League game is a week from today against the Minnesota Twins.
What’s happened?—More position players reported. Outfielders Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, Joey Rickard and Anthony Santander arrived, as did utility player Jace Peterson.
All took batting practice as Hyde watched.
Tom Giordano, who as scouting director for the Orioles, drafted Cal Ripken Jr., died Thursday at 93. Giordano worked for the Orioles from 1976-87 and was still working as a scout for the Atlanta Braves at the time of his death.
What’s up with? –Bo Schultz is trying to make the Orioles as a non-roster spring training invite. Schultz, 33, has a 4.54 ERA in 51 major league games with Arizona and Toronto from 2014-16.
Schultz went to Dallas’ Highland Park High School and was a senior when Clayton Kershaw and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was a sophomore.
The right-hander also considered a career in journalism when he enrolled at Northwestern’s Medill School.
Schultz missed the 2017 season with Tommy John surgery and was with the Pittsburgh organization last year.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to play in the AL East, you’re in a premier division,” Schultz said. “There’s a lot of good opportunity here. Anytime there’s a lot of turnover, front office, coaching, players, there’s one: opportunity, but two: a good place, I guess not have to fight yourself in, just kind of jump in with everyone else because everyone else is new, too.”
What’s what? – Another change that Hyde has introduced is having most players take batting practice in Ed Smith Stadium instead of on the back fields.
The catchers take batting practice after they’re finished catching bullpens on one of the back fields.
In the past, the only drill conducted in the stadium was a popup exercise with pumped-in crowd noise designed to distract the fielders. An occasional intrasquad game was played in the stadium, but in recent years, those were conducted on the back fields.
What’s the word? – “The guys that see me, day-in and day-out, have a lot better feel for what’s going on than our fans do when they only get a little glimpse of us between 7 and 10 o’clock at night or whatever it is, whatever time the game is that day. But I don’t think there’s a whole lot to prove to the guys in the clubhouse.”-Chris Davis on whether he needs to show the Orioles’ new management he can still perform
What’s the number? 8. –That’s the unofficial number of position players yet to report. Position players don’t have to report until Sunday, and most are on hand. Hanser Alberto, Yusniel Diaz, Ryan Mountcastle, Jack Reinheimer, DJ Stewart, Jonathan Villar, Steve Wilkerson and Eric Young Jr. haven’t been spotted in the clubhouse, although that could change today. Jesus Sucre is still in Venezuela because of visa issues.