SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – The Orioles will take the field later this morning for their first full-squad workout of the spring. They hope that shortstop Alcides Escobar will arrive in time. He’d be the 60th player in camp. Right-handed pitcher Gregory Infante (illness) and Jesus Sucre (visa) remain in Venezuela.
The first Grapefruit League game is Saturday, when the Minnesota Twins come to Sarasota. Manager Brandon Hyde is in the process of setting up pitching for the first handful of spring games.
Hyde isn’t close to deciding who will start the March 28 opener and says that he’s not even sure who will be on the club a month from now.
What’s happened?—Four more position players reported. Infielders Hanser Alberto, Steve Wilkerson and outfielder Eric Young Jr. arrived Sunday morning. Infielder Jonathan Villar came after the workout.
Position players were required to arrive on Sunday.
What’s up with? – Chris Lee. He’s in his third major league camp with the Orioles, and after injuries and ineffectiveness marred his last three seasons, he’s trying to impress a new manager and pitching coach.
Last year, Lee was just 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 18 games with Triple-A Norfolk, Double-A Bowie and Gulf Coast. He started three games for the Tides and pitched in relief 10 times for the Baysox.
Lee has been on the 40-man roster in the past, but he’s now trying to make the team as a non-roster left-hander.
“You can always get back on it,” Lee said about the 40-man. “Stay healthy. That’s the main thing…I can play any role. Starter or reliever, it doesn’t matter. I’m ready to just be out there, get on a mound with the ball in my hand.”
What’s what? – The Orioles have 58 lockers in their main clubhouse and room for additional players in an auxiliary clubhouse that’s off-limits to the media.
Former manager Buck Showalter would try to avoid using the auxiliary clubhouse except for minor league players who were added for as extras for Grapefruit League games.
Last year, the Orioles needed that space when the camp roster reached 64 at one point.
Infielder Jack Reinheimer is the only player using the auxiliary locker room now, and another player will join him when Escobar reports.
What’s the word? – “I’m not promising anything to anybody at this point, right? For me, this is a competition. We’ve created a competitive feel here at camp. That’s what it’s going to be for the next six weeks or so.”-Hyde on whether the Orioles can guarantee playing time to anyone.
What’s the number? 10. That’s the number of gloves utility player Steve Wilkerson jokingly said he brought to Orioles camp. Perhaps he brought seven—or even more.
“A couple outfield gloves, a few infield gloves, a first baseman’s mitt, a catcher’s mitt maybe. I’ve got them all covered,” Wilkerson said.
In 16 games last season with the Orioles, Wilkerson played second base, shortstop and third base.