SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – After signing shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract on Saturday, the Orioles expect him in camp on Tuesday, a day after the first full-squad workout.
When the Orioles play their first game on Saturday against Minnesota, don’t expect to see Mark Trumbo. The designated hitter, who had right knee surgery last September, will probably be held out of the lineup initially, manager Brandon Hyde said.
There hasn’t been much talk about MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s adoption of a 20-second pitch clock, and Hyde hasn’t instructed his pitchers to alter their routines.
“I want guys to do what they do and not worry about speeding things up,” Hyde said. “I’ve never seen it before.”
Many of the younger pitchers have already worked with a clock because it’s in use in some of the minor leagues.
What’s happened?—Two pitchers who could be important pieces for the Orioles, but have had a history of injuries, threw on one of the back fields.
Hunter Harvey, who hasn’t pitched since June 1 because of a shoulder injury, threw six minutes of batting practice instead of the scheduled 12.
Hyde is being careful with Harvey.
“We’re all aware of where he’s been the last few years,” Hyde said. “The challenges he’s faced. We’re just trying to be supportive and try to get him to finish spring training healthy and ready to have a great season.”
Nate Karns, who threw in the same group with Harvey, did go for 12 minutes.
Karns said he was happy with how he threw.
“Definitely, and I think the hitters are, too,” Karns said. “I didn’t hit them, so that was the best thing.”
Karns hasn’t pitched in a major league game since May 2017 and is hoping to bounce back from an elbow injury that sidelined him last season.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been through the ringer a couple of times,” Karns said. “Right now, I feel comfortable with what I’m able to do out there, and I feel like I’m on pace to be where I need to be.”
Hyde spoke with the team before the players took the field but said he didn’t ask for questions.
“I didn’t take any questions because I felt they sat there long enough,” Hyde joked.
What’s up with? Josh Lucas. Lucas went to college in nearby Bradenton at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and pitched 13 games in the last two seasons with St. Louis and Oakland.
He grew up in Lakeland, Fla., about 90 minutes away and lives in Tennessee. The location of spring training was part of the attraction.
“Familiarity with the area, with Triple-A being in Norfolk, it’s only six hours from home,” Lucas said. “Baltimore is only six hours from where I live now. Those are big pluses, too.”
The Orioles were the first team to contact Lucas this offseason.
“I knew there was going to be a lot of competition,” Lucas said. “I wanted to jump in and see what I could do here.”
Lucas was a childhood friend of Trey Mancini, and he encouraged Lucas to sign with the Orioles.
“He keeps telling me it’s first-class,” Lucas said. “They’re going to treat you like a man, treat you like an adult, give you an opportunity to succeed.”
What’s what? – Hyde had hitters take live batting practice on the day of the first full-squad workout.
What’s the word?—“It’s been something every year, so I feel like I’ve been through it every spring training. It’s really just trying to get through the full year.”-Harvey on if this spring training is more important than previous ones.
What’s the number? 37. That’s the number of days until Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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