SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? –General manager Mike Elias walks around the fields, watching batting practice and fielding drills. Elias, who was the Houston Astros scouting director, wore a shirt that read “O’s scouting” on Thursday.
Elias chats often with manager Brandon Hyde, and he pulled aside pitching coach Doug Brocail and minor league pitching coordinator Chris Holt to talk at length.
“We’re all evaluating,” Hyde said. “He’s very, very hands-on, which is fantastic. He wants to really get a look at our players before games start.”
Hyde feels comfortable with Elias.
“Through the interview process, I felt it right away,” Hyde said. “I felt that we thought along the same lines about a lot of things. That’s definitely been true as we’ve gone forward.”
Hyde has spoken with Chris Davis about his schedule. They’ve tentatively mapped out how often Davis will play in the first 10-to-12 games.
“He knows himself better than I do,” Hyde said. “Guys that have had multiple big league camps, they have a pretty good feel of the at-bats they need.”
Hyde will give the Orioles an abbreviated workday today, one day before the Grapefruit League schedule begins.
What’s happened?—Hunter Harvey threw two rounds of batting practice on the Camden Yards South field, throwing about 35 pitches.
“That was impressive,” Hyde said. “Healthy, that’s the number one thing. Stuff was electric. A lot of chatter around the cage about his stuff. Off to a great start with him. The main thing is his health. He came off the mound feeling great. Real positive for sure.”
Trey Mancini joked with Harvey in between rounds of batting practice, telling him to keep doing what he was doing.
In Harvey’s first batting practice session, he was limited to one round.
Josh Ostich, who was claimed on waivers from the San Francisco Giants, arrived in camp. Ostich is the fifth left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster, joining Richard Bleier, Paul Fry, Donnie Hart and Tanner Scott.
“I’ve never seen that before,” Ostich said. “It’s good. Let’s go for it.”
Ostich is one of the few big leaguers from Idaho.
“I’m not sure I know anybody else from there,” he joked.
Nick Cafardo, longtime baseball writer for The Boston Globe died Thursday at 62. He was covering Boston Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. Cafardo’s Sunday notes column was outstanding, and he will be missed by readers and colleagues.
What’s up with?—Rio Ruiz. He was Elias’ first addition to the major league roster on Dec. 10, when he was claimed on waivers from Atlanta.
Primarily a third baseman, Ruiz can also play first. In a pinch, he can move to left and right field.
In 72 games over the last three seasons with the Braves, Ruiz batted .189 with four home runs and 21 RBIs.
Ruiz was drafted by Elias for the Houston Astros in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Ruiz said. “Especially knowing Mr. Elias. Definitely was happy about it.”
What’s what? Another difference in camp is Hyde’s adoption of a relay drill. He placed cones on one of the fields and had groups of four fielders lined up, trying to throw the ball quickly to each other.
“We’ve been harping so much on our defense and catching the ball and understanding the importance of hitting the guy in the chest,” Hyde said.
“It’s one of those drills you do in your baseball camp when you’re 10 years old. I’m a big believer in the fundamentals, and a big believer in breaking it down to make it basic and fun at the same time, so that drill eventually over camp accelerates. We play for some dinners. We have teams…We have a stopwatch. We have coaches involved. It becomes a fun thing for the camp.”
What’s the word? “He’s really easy to talk to. It’s a good relationship. We’re really honest, and we talk a lot about the team, about how things are going. I’ve been really impressed about his way.”-Hyde on his rapport with Elias.
What’s the number? 10. That’s the number of players who have worn No. 35 since Mike Mussina left the Orioles after the 2000 season.
Ostich has been assigned 35, as was Hanser Alberto, who was designated for assignment when Ostich was claimed. Brad Brach wore the number for the past five seasons.