SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – Yefry Ramirez will start today against the Minnesota Twins in the Orioles’ first Grapefruit League game. Other pitchers scheduled are Josh Rogers, Mike Wright, Paul Fry, Evan Phillips, Bo Schultz and Zach Pop.
Ramirez and Rogers are candidates to start this season, but manager Brandon Hyde said that he hasn’t gotten far enough to consider whether they could be starters or relievers.
“I think we’re just trying to evaluate them because we’re not really sure, yet,” Hyde said. “We haven’t seen these guys throw to hitters in a game…only watched the video stuff, seen numbers. I think we’re going to try to make the best decision for each guy, whether it’s starting or reliever. This is really going to be an evaluation period, the next month.”
The Orioles will be facing a Twins split squad because Minnesota will play a home night game against Tampa Bay. Former Orioles Nelson Cruz and Jonathan Schoop will not make the trip to Sarasota.
As a first-time major league manager, Hyde hasn’t had to give signs to a third base coach. He also has no American League experience.
“I’m just going to be throwing myself into the American League,” Hyde said. “I don’t have a great grasp of teams in our division and the other American League teams up to this point. I will, for sure. I’m going to work my rear off to be as prepared as I possibly can, learn along the way. That’s what I’ve always done, throw myself into it.”
Hyde will consider not pitching starters against American League East opponents during Grapefruit League.
“I don’t want a team to see them too much,” Hyde said. “But I also want them to get game experience. You want them to pitch in the big league stadium, and you want them to have the feeling of what it’s like, but at the same time, I don’t want to expose our guys to them too many times.”
David Hess will start Sunday against Toronto.
What’s happened?— Hyde conducted his shortest workout of spring training. Everyone was off the field by 10:30.
He likes the atmosphere over the last 10 days.
“I knew at FanFest that we had a bunch of guys that were really ready to go and wanted to turn the page on some things,” Hyde said. “I want to get the culture right. I want to get a great feel with our guys in the clubhouse.”
Infielder Hanser Alberto, who was designated for assignment when left-handed pitcher Josh Ostich was claimed on waivers from San Francisco, was claimed on waivers by the Giants.
Richard Bleier threw batting practice in Ed Smith Stadium, but he hasn’t been scheduled for a game.
The Orioles will honor the late Frank Robinson on Opening Day with a moment of silence and a video tribute at the April 4 home opener against the New York Yankees.
The Orioles Charitable Foundation will donate $60,000 to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture in Baltimore, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington.
“Throughout his 50-year career in professional baseball, Frank Robinson blazed a trail for the African-American players, coaches, managers, and executives who followed in his footsteps,” said John Angelos, Orioles executive vice president. “In honor of his tireless commitment to civil rights issues – including his efforts to improve housing opportunities for African Americans here in Baltimore – the Orioles will partner with three remarkable institutions that highlight the achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history.”
Earlier in the week, the Orioles announced plans to wear a “20” patch on their jerseys throughout Grapefruit League home games and regular-season games. A banner with a “20” will be displayed at the warehouse. A black band on the No. 20, representing Robinson’s number on the upper-deck façade in left field, will also be displayed this season.
A celebration of Robinson’s life, open to the public, will also be held in April at a time to be announced.
What’s up with?—Zach Vincej. He’s a 27-year-old infielder with 13 major league at-bats over the last two seasons with Cincinnati and Seattle. He plays second, short and third, and his name is pronounced “Vin-cie” with a silent j.
Vincej chuckled when asked how many of his teammates could pronounce his name. “I think it’s getting more and more each day,” he said. “Just from people asking and hearing about it. Probably the first day, just a couple of guys based on who I played with.”
Hyde calls him “Vin” or “V.” He asked Vincej if he had a nickname, and the answer was: “Just make it easy with a Vinnie or a Vin or a V, whatever.”
What’s what? A Sarasota branch of Boog’s BBQ will debut today, and Boog Powell will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs. Boog’s BBQ, which debuted along with Oriole Park in 1992, will be open for all spring training home games at Ed Smith Stadium. It’s located in the left-field pavilion.
Powell had long wanted to bring his popular pit beef, turkey and pulled pork sandwiches to spring training. He’s shocked at how popular his stand has become.
“I had no idea, and had no way of knowing,” Powell said. “I’ve been doing this my whole life, and it’s really all that I knew how to do.”
What’s the word? “I don’t feel that way. I feel like we’re going to go out and compete and get the best 25 guys and try to win every single night.”-Hyde on why he’s going to avoid using the term ‘rebuilding.’
What’s the number? 2,900. That’s the number of sandwiches Boog Powell and his son, J.W., sold on the first day of Boog’s BBQ in 1992.
“I was there every day,” Powell said. “I signed autographs every day, and I was nice to people every day. I welcomed them to the ballpark regardless of how the team was doing. It was a tough job last year, by the way.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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