Orioles welcome back Hardy and Conine as guest instructors; Kline survives waiver wire; Cervenkas aren't related - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles welcome back Hardy and Conine as guest instructors; Kline survives waiver wire; Cervenkas aren’t related

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening? – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t know former Oriole shortstop J.J. Hardy, but he’s heard a lot about him.

“As soon as I got here last year,” Hyde said. “People were coming up to me a lot and saying how impactful J.J. Hardy was.”

Hardy will be one of six guest instructors for the Orioles in spring training. Hardy will join Scott McGregor, Mike Bordick, Brian Roberts, Jeff Conine and Ben McDonald when he arrives in camp on March 2.

Hardy was with the Orioles from 2011-2017.

“Anybody that’s been around him talked really highly of his character and what kind of a player and person he was,” Hyde said. “It’s going to be a big addition to our camp.”

Hyde already knows Bordick, McDonald, McGregor and Roberts. He also knows Conine, who hasn’t been with the Orioles since 2006. Conine worked for the Marlins when Hyde was in that organization.

“He was always in spring training with us, in uniform,” Hyde said. “Niner, he’s a blue-collar, such a good player, but he brings a lot of knowledge in the game … He played for a long time on good clubs. I think you’re bringing in a guy that was a winning player into camp here.”

Who’s back? Pitcher Branden Kline is back with the Orioles after a week in limbo just before spring training. He was designated for assignment when infielder Pat Valaika was added to the 40-man roster.

Kline is with the Orioles as a non-roster player, just like last year. He was taken by surprise when the Orioles took him off the 40-man roster. He passed through waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.


“I’m not going to lie, I was a little shocked, a little surprised,” Kline said. “Being so close to camp, I was getting ready to come down here, and then I got the phone call. A little stunned, but after taking time to reflect on it, I know … [general manager] Mike Elias and everybody are doing the best that they can for the organization.”

Kline wasn’t certain if another team would claim him on waivers.

“The hardest thing for me was just, ‘Hey, spring training is in a week, and I don’t know if I’ll go to Florida, if I’ll go to Arizona, if I’ll go anywhere. It was a little nerve-wracking.

“Once I found out that I cleared waivers and I was able to still come here, I was excited. I’m still fortunate to be with this organization and just competing.”

What’s happened?— Pitchers Mychal Givens and Hunter Harvey joined catcher Pedro Severino on the sick list. Givens and Harvey reported they weren’t feeling well, and were sent home.

Left-hander Tommy Milone was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp on Friday. The camp roster is 68.

Hyde said that adding another potential starter wouldn’t affect the innings given to younger pitchers.

“It’s all the same,” Hyde said. “Nothing’s changed from anybody else. We added a starter to try and win a job out of spring training, and the plan for everybody else stays exactly the same.” 

What’s up with? Hunter Cervenka is a left-hander trying to win a job in the Orioles’ bullpen. Cervenka is one of eight non-roster left-handers jockeying for a spot.

He was 1-0 with a 4.69 ERA in 73 games with Atlanta and Miami in 2016 and 2017. In nine late-season games with Norfolk last season, Cervenka had a 2.25 ERA and re-signed with the Orioles after the season.

“The opportunities are pretty much unlimited here,” Cervenka said. “And I like what they’re doing. They’re trying to build something good, and I’d like to be a part of it.”

Cervenka isn’t related to minor league catcher Martin Cervenka, a native of the Czech Republic, although he’s asked about it often. Hunter Cervenka lives in Texas.

“I’m not sure when our family decided to come to Texas,” Cervenka said. “I’m sure if we did some family lineage, there would be something there.”

What’s what? – In advance of Milone’s arrival, Chandler Shepherd, who pitched in five games for the Orioles last season, had to move his locker to the auxiliary clubhouse. Non-roster infielder Malquin Canelo had his locker moved there to make room for infielder Ramón Urias.

What’s the word? “We’re hand sanitizing everywhere and talked a lot ab out good hygiene. It’s one of those things that happened in camp where one guy gets a little sick and it spreads. We’re hopefully trying to stop it there.”-Hyde on the spate of illnesses in spring training.

What’s the number? 7. That’s been a popular number here lately, but it is just seven days between now and the beginning of the Grapefruit League season on February 22 when the Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




    February 15, 2020 at 8:41 am

    I must say that I am pleased Elias & Hyde are bringing back some ex-O’s to be instructors. Even though a team is rebuilding, it does not mean that all ties with the history of a team must be broken.

  2. willmiranda

    February 15, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Fascinating how guys on the bubble have such nice things to say about Elias. Sweet!

  3. jimcarter

    February 15, 2020 at 10:37 am

    The guest instructor thing is far from new. Did everyone miss the stories about Surhoff getting the boot from Elias?

  4. jimr62

    February 15, 2020 at 11:05 am

    The BJ Surhoff thing is sour grapes. Elias makes decisions based upon groups of his people’s opinions. In their opinion BJ wasn’t an asset. I worked at an privately owned Commercial HVAC company for over 20 years doing load calculations. Ownership changed and I was one of a few let go. I didn’t take it personally and trash the company. I moved on to another. They actually did me a favor as I actually found out what my real worth / value was.

    I haven’t seen Jim Palmer’s name as a spring coach. I know he was dealing with some health issues. He has been active on twitter so I assumed he was healthy. Having JJ Hardy and Jeff Conine back instructing is gold. Both were consummate Professionals with a wealth of knowledge to share. Ben McDonald was a surprise to me as I thought he would be busy researching College baseball rosters for his NCAA Baseball telecast.

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