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
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