Davis impresses Hyde in first batting practice; Mancini, Harvey miss Orioles' workout because of illness; Zastryzny's background - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Davis impresses Hyde in first batting practice; Mancini, Harvey miss Orioles’ workout because of illness; Zastryzny’s background

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? Orioles first baseman Chris Davis considered retiring after last season, but decided to continue playing after conferring with his wife, Jill.

Davis said that she didn’t try to talk him into continuing his career.

“I think once the season ended, and I was able to kind of reassess where I was and look at all the things that I had in front of me and, obviously, having a plan going into the offseason that I felt like was a very calculated and very constructive plan, that gave me motivation,” Davis said.

“The only reason I would walk away, or would have walked away at the end of the season last year is if I physically felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, and that’s not the case.”

Davis added 25 pounds during the offseason and worked out with former Oriole Craig Gentry.

He is entering the fifth year of a seven-year, $161 million contract that he signed in January 2016. His production has declined each season, and the last two have been humbling.

In 2018, Davis hit .168 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs. In 2019, he hit .179 average, with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs. He also played his fewest game since 2011 — 105.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was not aware that Davis mulled his retirement, but he thought Davis had a strong batting practice in Ed Smith Stadium on Monday.

“The ball really came off his bat,” Hyde said. “I talked to him quite a bit in the offseason. He worked really hard in the gym, and in the weight room. He looked great today.”

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What’s happened?— The Orioles conducted their first full-squad workout and the only absentees were outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini and relief pitcher Hunter Harvey, who are both ill.

“Day 1 is always different,” Hyde said. “You have physicals still going on, meetings, introductions. It’s always a later start … It was a really good workday. Guys got a lot out of it, and I think we’re off to a good start.”

The Orioles named Anthony Verni director of corporate partnerships.

What’s up with? – Rob Zastryzny is trying to make the Orioles as a non-roster left-hander. Zastryzny played with the Chicago Cubs in parts of the 2016-2018 seasons, and signed with the Orioles because of his familiarity with Hyde and catching coach Tim Cossins.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Zastryzny’s family moved to Texas when he was a child.

Zastryzny did play hockey as a child in the hotbed of Corpus Christi, Texas. “We got the ice once a week,” Zastryzny said. “We played one tournament a month, and my parents saw the writing on the wall.”

The 27-year-old played on Canada’s national team in the offseason and hopes to play for his native country in the World Baseball Classic a year from now.

Even though he’s an American citizen, Zastryzny was homeschooled with a Canadian curriculum.

“I learned Canadian geography and Canadian history before I learned American,” Zastryzny said. “I always had a part of me that’s Canadian, even though I grew up as an American.”

What’s what Twenty-nine of 33 Orioles Grapefruit League games will be broadcast by MASN, 105.7 The Fan or streamed on Orioles.com.

Seven will be on MASN, 11 on 105.7 and 13 will be streamed on Orioles.com/At Bat.

MLB Network will show the February 24 game with the Philadelphia Phillies at Clearwater. The Phillies’ feed will be shown.

The only games not to be broadcast in any form are three road split-squad games on February 25 (Boston), March 14 (Atlanta) and March 21 (Boston).

What’s the word?  “I put it in a safe, and it stays in there. The location of that safe is private, and no one will ever find out.”-Zastryzny on what he did with the World Series ring he earned with the Cubs in 2016.

What’s the number? 5. It’s only five days until the first Grapefruit League opener against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park in North Port.

Hyde is lining up pitchers and scheduling at-bats for early exhibition games. He’s contemplating intrasquad games later this week. Last year, Hyde declined to schedule intrasquad games, which were always a staple of Buck Showalter’s camps.

“We’re still sorting through our pitching,” Hyde said.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 18, 2020 at 8:15 am

    “The ball really came off his bat,” Hyde said.
    .
    Does this mean he actually swings the bat in BP?

    • CalsPals

      February 18, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      He looked great…today…ringing endorsement…go O’s…

  2. bmoreloud

    February 18, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Davis showing up in shape is expected for a player the team invested so much money. Being able to hit during BP is also expected. I’ll be impressed when he goes for a whole season leading the team in hitting, also expected.

  3. Calvin95

    February 18, 2020 at 8:27 am

    I’m going to try and keep a positive attitude and I hope he will too.

  4. Orial

    February 18, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Well I said I wasn’t gonna talk about Davis anymore but Rich you had to go and do this. Davis’ wife talked him out of retirement?–I knew I didn’t like her(only kidding),Davis said he’ll quit when he physically can’t do it anymore?–Davis you can’t do it anymore. Sad thing is is that if he gets off to a decent start all it will do is hold up Mountcastle and that “1B/DH/Mancini out of RF” logjam. Nice guy but I’m sadly rooting against ya.

  5. NormOs

    February 18, 2020 at 8:36 am

    I didn’t realize Hyde was so easy to impress. On the other hand, Hyde is the first and probably the only person the “K Man” has impressed in years. Probably you naysayers will say, “He has to say that”……..you’re probably right!

  6. Tony Paparella

    February 18, 2020 at 8:42 am

    It does say Davis put on 25 pounds does it not? That kind of baffles me though it may mean more added muscle. I don’t believe more muscle is the problem though but I guess we will see what happens.

  7. Frank Howard LF-1B

    February 18, 2020 at 9:50 am

    The new bulked-up C. Davis is a story because it is a RADICAL change. Not sure it will work, but it is RADICAL. Very refreshing.

    Wish my other sports team would do something radical — Yes, that one, with the Bald, Clueless Head Coach, a expensive, non-productive roster, and the team in glorious freefall. Only makes me more interested in Baseball! The Orioles! Heck, even the NATS are more interesting than that team that uses sticks and has an absolute moron Head Coach.

    Saturday’s Orioles vs. Braves game can’t get here fast enough. Go Orioles!

    • Raymo

      February 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm

      On behalf of other bald, clueless guys… How dare you sir?

  8. willmiranda

    February 18, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    If Davis has gained 25 pounds, what are his current height and weight? I consider these important statistics for athletes and am miffed that the media, which once were very free with them, now seem to conceal them as a matter of principle.

  9. WorldlyView

    February 18, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Rich is a much kinder person than I. He characterized Chris Davis’s last two seasons’ performances as “humbling.” I would use a much more unflattering adjective.

  10. Borg

    February 18, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    When has Davis ever sounded “humbled”? All he talks about is all of the work he put in during the offseason, as if that is something over and above what any athlete might do. For the money he is stealing, he better do something. This will go down as the absolutely worst contract ever in baseball history. Maybe they can put Davis’ checkbook in the HOF.

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