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.”
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.