Mountcastle, Martin show versatility; Hyde likes Orioles' condition; Eshelman competing for roster spot -

Spring Training

Mountcastle, Martin show versatility; Hyde likes Orioles’ condition; Eshelman competing for roster spot

Ryan Mountcastle
Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SARASOTA, Florida.-What’s happening? – Manager Brandon Hyde is moving players around on the field in the early days of full-squad workouts. Ryan Mountcastle is taking fly balls in the infield and playing first base, and Richie Martin, who played exclusively at shortstop last year, is working at second base.

“We definitely want to expose [Mountcastle to] the outfield,” Hyde said. “I just want him to be comfortable. He’s going to play outfield during [Grapefruit League] games, so we want to give him a long look. Obviously, we love his offensive potential, and now it’s finding a comfortable position for him to play defensively.”

What’s happened?—Hunter Harvey and Trey Mancini both returned to light activities. They’ve been sidelined by illness.

Hyde has been impressed by his players’ physical condition..

“Guys come into [camp] in shape now,” Hyde said. “But it’s different to put your spikes into dirt and to run bases. You can do sprints and you can run all you want all offseason, but when you’re going 90 feet with a turn, that’s different. You want to get them acclimated as fast as you can.” 

What’s up with?—Tom Eshelman. He was acquired by the Orioles last June from the Philadelphia Phillies for international signing bonus money.

Eshelman was 1-2 with a 6.50 ERA in 10 games, four starts with the Orioles, his first major league stint.

“That was my first [36] days in the big leagues,” Eshelman said. “Everyone goes through a learning experience. Now that I’ve kind of gone through it, it takes some guys a year, and I did 36 days … Now I understand what it takes to pitch in the big leagues.”

He was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, and he’s one of many competing for an Orioles starting job as well as for a starting spot with the Tides.


“Competition creates success,” Eshelman said. “Excited to get this thing rolled.”

Eshelman was drafted by Houston in the second round of the 2015 draft when Orioles general manager Mike Elias was running the draft. He was traded to the Phillies six months later.

What’s what? The Orioles have five guest instructors on the field — Mike Bordick, Jeff Conine, Ben McDonald, Scott McGregor and Brian Roberts.

J.J. Hardy will arrive on March 2.

What’s the word?There are a lot of young guys here, and big arms. I think they’re on the right path, and I’m sure you’ve all been through rebuilds before and you don’t know one way or the other, but I think they’ve got a good chance to do something big.”-Conine on his early impressions of the Orioles. 

What’s the number? 2. That’s the number of days the entire team has been on the field with the first Grapefruit League game on Saturday vs. Atlanta in North Port.

“I think that last day before that first game we’ll be ready to go,” Hyde said. “We still have a lot of work to do and only five days to get these guys in game shape and ready to go compete. You’re concerned about injuries early. I just don’t want anybody to do anything to get themselves injured early, so you try to get them as game-ready as possible. I’m not ready to get excited about the first game, yet.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    February 19, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Mountcastle taking fly balls & playing 1B but he’s gonna play outfield during games…hmm…makes perfect sense to me….go O’s…

  2. Bancells Moustache

    February 19, 2020 at 9:55 am

    For the record, I HATE the idea of putting a defensive liability in the outfield, particularly in right which is the hardest of the three positions to get accustomed to. If a grounder squirts by Mountcastle at third, its a single. If he misplays a ball in right it’s two bags, maybe three. How bad can this guy, drafted as a shortstop no less, really be on the dirt? I don’t like the idea of moving him around, a la Mancini, too much uncertainty which can affect him at the plate as well. Put him somewhere and say “learn to do this”, he WILL get better.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 19, 2020 at 10:56 am

      I dunno BanMo. Seems to me that balls going down the 3B line quite often end up as doubles. That being said, I’d certainly be open to giving him his shot at third. My understanding is that it’s not his glove, but his arm that comes up short at that position. And before mentioning 2nd base, let’s not forget that we have an eye on 2nd base for Sisco do we not? As far as right field goes, I’m set on seeing Santander there every day until he proves he’s not worthy.

      I’m thinking that they’re going to eventually part ways with Mancini and move Mountcastle to 1st anyway. But before that happens, we all know who has to go.

      • Bancells Moustache

        February 19, 2020 at 3:15 pm

        Sisco wearing a Major league uniform at all is still very much up in the air Boogster, especially with the shiny new, Turbo-charged V12 version of a catching prospect walking around Sarasota.

        • Bancells Moustache

          February 19, 2020 at 3:22 pm

          Also, he who shall not be named seems resigned to playing designated hitter this year, presumably because he knows more than we do. A man who slaps 25 pounds of muscle on an already large frame doesn’t seem all that concerned with being nimble moving around first base.

  3. The Cartoon Bird

    February 19, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I hope Eshelman improves and find a way to help the Orioles in 2020. But I’ll never forget last season in Anaheim when he pitched and Jim Palmer saying point black on the MASN broadcast, “this is not major league caliber stuff.”

  4. mlbbirdfan

    February 19, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Please, please don’t ruin Mountcastle…
    Davis – go away!!
    Mancini – play left field
    Mountcastle – learn first base
    There, Brandon Hyde, FTFY

  5. willmiranda

    February 19, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Last spring, in the first year of the new regime, a great deal was made about playing music during
    spring training. What’s the playlist like this year? Or have they gone Trappist?

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      Music is playing, but I will have to pay more attention to it tomorrow.

  6. Orial

    February 19, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Not only finding ABs and a position for Mountcastle they should exploring ways to get Mancini out of the OF. Right now Davis is blocking 1B and Mancini is blocking an OF of Hays Santanderr,Mountcastle,Diaz. Stuck in mud. Why are they grooming Martin for a utility roll when he barely hits .200? Stick him at SS at Norfolk and work on his hitting.

    • ClayDal

      February 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      In defense of Richie Martin, he hit .300 in 2018 at AA. Because of his Rule 5 status, he skipped AAA and had to stay on the Orioles roster all year. He hit better in the second half last year. But this year, he gets to play at AAA where he should have been last year. As far as taking ground balls at 3B, first week of Spring Training. See if he can do it. Can’t hurt

  7. garyintheloo

    February 19, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    There were questions about Mountcastle’s arm at SS on draft night but strong-armed third basemen (see: Machado, Robinson, Schmidt) are legendary. I would still put Mountcastle at 3rd, Mancini at first and consider trade options for both later. I agree with the above that we need the best players in the outfield we can get. How that develops and the continued development of the young pitchers is the only thing to keep me interested this year. BTW, if Sisco can’t catch where does he go?

    • CalsPals

      February 19, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      We’ve been chatting about 2B for Sisco…especially if ever is “earning” their spots…go O’s…

    • chico salmon

      February 19, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      Is 2nd basemen out of the question for Mountcastle? I know you don’t want to jerk him around to all nine positions, but if it’s arm strength, why not second base? Is it all the shifting and the short right field position that a 2nd baseman plays so often now? We are short on talent in middle infield. If the kid can hit, let him workout with BRob at second during camp.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 19, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      Chico, he had issues at short and third, and they think he’ll be fine at first.

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