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  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
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