Anthony Santander, one of two Orioles who hadn’t worked out with the team since it resumed training on July 3rd, rejoined the club on Tuesday, manager Brandon Hyde said. Santander sat in the dugout for Tuesday night’s intrasquad game at Camden Yards.
Santander and another outfielder, Dwight Smith Jr., hadn’t participated in any of the summer training as the Orioles prepare for a 60-game season that starts on July 24th. Spring training was halted on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Orioles had said they wouldn’t announce if any of their players had Covid-19, and Hyde declined to elaborate on the reason for Santander’s absence. Hyde isn’t sure whether there’s enough time for Santander to be ready to start the 2020 season.
“We’re going to try our best,” Hyde said in a video conference call on Tuesday.
“We’re going to watch him on the field for a couple of days. I’m going to have him face as much live pitching as possible. I have concerns about soft-tissue stuff. We have to get him on the bases. We need to get him reps in the outfield.”
Santander had a strong year in 2019, hitting .261 with 20 home runs and 59 RBIs.
“I think Tony’s a big part of our team,” Hyde said. “He’s a middle-of the-order hitter for us. We’re going to try to get ready as quickly as we possibly can.”
The Orioles were busy Tuesday, moving players in and out, optioning pitcher Hector Velázquez to the Bowie alternate site and adding right-hander Dean Kremer to the player pool. He reported to the Bowie camp, which had its first workout.
Catchers Taylor Davis, Adley Rutschman, left-hander Keegan Akin and right-handers Michael Baumann, Isaac Mattson and Chandler Shepherd have moved to Prince George’s Stadium.
Shepherd was the only one of the six who reported to Baltimore for the initial camp.
Infielder Richie Martin, who’s scheduled for surgery on his broken right wrist on Wednesday, was taken off the 60-man player pool when he was placed on the 60-day injured list.
Hyde said that outfielder Yusniel Diaz is also a contender to be added to the Bowie group.
There are 53 players in the 60-man pool and 37 players on the 40-man roster.
Hyde said that Kremer could be joining the Orioles for some starts later this season.
“I was really impressed with him in spring training,” he said. “He only had a few Triple-A starts. This year is obviously a lot different. There’s no Triple-A season. We’d love to see him get some experience there. There’s a chance he could pitch up here sometime this summer.”
Three catchers? The Orioles will have a 30-man roster when the season starts, and it’s possible the Orioles could carry a third catcher.
The team will also have a three-man taxi squad, and one of those players must be a catcher.
Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns are the three catchers on the 40-man roster. Bryan Holaday, who is not on the roster, is also in camp.
“I think there’s a possibility of us carrying a third catcher,” Hyde said. “With a 30-man roster, it obviously becomes a little bit easier. It’s going to depend on how our roster shapes up at the end of this. I feel like 10 days is still a long way away and a short one, also. Anything can happen in these 10 days.”
Wynns has played 70 games with the Orioles, hitting .239
“Every year is huge,” Wynns said. “Every year. For everyone, you can’t take anything for granted. Each year you’ve got to take it in stride. You have to improve. You have to be better and make adjustments. This game is built on adjustments, physically, mentally you have to be there. It’s a huge part of the game.”
Milone looks strong: Left-hander Tommy Milone retired 15 of 16 batters in Monday night’s intrasquad game. He’s contending for a spot in the starting rotation.
“Until I’m told that I have a spot, I have to assume I’m still competing,” Milone said.
“I went out there and felt pretty good [Monday] night. That’s one of the things I really can’t control, when they tell me, or if they tell me, whether it’s today or a few days … The only thing I can control is going out there and pitching, What I’ve been trying to do is leave little doubt in their mind [of] me being in that rotation.”
At 33, with nine major league seasons, Milone wasn’t afraid that the end of spring training could limit his chances to extend his big league career.
“I felt like being a veteran guy kind of helped me a little bit,” said Milone, who has compiled a 50-47 record. “My track record can kind of speak for itself. For the most part, I feel like I’ve been a somewhat consistent pitcher throughout my career.”
Milone and Wade LeBlanc, who also appears to be in line for a starting spot, are on minor league contracts and have to be added to the 40-man roster.
Intrasquad wrapup: John Means pitched five innings for the home Orioles in their 7-3 win in Tuesday night’s intrasquad game that ended when Means reached his pitch count in the top of the fifth with none out.
Hunter Harvey, Miguel Castro, Eric Hanhold and Branden Kline faced Means and practiced extra-inning situational drills. A runner began each inning on second base with none out.
Dilson Herrera hit a three-run home run off Harvey.
Hyde said there would be a workout that concentrates on defense Wednesday morning with lots of live at-bats in the afternoon.
For the final three days of intrasquad games, beginning Thursday, the Orioles are going to use the scoreboard to better replicate games.