What’s happening? – The Orioles have yet to see pitcher Matt Harvey on the field. Harvey’s minor league contract became official on Wednesday. On Thursday, manager Brandon Hyde said he isn’t sure what role will fit Harvey best.
“We’re going to see what we have, and see how he looks and keep our options open with him, whether it’s rotation, bullpen,” Hyde said. “Nothing’s set in stone, just going to give him an opportunity to make the team.”
Hyde is also eager to see his new double play combination. Freddy Galvis was signed as a free agent to play shortstop and Yolmer Sánchez, who was claimed on waivers from the Chicago White Sox, will play second base.
“I think we brought Freddy in here to be our shortstop,” Hyde said. “Yolmer’s got a lot of experience at second base and won a Gold Glove. We brought him in there to play a lot.” Hyde also wants to take a look at Jahmai Jones at second.
For now, it seems that Rio Ruiz will be the starting third baseman.
“Rio has been part of our infield the past couple of years, and I’m looking forward to him getting a lot of at-bats this season, also,” Hyde said. “It’s safe to assume that the two guys we brought in, we’d like to see them play up the middle, and Rio’s going to get every opportunity to win the third base job again.”
Hyde saw Galvis early in his career with Philadelphia, and more recently saw him when he was with Toronto in 2019.
“Really solid, really steady,” Hyde said on a Zoom call. “He’s going to make the routine plays, he’s going to drive some balls out of the ballpark. He’s got some raw power — just a guy who’s played in the middle of the field in a lot of games in the big leagues and has up-the-middle experience.”
What’s happened?—Except for Harvey, each Oriole pitcher has thrown a bullpen session in the first two days of camp. Eighteen threw on Wednesday and the other 18 on Thursday.
While position players aren’t scheduled to report until Sunday, Trey Mancini, DJ Stewart and Stevie Wilkerson were early arrivals.
Hyde has kept a close eye on Mancini, who is expected to play first base after missing last season because of colon cancer surgery.
“He looks really good,” Hyde said. “He feels good, driving the baseball on the field today. Took groundballs, did that yesterday and today. He feels fantastic.”
What’s up with? Jahmai Jones was acquired earlier this month from the Los Angeles Angels in the deal that sent starting pitcher Alex Cobb out west.
Hyde likes Jones’ versatility and said he will play second base and the outfield.
“I think we’re going to see him do a little bit of both,” Hyde said. “I’d like to see him a lot at second. I think that’s going to be the main focus, but we know he can play the outfield … I think his primary position in this camp will be second, but I think you will see him in the outfield as well.”
Hyde likes what he’s heard about Jones.
“Excited to have him,” Hyde said. “I talked to some Angels coaches, some of the guys I know over there, They raved about how athletic he is, how much better he got defensively, especially at second base last year, so excited to get him into camp. I’ve never seen him, so he’s going to be a fun guy to watch.”
What’s what? Despite the sport’s obsession with velocity, the Orioles have been open to having pitchers who don’t throw 95 miles per hour.
Pitching coach Chris Holt likes what he saw from changeup artist César Valdez last year and wants to see more of knuckleballer Mickey Jannis. Holt also likes Fernando Abad, who’s in camp on a minor league deal.
“It is nice to have a couple of guys who have to pitch,” Holt said. “I’ve always found it a fun part of the game when guys can pitch and mess with hitter’s timings and do all the things that maybe we traditionally saw more of in the past, especially when I was growing up, watching the game.
“César Valdez, very solid mix with his changeup, can mess with hitter’s timing with command. Frankie Abad, too, another guy who’s going to pitch and change speeds, and then Jannis with his knuckleball, but has other pitches in his mix. We’re very excited to see them in camp.”
What’s the word? “I don’t make that kind of money this year,” Felix Hernández when he was reminded by a questioner that he’s been well compensated in his career.
What’s the number? $1 million will be Hernández’s salary if he makes the Orioles.