SARASOTA—The Orioles have three games left before Grapefruit League play ends on Monday, and they still have 44 players on the roster. Two, John Means and Dillon Tate, are heading for the 15-day injured list.
That means that 16 players must be removed from the roster. Relief pitcher Mychal Givens has a sore left knee and could join Means and Tate on the injured list.
Manager Brandon Hyde didn’t think there would be any cuts on Saturday.
“We’ll probably wait until the end on a lot of them,” Hyde said.
There’s no question the Orioles have better players than they did a year ago.
“We’re more talented than ever before since I’ve been here,” Hyde said. “It’s going to be hard decisions across the board.”
Last year, when the Orioles increased their win total from 52 to 83, they still used 58 players, four short of the franchise record 62 used in 2021.
Many of those players who have already been sent to minor league camp, and many who will be optioned to the minor leagues or reassigned within the next few days will play for the 2023 Orioles at some point.
“Even the guys that don’t break with us, upper-level minor league guys, there’s a lot of excitement about the talent that we have,” Hyde said.
He has told those who haven’t made the Orioles that they can contribute to the team’s success this year.
“That’s what you hope guys take when they don’t make the team,” Hyde said. “The door’s not closed. There’s going to be a ton of opportunity throughout the season. Things can change. It happens so fast. You just want to make sure you remind them to stay ready, to have the right mindset, to go down there to prove that you should be in the big leagues and you’re as prepared as possible when your name’s called because you absolutely never know.
“It’s happened every year with us. Guys have gotten opportunities and stuck for the rest of the season. You remind them of that. It’s frustrating at first … A lot of things can happen.”
Givens waits: Givens, who hasn’t pitched since March 16th because of the sore knee, wants to avoid the 15-day injured list.
“[Time] will tell,” Givens said. “Throughout my career I haven’t been hurt or been on the [injured list.] I’m still taking it day-by-day, just making sure everything’s good,” Givens said.
Givens played catch on Friday, and he’s not sure what the next step is. Hyde would like to see Givens get at least one session on the back fields before the team breaks camp.
“Seeing myself build back up because I haven’t done much,” Givens said. “Just get in a rhythm … Getting the reps in is what I need. Even in a back-field game, if I can get a couple of more outings just to get myself back in a rhythm. That’s what spring training’s for, to get us ready for the season, to get more outings and be in game mode.
“It’s tough. My last outing was real frustrating. Even though it was good, it was tough getting over my front leg. It was really frustrating because I [haven’t] dealt with a lot of injuries in my career. I want to continue that and be able to not go on the [injured list] and do what’s best for the team and best for myself.”
The 32-year-old Givens, who returned to the Orioles in December as a free agent, joked about the cause of the injury.
“I think old age,” he said.