Kevin Millwood spent a large part of the morning talking to Brad Bergesen at his locker. Millwood’s locker is situated between Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.
Let the veteran influence begin.
Matusz and Tillman played catch after the pre-workout stretch. As if you were expecting anything different.
Felix Pie said he’s more comfortable around his teammates this spring compared to last year, when he arrived late because of visa issues in the Dominican.
“It feels more like home,” he said.
Pitching coach Rick Kranitz endorses Koji Uehara’s conversion to a relief role.
“He’s got experience in the bullpen. He’s had closing experience in Japan,” Kranitz said.
“The guy, to me, is a bullpen guy. He’s uses two pitches and his command is so good. He puts guys away with his command and he puts guys away with his split. If he’s throwing anything like he threw last year, he’ll be a huge help to us, wherever it may be. Whether it’s two or three innings here or maybe to give J.J. (Jim Johnson) a blow in the eighth or, you never know, maybe (Mike) Gonzalez gets to the point where he needs a day off. He can fill a number of roles for us.
“The one thing that we found out last year was that once he went around the lineup one time, teams started to kind of figure him out a little bit. When you’re a two-pitch guy, they tend to maybe sit on one pitch or the other. When his command was as good as it was, it didn’t matter. There were games when it just didn’t matter, the way he threw the baseball. But we’d be very comfortable putting him in any part of the game because of how successful he was as a starter. This guy was one of the best starters in Japan for a lot of years. I can’t wait to see him throw because I want to see where he’s at.”
Kranitz will get that chance tomorrow when Uehara takes the mound.
“Tomorrow will tell a lot for me, how the ball’s coming out of his hand,” Kranitz said. “That’s the first test for me. And we’re not going to tax him. We can give him plenty of days to recover.”
Manager Dave Trembley spoke earlier today about the team trying to “reciprocate in this community maybe more than we’ve done in the past.” Here are some upcoming examples:
February 26 - An Orioles player and the Oriole Bird will appear at the Ripken Baseball Opening Day festivities, starting at approximately 6:00 p.m.
March 1- The Orioles will host children from area Boys and Girls Clubs for their intrasquad scrimmage at Ed Smith Stadium. Donations will be accepted at ballpark entry gates, with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club. After the scrimmage, Boys and Girls Club members will participate in an on-field clinic conducted by Orioles players and staff. Players will provide instruction in hitting, pitching and fielding for the youth.
March 6 - Orioles players will partner with Easter Seals Southwest Florida and participate in arts and crafts projects with several local children with disabilities as part of Project Rainbow Children’s Respite Care.
March 10 - Orioles players will visit with sick children in the Sarasota Memorial Hospital pediatric unit at 1:00 p.m.
March 13 - The Sarasota Challenger League will play a game on the main field at Ed Smith Stadium. Orioles players will participate and serve as helpers for the game.
OriolesREACH will host 100 disadvantaged children at each of several home games this spring as part of their Gameday Experience Program. Participants will receive a ticket to that day’s game, an Orioles hat and concessions vouchers.
More details will be announced as the dates approach