Pitcher Mark Worrell, who had his contract purchased earlier today from Triple-A Norfolk, is the 900th player to wear the Orioles’ uniform. And I don’t mean this season.
Worrell is here for as long as Alfredo Simon remains on the restricted list. The Orioles hope that Simon returns for tomorrow night’s game.
Cesar Izturis is a little sore today, according to manager Buck Showalter, so his injury rehab assignment has been pushed back from Wednesday to Friday. Izturis could report to the Gulf Coast League team. That detail is still being worked out.
Second baseman Brian Roberts had an encouraging day, reporting that he felt good after fielding ground balls, taking batting practice off a coach and running sprints.
Closer Kevin Gregg is starting his suspension tonight. It’s believed that his punishment has been reduced from four to three games.
Gregg will pitch a simulated game tomorrow to stay sharp.
Here’s more from the J.J. Hardy press conference:
“It’s tough to talk to J.J. a whole lot after all these compliments,” Showalter said. “It’s really hard to find a negative. We have people that make their teammates better. I think that’s the big compliment. I think the biggest compliment that I’ve ever paid players is that they’re a baseball player, somebody you can trust. I think the word to describe J.J. is ‘sincere.’ Whether the team needs him to hit first or ninth or eighth or seventh, or whatever’s best, I think there’s a trust on both sides of that. Coming in every day and seeing him as a part of what we’re trying to do here, and at a young age he’s established himself as a piece to what we’re trying to do here, and he’s got to have help. We’ve got some people who are and can be. It’s just real comforting to me as a manager to know that that’s one less thing that we have to be worried about, and I appreciate Peter (Angelos), us being able to do this and the work that Andy (MacPhail) and his staff did to get it done.”
There was obvious trade interest in Hardy.
“If you look at rosters, there are several contending teams that probably would be happy to upgrade at that position,” MacPhail said. “There was legitimate interest. Plus, we looked forward and looked at the offseason and as far as we can discern, there was going to be a greater demand for the shortstop position than there was going to be a supply coming out. The teams that we thought were going to be looking over the winter and wherever those guys were going to come from, we just thought the supply and demand equation made sense to do it now. That is now off the table. We’re not going to consider doing anything with J.J. He has the power in his contract as well not to go anywhere without his permission for the remainder of this particular season.”
Showalter regards Hardy as one of his clubhouse leaders.
“Most of that is through example and just being there and being consistent,” he said. “It’s such a great example for our guys to look at in spring training. You like the idea that they get to see how it’s supposed to be done to give yourself a chance to be as good as you’re capable of being. I don’t want him to start doing anything differently than what he’s doing. We’re real happy with that. I think the impact that he has just by being who he is is enough, and the way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business is a lot of fun to watch. I watch him off ball and just the sincerity with which he does things every day. It’s just important for him to be there for the organization, the fans that watch this, and as important, his teammates. If you don’t notice, you’re not watching.”
Hardy has spent time on the disabled list the last three seasons and he missed a month this year, but the Orioles didn’t shy away from making a commitment.
“Obviously, that’s something you have to look at, but at the same time, you can talk yourself out of any deal,” MacPhail said. “People get hurt unfortunately in this game any day. You can’t live (being) afraid that way. There’s nothing that our medical team saw that would indicate there’s a higher than normal percentage of something happening in the offing. Quite to the contrary. Physically, they are very satisfied with the conditioning and how he approaches himself. In terms of what you could happen tomorrow, as Vin Scully said, ‘We’re all day-to-day.’”