The fall instructional league ended Saturday, along with Matt Angle’s crash course on playing second base.
Angle is a plus defender in the outfield, so the Orioles aren’t looking to change his position. They just want to expand the ones he can handle.
You know how it goes. Angle isn’t projected as a regular in left field. His value increases if he can play multiple positions. And second base isn’t exactly secured, considering that Brian Roberts still comes down with occasional headaches and there’s no way to be sure whether he’ll be healthy enough to reclaim the starting job next season.
Former shortstop Mike Bordick and minor league infield coordinator Bobby Dickerson worked with Angle in Sarasota. Bordick referred to it as a “look-and-see thing.”
“Obviously, he hasn’t played second base and we’re just trying to teach him that position and see how he can apply the stuff we’re teaching him,” Bordick said. “He’s doing a really good job. He’s working really hard, and I don’t think that was ever a question. With his work ethic, you know he’d put everything he’s got into it. We just wanted to see what he can do and if it’s a possibility.”
So he’s not totally lost out there?
“He’s not totally lost at all,” Bordick said. “There’s just a lot going on in the infield, as far as footwork and everything else. It’s not just catching ground balls. It’s getting his legs in shape to catch ground balls. If he takes 50 ground balls, he’ll definitely be sore and feel it the next day. You have to kind of get in shape for that.
“We’ll see what we’ve got, if he’s able to do that. It could help his career if he’s able to play other positions.”
Bordick was more than satisfied with how players responded to the daily instruction.
“It was a great camp,” he said. “The guys worked hard. It’s tough for young kids after playing a full season. That’s a lot for them, getting used to playing every day and then going to the instructional league, but the effort was outstanding. We put them through a lot of stuff, but it’s going to help them in the long run.
“There are teams still playing right now, so they’ve got to learn how to play with the right attitude. It’s more than just a 140-game schedule. Hopefully, it will be more like a 180-game schedule.”
Shortstop Manny Machado went from low Single-A Delmarva to high Single-A Frederick to Sarasota before getting a much-needed break.
“He got some good work in,” Bordick said. “I think he learned a lot. We were able to address the issues he really needed to attend to, as far as playing shortstoip. He worked really hard at it. It’s just a matter of whether he takes it into the offseason and comes back ready to go in spring training.”
So what were the issues?
I’m glad I asked.
“Primarily his legs, just getting into his legs a little bit more and using them more at that position,” Bordick said. “He’s a tall kid and he tends to play a little bit too tall. It will help him be more sound fundamentally if he can get into his legs a little bit more, get lower, see the ball better. It should make him more consistent.
“If he ends up using his legs the right way, it should save wear and tear on his arm, too.”
Manager Buck Showalter spent a few days in camp before returning to Baltimore for a meeting with owner Peter Angelos. He flew home to Texas on Saturday.
“He got everybody on their toes, which was real good,” Bordick said.