SARASOTA, Fla. - Pitchers and catchers are taking their physicals this morning, which pushes back the time of today’s first workout to noon on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
One field is under construction, with concrete being spread over it yesterday. I’ll assume it’s an artificial surface. Otherwise, the grass is going to look the same as the stuff growing in my front yard.
The forecast for today is ominous - thunderstorms are supposed to crash the workout party - but the sun is peeking through the clouds this morning.
I forgot to mention that first baseman Joe Mahoney also reported to camp yesterday. We have a lot of early arrivals compared to previous springs.
The influence of Rick Peterson, hired as the Orioles’ director of pitching development, begins today.
The pitchers in camp will be subjected to “lab testing” as part of their physical, which is basically a mechanical analysis.
Showalter is prepared to make the necessary adjustments with pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada, who are getting acclimated to a different routine. Showalter managed Chan Ho Park and Koji Uehara, so this isn’t foreign to him - so to speak.
“Part of managing those guys is understanding what they’ve done in the past, what they’ve been exposed to and understanding the changes they’re about to go through and trying to be sympathetic to a point, but also preparing them for seven day a week, 162-game season,” Showalter said.
“I think everybody kind of learns their lessons as you go through it. And they’re not all the same. Koji’s different than Wada and Wada’s different than Chen. They’re all different. The first thing we’ll do is sit down and talk to them. There’s a lot of differences that people kind of miss. The baseball’s different, strike zone’s different, the fields are different. They play just about all their games inside. There’s a lot of factors you’ve got to keep in mind.”
The clubhouse doesn’t open to the media this morning until 10:15 a.m., but the workroom is filled with reporters from Japan and Taiwan. I have no shot at being the first reporter here unless I sleep in my car.
The official count of pitchers in camp is 30, with Ryan Edell a no-show and contemplating retirement. I asked Showalter yesterday if he’s ever managed a team in the past with a rotation as unsettled as this one, with so many openings and so much competition.
“Yeah, but if I said when, it would show up in some sarcastic quote. ‘Oh, so this is what we have to look forward to,’” he said, chuckling.
I’ll have to go back and research his previous teams and where they finished in the standings.