The Orioles haven’t made a final decision on Mark Hendrickson, but it appears that they’re going to invite him to camp and let him compete for a job in the bullpen. Manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette continue to discuss it.
Hendrickson threw at the minicamp on Wednesday, breaking out his new sidearm delivery. The Orioles remain intrigued by it.
Players are starting to filter into the backstage area at the Baltimore Convention Center. I’ll pass along a few notes and quotes.
Chris Davis still expects to be the first baseman when he arrives at spring training and when the season begins in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he’s looking forward to it.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I was disappointed last year with the way things worked out at first. I felt like I didn’t play anywhere near like I was capable of playing, but we had a lot of injuries, guys going down. But with all the crazy things that happened, I’m definitely looking forward to being the first baseman this season.”
What about the perception that the Orioles haven’t done enough to improve the club this winter?
“I think the fact that we signed guys back like Nate (McLouth) and working out some contracts we got done yesterday, that was big for us,” Davis said. “That was kind of our niche going into last season. We didn’t have any big-name players. (Adam) Jonesy getting his contract last year was huge, but we pretty much have the same group of guys we had last year and we were able to be successful, so we’re looking forward to this season.”
Trayvon Robinson will compete for a bench spot after being obtained from the Mariners for infielder Robert Andino. He’s aware that the Orioles re-signed Nate McLouth and are counting on a healthy Nolan Reimold to play left field and serve as a right-handed designated hitter.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We all wear the same uniform, so I don’t think of it as competition or whatever. We all have one goal, to play in the big leagues and win. This isn’t my first big league spring training, so I’m going to have the same mentality. Hopefully, it works here.”
Robinson is joining the organization as a time when expectations finally are raised following the first inning season and playoff berth in 15 years.
“Being on the other side playing against them, I see the energy,” Robinson said. “They were playing with a purpose. They were trying to win it. Being on the other side, it just seemed the way they went about business, even BP and going into the game and until that last out, it was amazing. I was watching them throughout the whole season, and they just turned another gear on. It was awesome.”
Robinson played for the Mariners during the 18-inning marathon last season. He entered the game in the ninth.
“I had a couple nightmares about that game. I didn’t get any sleep,” he said. “I came in in the ninth inning and all of a sudden it’s the 18th. I was like, ‘Man, I played a whole game.’ Again, it showed they didn’t quit. We didn’t quit, either, but just the way they played. And the next day we went into the 10th inning. They didn’t quit. I want to be a part of it.”
The Orioles designated Steve Pearce for assignment shortly before Christmas and outrighted him to Triple-A Norfolk. Pearce signed a minor league deal and will compete for a bench job in spring training.
“It’s just one of those things that happens to a lot of guys in my situation,” Pearce said. “We did get a contract signed, so it’s just one of those things.
“I’ve never come to spring training with a job. I’ve always had to earn it and prove myself all over again, so that’s nothing new to me.”
Commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement on the passing of Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver:
“Earl Weaver was a brilliant baseball man, a true tactician in the dugout and one of the key figures in the rich history of the Baltimore Orioles, the Club he led to four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series Championship. Having known Earl throughout my entire career in the game, I have many fond memories of the Orioles and the Brewers squaring off as American League East rivals. Earl’s managerial style proved visionary, as many people in the game adopted his strategy and techniques years later.
“Earl was well known for being one of the game’s most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianne, their family and all Orioles fans.”
Here’s a statement from Mike Gibbons, the executive director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation:
“Much as Ray Lewis is the heart and soul of Baltimore Ravens football, Earl Weaver was the pride and passion of Orioles baseball. His storied career as one of the game’s all time managers was punctuated by a fiery enthusiasm and a winning strategy of good pitching and the three run homer. His retirement following the last game of the 1982 season was perhaps the emotional zenith of Baltimore Orioles baseball, and one of our city’s all time sports moments.”