SARASOTA, Fla. - Another camp day is behind us and there are no injuries to report.
Luis Ayala, Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day threw their first bullpen sessions in Group 2. Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman threw in Group 1; Miguel Gonzalez, Mark Hendrickson and Pedro Strop in Group 3; Daniel McCutchen, Troy Patton and Daniel Schlereth in Group 4; and Mike Belfiore, Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez in Group 5.
Manager Buck Showalter said he will probably give Ayala, Johnson and O’Day an extra day of rest before their next side sessions. Of course, Ayala’s status remains up in the air while he decides whether he’s leaving camp to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.
The trio will end up logging about the same number of innings as last spring despite the adjusted schedules, according to Showalter.
After mostly staying away from Gausman during the right-hander’s first bullpen session on Thursday, Showalter hung around for a longer look today and was impressed.
“That’s the first time I got closer to him,” Showalter said. “He’s got a good hand, a really good hand. He’s got a changeup that will play better the higher he goes up against better hitters. When you’re throwing an 87, 88 mph changeup in Aberdeen, it’s pretty good hitting speed. He’s got a grasp of the changeup at a very young stage of his career. That plays. It means his breaking ball doesn’t have to be that good.
“He’s got deception in his delivery. He’s got late life. He’s got a loose arm. He’s got a great face. And he comes from a great conference.”
Jair Jurrjens participated in pitchers fielding practice today.
“We really expected him to arrive today, but once they got everything done, he wanted to come on over,” Showalter said. “It was good to get him on the field. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him much. I’m looking forward to that. We’ve had a lot of medical people look at him even as early as this morning with the physicals, just to get together with the program and try to keep him healthy. That’s something we want to get our arms around.
“We’re fortunate that ownership and Dan (Duquette) have put together a real good medical situation, especially with the rehab coordinators and some of the tools to see if we can help him and identify what the best course as we go forward is.”
Showalter said he could see a scenario where Brian Roberts, Alexi Casilla and Ryan Flaherty all make the club out of spring training. It seems like a long shot to me, but the odds increase if the Orioles are comfortable with Flaherty in the outfield.
“It’s a possibility, especially with the versatility of Ryan,” Showalter said.
Showalter listed Roberts, shortstop J.J. Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado as players who will stick to one position this spring. Most of the other guys on the roster can move around.
It doesn’t appear that Todd Redmond, who made one start for the Reds last season, is a real candidate for the back end of the Orioles’ rotation. Of course, things can change over time, but he doesn’t currently seem to be in the same mix as guys like Jurrjens, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Steve Johnson, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz and Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland.
Showalter conceded that Hammel and Chen are pretty much “givens” to be in the rotation, and the odds favor Gonzalez and Tillman. However, Gonzalez has minor league options remaining and knows he can’t have an exceptionally poor spring and still assume that a spot is waiting for him.
“I think Miguel’s going to be there, but he knows he’s got to compete and he’s got options,” Showalter said.
It’s worth noting that outfielder Nolan Reimold is out of minor league options. He can’t be sent down without clearing waivers.
Showalter indicated yesterday that Reimold will make the club as long as he’s healthy. It makes even more sense given the option situation.
Other Orioles on the 40-man roster who are out of options include Hammel, Tillman, Hunter, Strop, Ayala, Jim Johnson and Tsuyoshi Wada.