SARASOTA, Fla. - Nothing much to report after yesterday’s arrival. The Lifestyle gym that I join every year was taken over by LA Fitness. The Sweetbay Supermarket, also located on North Beneva Road, closed last week.
The Publix in the next shopping center remains open, and I can stock up on Kangaroo brand multi-grain garden herb pita chips. No need to worry about me.
Oh, yeah, and it’s supposed to be 81 degrees today, dipping into the 60s at night. Again, stop worrying.
I know it’s officially spring training when I buy avocados. For whatever reason, it’s the only time that I make the purchase. Slice ‘em up and put ‘em on a turkey sandwich. Works as a condiment.
OK, let’s talk baseball.
There won’t be much to write today since the clubhouse remains closed to reporters until Wednesday afternoon, following physicals and the first workout. We can wave to the pitchers and catchers as they walk past the media workroom. Some position players have been in Sarasota for a while, though they’re not due until Friday. I’ll attempt to make eye contact with them, as well.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter will be available this afternoon. Perhaps we’ll find out whether Jair Jurrjens will be here. Duquette indicated Saturday that he hoped to have the situation resolved by the start of spring training. That’s Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on whether you count the report date or the first workout.
Without Jurrjens, the Orioles will have 28 pitchers in camp. That total includes eight non-roster invitees.
“I think competition is healthy. I think it brings out the best in guys,” Duquette said on WBAL Radio’s “Hot Stove Baseball” show.
“We’d like to be at the point where we go to spring training and we’re bringing in three or four pitchers who have pitched 200 innings the year before in the rotation, but we’re not quite there yet. We’re in the developmental stage with our pitching staff, but we’ve got some real good ones coming back.
“We saw last year that if we don’t have room for all the guys in the rotation, we’ll have room for some in the bullpen. And other guys, we’ll have room for them to continue to develop their skills in Triple-A.”
One of the more interesting stories in camp will involve Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland, who will try to win a job in the rotation or the bullpen. We kept close tabs on last year’s Rule 5 pick, Ryan Flaherty, so we’ve been down this road before.
“I’m looking forward to getting a look at the kid T.J. McFarland,” Duquette said. “I like what I’ve read about him and what I’ve seen from him. He has a good sinker and he made some good adjustments in Triple-A. He won eight games in the second half of the season. He’s only 23. I think he has a good opportunity to make our team.”
Duquette also said he’s eager to check out Nolan Reimold, who “has unfinished business and wants to make a significant contribution to our team.” Duquette also wants to find out “how we’re going to defend at first base, if Chris Davis going to be able to do the job or if Travis Ishikawa is going to help us there.”
“I’ve got to tell you, I like what I’m reading about Russ Canzler,” Duquette added. “He was the MVP of the International League in 2011. He’s got a good bat. I’m anxious to see him and see if he can make a contribution to our team. He’s got some good power.”
Update: Lots of position players are here early, including Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Nolan Reimold. Some guys already are leaving camp for the day.
Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Wei-Yin Chen, Pedro Strop, Miguel Gonzalez and Troy Patton are counted among the pitchers already in camp. They’re not the only ones, but those are the guys we’ve seen in the lobby area outside the clubhouse and in the parking lot.