SARASOTA, Fla. - The first round of physicals and workouts each spring training always brings the same first question: Did you make it through the day without any injuries?
That seems to be the case today with the Orioles.
“As far as I know,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Richie (Bancells) didn’t come to me about ... It seems like every spring, somebody’s got a flag in the physicals that pulls them out, but nothing today. We’ll see how we get post-workout. I haven’t spoke to him yet. I didn’t see anything by the naked eye.”
Tsuyoshi Wada won’t throw a bullpen session for three or four weeks, but the long-tossing, participation in fielding drills and overall attitude leave the Orioles encouraged by his progress following ligament-reconstructive surgery on his left elbow.
Showalter didn’t talk to Wada today, saying, “I’m going to let him get his feet on the ground.”
“I’ve got a good feel,” Showalter added. “You can tell he feels better about himself, that he’s moving forward and upward. I think he knows he’s got the worst behind him. First thing we decided today was whether he was going to take part in all the drills, which we decided yes. He definitely wanted to. We know where his finish line is.
“I have a good feeling about him helping us this year. Of course, I have a lot of good feelings this time of the year.”
Nick Markakis isn’t restricted by the thumb surgery in September that ended his season.
“Nicky is an open book,” Showalter said. “You don’t have to ask him how he’s feeling and how he’s doing, for the most part.”
The following pitchers threw off a mound today: Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Todd Redmond, Adam Russell, Dylan Bundy, Zach Clark, Steve Johnson, T.J. McFarland and Mike Wright.
Hunter finished long before Arrieta and Matusz in Group 1. At first, I thought he might be hurt, but he was fine. He sat behind the row of mounds and watched the rest of the session before heading to the clubhouse.
Some guys work quicker than others and/or don’t throw as many pitches.
As I mentioned earlier today, McFarland made a favorable impression on Showalter.
“He was impressive today,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of nice. You see so much tape of these guys coming in and you read so many reports, and to be able to actually see them live, it’s always a different look. Quickly, you can see why he’s had success, the deception he has in his delivery. Same thing with Clark. You look at the year Clark had last year. It’s very easy to kind of get lost in the shuffle. He had a big year. But McFarland was maybe a guy who caught my eye today.”
McFarland should get at least one start down here.
“I expect him to,” Showalter said. “I don’t know how you’d look at it. Will he start an inning and pitch multiple innings? Yes. Rick (Adair) has got some ideas. I’d be surprised if he didn’t start a game, but it’s not going to be necessarily throwing more innings than if he started the third inning.”
McFarland could be assigned to the bullpen if he doesn’t make the rotation.
“That’s why we’ll stretch him out early,” Showalter said. “We can always go either way. It’s a good year to have a Rule 5 pitcher that you want to see, because you can get a lot of looks at him.”
One benefit of the World Baseball Classic.