SARASOTA, Fla. - So far, the two most interesting stories in Orioles camp involve players who aren’t here - literally or technically.
Jair Jurrjens can’t report until the Orioles decide whether he passed a physical. Trayvon Robinson apparently is here, but his dateline reads “LIMBO” until it’s determined whether he passed through waivers.
Otherwise, the biggest buzz yesterday may have come from Nolan Reimold, who hit live pitching for the first time since his surgery.
After some deliberation, the media contingent decided that facing camp instructor Scott McGregor qualified as “live pitching.” It wasn’t necessary for an Orioles pitcher to be delivering the ball. If Reimold wasn’t standing beside a tee, and if he wasn’t swinging at underhand soft tosses, it was live pitching - or batting practice, to be exact.
Off all the quotes that I passed along yesterday, this one from manager Buck Showalter really stuck with me, and it also pertained to Reimold:
“He can be a big player for us this year, something that a lot of people have forgotten about. We haven’t, but also I’m not going to be constantly telling Nolan that, because he thinks that all of us have forgotten about Nolan.”
Later, Showalter added, “You can see that look in his eye. He’s friendly to me, but he’s got that... Brady (Anderson) made a good point. He said, ‘I’m not sure you want to take that away from him,’ and I agree.”
So Reimold is convinced that the Orioles aren’t factoring him into their plans, and they’re OK with him using it as extra motivation. They like that chip on his shoulder. They also like the power numbers he could post in a full season.
We also received confirmation yesterday - and it really came as no surprise - that the Orioles will adjust the workloads of Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman to make sure that both pitchers have innings left in their arms in September and October. No shutdown controversies.
Bundy will throw a bullpen session today after participating in pitchers fielding practice. Other pitchers expected to throw on the side include Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Steve Johnson and Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland.
Showalter will have plenty of starters to monitor in camp.
“We’re probably at nine, 10, 11 guys that we’re looking at,” Showalter said. “You’ve got to say ‘What if?’ If Ham (Jason Hammel) has a knee issue or Miguel (Gonzalez) has some issue or (Wei-Yin) Chen or something, we’ll be able to move in a lot of different directions. I like our depth. I like that we have people in a good position.
“Steve Johnson, I don’t want anybody to forget about him. He did some good things for us last year. And I know I’m going to forget some people. Arrieta and Britton. It’s going to be intriguing to see how it plays out, but we’re also keeping that maneuverability. We’re not going to penalize people. We’re not going to penalize a guy and send him to Triple-A because he’s got an option. If he has that type of year, we’ll figure it out. I think our guys understand that we’re going to take the best 25.”
Today begins with physicals at 7 a.m. Players will take the field around noon to stretch and begin the first workout.
Fans are invited to watch the team’s workouts on the back fields at the complex each day until Feb. 23, when the exhibition games begin. There’s no charge to attend and free parking is available in the East Lot off 12th St.
Starting Thursday, the Orioles will work out from approximately 9:15 a.m.-noon each day. The first full-squad workout will be held Saturday.