FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Orioles are in the market for a catcher to improve their depth in the minor league system.
Matt Wieters is entrenched as the starter, of course, and a healthy Taylor Teagarden will serve as his backup. But there are some concerns beyond those two backstops.
That's one reason why manager Buck Showalter is eager to take a look at Luis Martinez, selected off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Jan. 4. Martinez was reassigned to the minor league camp on Thursday, but he's close to making a full recovery from a strained left oblique that kept him out of every exhibition game.
The Orioles will bring Martinez back to camp - without placing him on the roster - and give him a handful of innings behind the plate. He brings a reputation as a plus defender.
I've lost count of the number of passed balls this spring, and wild pitches that could have been prevented. A bunch of stolen bases, too, though the catcher doesn't always deserve the blame. It's just been sloppy.
Luis Exposito, who's starting tonight at JetBlue Park, twice double-clutched on stolen bases by the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday in Dunedin, and his throwing error in the ninth inning Thursday against the Jays in Sarasota allowed a run to score before Ryan Flaherty's walk-off homer.
Anyway, the Orioles will check on available catchers as spring training progresses.
Reliever Daniel Schlereth wore a bandage on his right knee today after being spiked while covering home plate during last night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Scratches were visible outside the bandage, but the deepest cut was covered.
Schlereth didn't need stitches. He continued to pitch after the incident, a challenge considering the discomfort in his landing leg.
Danny Valencia was still bummed today about the error he committed at third base last night, though he had a perfectly good excuse. He had one eye on the ball and the other on a piece of broken bat that was spiraling toward him.
That's a bit of a distraction.
The bat hit Valencia's foot as he misplayed the ball. Tough error.
The next batter sent a scorching ground ball down the line that Valencia nabbed with a diving backhanded stop behind the bag. He made a strong throw to first to record the out. A four-star play.
Dylan Bundy didn't show any jitters today before heading to Fort Myers for his start against the Boston Red Sox. He played bumper billiards and later sat at his locker with his laptop. Nerves of steel.
Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera officially announced his retirement today. Here's current Hall of Famer Cal Ripken's take on him:
"He's a marvel. Having been at home plate and having faced that cutter that looked like it was going to be straight and at the last minute it cuts as much as this (hold hands far apart) and it used to be about 95 mph, was an amazing pitch that he had developed. But the thing that's most amazing is he never gets flustered. He has the exact mechanics that he duplicates every time and his control is as good as anybody. He can put the ball on the inside part of the plate and the outside part of the plate, raise it up and down. So that one pitch that everyone says, 'How can you just have one pitch and do it?' He has the ability to throw a lot more pitches than that, but he uses that one pitch to be four or five other pitches.
"It seemed like he was at the most ease when he was in the highest-pressure situations. I admire his ability to be able to compete almost in a relaxed state under the highest pressure."