SARASOTA, Fla. - Hunter Harvey and Parker Bridwell threw bullpen sessions today at the Orioles’ mini-camp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Kevin Gausman will throw on Thursday before everyone heads back home.
Former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, Hunter’s father, offered advice to right-handers Tommy Hunter and Steve Johnson on throwing a split-fingered fastball. Manager Buck Showalter encouraged Harvey to approach them and offer tips on his signature pitch.
Showalter watched Dylan Bundy play catch with minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker.
“That was fun,” Showalter said. “He had great range of motion. You’d never know that he had anything wrong with him.
“Dave Walker didn’t like what was going on. He had to catch him. When you see trainers catch the ball off to the side, he was throwing it pretty good. That way, if you miss it, it doesn’t hit a funny part.”
Walker has been instrumental in Bundy’s progression.
“He basically did Bundy’s rehab, from start to finish,” Showalter said. “Dave’s been the guy that doesn’t want the attention. You get a lot of guys who latch themselves on to somebody. It’s like the guy who says, ‘I’m going to be Ted Williams’ hitting coach.’ Oh really? Aren’t you a step-out guy? That’s what I like about Dave Walker. You never know he’s there, but he’s there 24 hours a day.
“He’s solid. If you don’t believe me, ask the guys he works with. He’s special. We’re lucky to have him.”
Each pitcher had a scheduled meeting with new pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti. Bundy sat down with them this afternoon to wrap up the sessions.
Jack Cust took batting practice again today and will return in the morning while waiting to find out whether the Orioles intend to sign him to a minor league deal.
Nolan Reimold hit indoors today and ran sprints on one of the practice fields, and he will take outdoor batting practice Thursday morning.
“You can tell he feels better about himself,” Showalter said. “He’s going to hit on the field tomorrow. Last year when he was getting ready to do it, there was a lot of anxiety about it. You can tell there’s not this year. In his mind, it’s not a matter of if but when. And I can just tell from talking to him. Somebody was walking down the hall and he did this (turns head). And even his arm. There’s no atrophy there.
“We talk about all types of things we can get better at from last year to this year, whether it’s (Miguel Gonzalez’s) health or (Wei-Yin) Chen’s health. We played without Nolan. And this is the first time (Nick Markakis has) been able to do something in almost two offseasons and you can tell already what a difference it’s made.
“With Nolan, I’ve sat in this environment (his office) with me here and him there quite a few times, and I can tell the picture is different than the one before.”
Considering that the Orioles currently intend to bring 12 outfielders to spring training, there will be lots of competition as Reimold tries to break camp with the team.
“It’s good players competing,” Showalter said. “There’s a way to keep them all in the fold, too. Norfolk is shaping up pretty good, especially with the fences moved in. But we’ll see. He knows. Nolan at this point just wants to get out and play.
“I’m pulling for him, just from a human being standpoint. He’s been through a lot. And I’m very proud how the organization’s stuck with him, and he is, too. He feels indebted for the support. We’ve been very supportive. That’s kind of been (Peter Angelos’) MO through the years, especially when I’ve heard Peter talk about how he got hurt. He got hurt playing for the Baltimore Orioles and making a great play and trying to help us win a game. Why would you turn your back on him?
“I’m realistic. He’s been away a long time, though that can work two ways - good and bad. He’ll get as many reps as we feel like he can stand. Tomorrow will be another bridge to cross. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him swing and miss tomorrow. I don’t know. I think he’s looking forward as much to getting out and getting in that environment as he is actually hitting. Just being in uniform and having a ball thrown to him. Smell the grass and dirt. It’s been a long time.”
As I mentioned in my last entry, Showalter was pleased with Delmon Young’s conditioning.
“He looks his age now,” Showalter said. “Some years, he doesn’t look his age. That’s what they say about me.”
Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez looks like a free-swinger, chasing pretty much every pitch thrown to him, but he did launch one ball over the fence in left-center that slammed off a tree.
The Orioles will play an intrasquad game on Feb. 27 before opening their exhibition schedule the following day against the Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla.