No more mini-camp news today. And no more Sarasota sunshine, though the wind yesterday cut through me like a knife while I stood on one of the back fields and watched Nolan Reimold and Delmon Young take batting practice.
The temperatures dipped into the 50s, and anyone who’s spent time in Florida knows that it feels more like the 30s down there. In Baltimore, it would be smedium T-shirt weather.
The Orioles moved their batting practice session to a field where the wind was blowing in, causing would-be home runs to die on the warning track. It was done on purpose. So many balls cleared the fence on the replica Camden Yards field on Wednesday, smashing into trees and disappearing into the tall grass, they almost had to use rolled up socks.
The club never announced the Bud Norris signing or the results of Manny Machado’s knee exam. However, Norris signed and Machado is way ahead of schedule, so there you have it. And neither bit of news came as much of a surprise.
First of all, the five remaining arbitration-eligible players also are under team control. All that remains is determining their salaries, which bores me to tears. And the Orioles have gone to arbitration only once since beating Rodrigo Lopez in 2006, when they also beat Brad Bergesen.
The sides will submit their salary figures if agreements aren’t reached by 1 p.m. today, and hearings will be set up next month. They usually just split the difference. Not a whole lot of drama.
The only interest for me is finding out how much of a raise Chris Davis receives after his breakthrough 2013 season.
Wouldn’t that be an interesting hearing to attend? Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, can argue the value of 42 doubles, 53 homers, 138 RBIs, 370 total bases, a third-place finish in American League MVP voting and plus-defense at first base. The Orioles can argue that one triple is pretty lame.
Seriously, this guy is going to make some serious coin. He earned $3.3 million last year and figures to triple that amount.
Former closer Jim Johnson avoided arbitration with the Athletics by agreeing to a $10 million deal, the exact figure that scared away the Orioles.
As for Machado, the Orioles assumed that he’d be cleared for baseball activities yesterday. That won’t happen until his follow-up exam on Jan. 31, but the news coming out of Dr. Neal ElAttrache’s office in Los Angeles put a smile on the collective faces in the warehouse.
Machado is thrilled with the results, according to one person who spoke to him, and mananger Buck Showalter and Orioles officials are equally enthused.
As I felt all along, Machado made the right decision to undergo surgery in October. No sense attempting to rehab the knee, which buckled twice - the second incident causing the injury on Sept. 23 - and risking more serious damage during the season. It always would have been in the back of his mind. It would have been a burden and perhaps influenced how he ran the bases.
He got it done, he’s six-to-eight weeks ahead of schedule and he figures to be in the lineup on opening day.
Ryan Flaherty and Jemile Weeks can battle it out at second base, with Alexi Casilla expected to win a utility job as a spring training invite.
The only other position up for grabs now is left field, and David Lough is likely to get most of the starts. I’m just wondering whether Showalter would insert Lough and Flaherty - two left-handed bats - into the opening day lineup against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.
Would a healthy Reimold start in left, with Young serving as the designated hitter?
There’s plenty of time to figure it out.
Meanwhile, there’s still no announcement on outfielder Tyler Colvin, who took his physical on Wednesday.
Don’t even go there.
The Orioles will release more details about their FanFest schedule later today, including the autograph stations.
I’ll leave you with an amusing little anecdote from bench coach John Russell, who can be counted among the former players with mad respect for former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey’s nasty splitter.
Russell faced Harvey, the father of last year’s first-round draft pick, pitcher Hunter Harvey, while playing for the Rangers. He claims that one of Harvey’s splitters grazed the hair on his left arm, but the plate umpire called it a strike.
Russell argued briefly and, as he recalls, “probably struck out.” He marched inside to check the video, and sure enough, the ball grazed his arm and dropped over the plate for a strike. The catcher never moved his mitt.
Yeah, that’s a nasty split.
Russell joked that he just tipped his cap to Harvey. What else could he do?