SARASOTA, Fla. - There’s nothing new to report on pitcher Suk-min Yoon. The Orioles may announce his signing later today. However, it doesn’t appear that he will be introduced to the media before Monday.
Pitcher Tim Alderson reported to camp this morning after experiencing travel issues related to the snowstorm. He had to fly through Dallas after the cancellation of his connecting flight in Charlotte.
“Yesterday was a long day,” he said. “Just a lot of movies and hanging out.”
And a little anxiety.
“It was difficult knowing everyone is out here getting ready and competing,” he said. “It’s tough sitting at home, but it’s one of those things I can’t control, so I’m not going to worry about it. I’m happy to be here now and ready to go.”
This is the first big league camp for Alderson, who re-signed with the Orioles as a minor league free agent. He was the 22nd overall pick by the Giants in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. The Orioles acquired him from the Pirates on July 12, 2013 for Russ Canzler.
Alderson, 25, went 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA in 15 appearances, including one start, at Triple-A Norfolk. He’s 44-27 with a 4.11 ERA in seven minor league seasons.
What convinced him to re-sign with the Orioles?
“It seemed like a really good fit,” he said. “I meshed well with all the people here and it seemed like they wanted me to come back pretty badly, which inspired me to come back. I’m just happy to be here.
“I got it taken care of early in the offseason so I didn’t have to worry about anything, which was a big weight taken off my shoulders. I was able to focus and know where I was going to be. I feel like I was wanted here and I wanted to be here, too.”
Jonathan Schoop said he put on eight to 10 pounds of muscle while lifting weights over the winter with a group that included Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar. He’s noticeably thicker in the legs and upper body.
“I lifted a lot,” he said. “I needed to get stronger if you want to play the whole season, and lifting is part of the game. You’ve got to get stronger.
“I feel like I’m done growing, but I can get stronger for myself to get better. The stronger you are, the better baseball player you are.”
Schoop appeared in five games with the Orioles in September, going 4-for-14 with a home run.
“It helped me a lot because I gained experience being with the best guys in the world,” he said. “It helped me a lot to play in games against Boston and against Toronto.”
The Orioles haven’t told Schoop whether he’ll work out exclusively at second base or move around the infield.
“I’m just coming to camp to do good for myself and do whatever the Orioles want me to do to get better for myself. For me to be a better baseball player,” he said.
Schoop most likely will begin the season at Norfolk.
“Whatever happens, I just want to play baseball,” he said. “If I start at Norfolk, I’ll work hard to get in the big leagues, and if I start in the big leagues, I’ll do my best to stay there.”
Schoop was teased about hitting a car yesterday during batting practice.
“It wasn’t my intention,” he said, grinning. “I didn’t see it. I just heard a ‘bam.’
“I don’t have the money to pay for it.”
Michael Ohlman caught Eddie Gamboa’s knuckler yesterday in a bullpen session. How was he chosen?
“Luck of the draw,” Ohlman said, smiling. “Luck of the draw.”
How did it work out for him?
“For me, not so well, but that was the first time since I saw him last spring training,” Ohlman said. “He had a good one, a really good one yesterday, moving all over the place. Even the ones that had a little spin to them, they were downward, so they’re going to be down in the zone.”
You can judge a good knuckler by the difficulty in catching it.
“Oh yeah,” Ohlman said. “The good ones are the ones that move late, and if it’s hard for you to catch and you almost miss it or miss it, that’s when you know it’s a good one. You can tell.”
Ohlman caught Gamboa last spring and was behind the plate for Zach Clark at Single-A Frederick.
“You just stay as loose as possible, really,” he said. “There’s a certain technique. All those knuckleballers, they really have their own catchers, so it’s just something you’ve got to play with. And just like anything else, you’ve got to find something that works for you. I just try to stay as loose as possible, wait till the last possible second and see where it’s going to end up.”
The following pitchers will throw bullpen sessions today: Alderson, Tommy Hunter, Bud Norris, Darren O’Day, Evan Meek, Troy Patton, Ryan Webb, Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Wei-Yin Chen, Brock Huntzinger, T.J. McFarland, Nick Additon, Tim Berry and Kelvin De La Cruz.