SARASOTA, Fla. - Shortstop J.J. Hardy has reported to camp. He stopped by the media workroom a few minutes ago while waiting for his rental car.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter wore the usual path between practice fields today, fungo bat in hand. He participated in a pitchers fielding drill by standing at the plate and squaring to bunt. He watched four groups throw bullpen sessions.
Showalter was in his element.
“It’s a fun day, fun for everybody,” he said. “It’s kind of fun watching (Julio) Borbon and (Quinton) Berry show up. They think they are early. Well, five days they are, but there’s a lot of guys already here. I think it’s part of getting an idea of the culture these guys have.
“It was a beautiful day. I can’t tell you how many times I’d look out there and say, ‘Gosh, we get paid for this?’
“It was an important day for presentation, so to speak. I like the word ‘efficient.’ You’re trying to be efficient while not painting a picture that’s not realistic.”
Showalter said his biggest challenge is, “I’ve got to slow myself down.”
“Keep in mind the tempo and the process of everything,” he said. “You know where you want to end up, but you’ve got to go through the steps to get there. It’s exciting. I think everybody that’s been in the game for a long time, you’ve got that moment where all of a sudden you get the sense of anticipation that you can’t wait to get out there in that environment, because it’s something you’re comfortable in.
“I had a little trouble sleeping last night for the right reasons.”
I mentioned earlier that Michael Ohlman caught Eddie Gamboa’s knuckler. That could make a guy lose sleep.
“You know it’s a good knuckleball when you’re having trouble catching it,” Showalter quipped.
Why was Ohlman selected?
“I’d have to ask John Russell,” Showalter replied. “I know who wasn’t going to be back there the first day.”
That would be Matt Wieters.
Showalter got the chance to meet pitcher Suk-min Yoon before this morning’s physical. He left the complex afterward and reporters still haven’t laid eyes on him.
“I know he’s headed back to Korea and something to do with Canada,” Showalter said. “Maybe that’s where he’s going to get his visa. Nice little jaunt back and forth.”
The Orioles are trying to get a visa without Yoon returning to Korea.
Yoon hasn’t officially passed his physical yet, but the Orioles want to get the paperwork started.
Whether Yoon works out as a starter or reliever will be determined later.
“Haven’t really gotten there yet,” Showalter said. “Haven’t really talked to Dan (Duquette) about it yet. I will.”
The Orioles remain in talks with the representatives for Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. Showalter tunes it out.
“I’ve turned the page on that,” he said. “If somebody different on our roster shows up ... Just because things are delayed sometimes, they are not denied. I like what we’ve got. Until something changes, I’m going to grind that.
“If it doesn’t get separated by injury, it’s going to be a pretty competitive camp.”
Dylan Bundy isn’t competing for a rotation spot in camp, but Showalter thinks the young right-hander could be pitching competitively in May.
“When they say June or July, that’s pitching five, six, seven, eight innings in the minor leagues,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of other stuff he’s going to be doing to get to that point. In other words, they’re saying this is when he’d be an option again for us. It’s not when he’s pitching in Frederick on rehab. That’s the way I understand it.
“I’ve found through the years, it means to me that he’s probably going to be pitching competitively in May. By the time this is over, we’re going to have to pull the reins back on him. He’s doing well. My biggest hope, not my biggest but one of them, is not having setbacks with him. I haven’t seen anything to think that would happen. He looks good.”
It’s been a sad day in baseball with the passing of Jim Fregosi.
“I’ll tell you, when i was contemplating going upstairs, he would have been one of the guys I would have considered,” Showalter said. “A really good manager. Good baseball man. Solid as they come. It’s a loss.”