SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles held a pitchers meeting at 1:15 p.m. today in the same room used for manager Buck Showalter’s post-workout sessions with the media. Alfredo Aceves walked through the door at 1:01 p.m. and made a U-turn back into the hallway.
“Alfredo’s early to the meeting,” Showalter said. “Nice going.”
Aceves is determined to make a favorable impression in camp, and not just with his arm.
“It went well,” Showalter said. “I know Ubaldo, especially, was anxious to get out there.”
Showalter was just as impressed with Jimenez during the press conference.
“He handled himself well, didn’t he?” Showalter said. “I made the mistake of asking his agent (Fern Cuza) if he needed somebody up there. He said, ‘No, he could help you with your language.’ He was right.
“His sister’s a doctor? He’s a pretty educated kid. He’s pretty impressive.”
Showalter noticed a different vibe in camp today. The signings of Jimenez and Yoon seem to have provided a jolt of energy.
“Yeah, a little bit,” Showalter said. “You walk through a locker room anytime during the season, and you know kind of when you’ve got it going on. There’s just a feeling. And then you know sometimes you walk through there and there doesn’t seem to be the flow you’re looking for.
“Today, I think a lot of it has to do with, we didn’t have three hours sitting around with physicals. This was one of the best workouts we’ve had since I’ve been here. Just the feel to it and the way it flowed.”
Showalter doesn’t know whether Jimenez and Yoon will jump into the same schedule as the other pitchers and start facing hitters who are tracking. They could follow a path similar to Miguel Gonzalez and Kelvin De La Cruz, who have been throwing off one of the side mounds.
Showalter took another not-so-subtle dig at Rays physician Dr. Koko Eaton today. A national reporter asked whether Showalter, after seeing Manny Machado writhing in pain with a gruesome knee injury at Tropicana Field five months ago, could have imagined that his young third baseman “would look the way he looks this spring.”
“Yes,” Showalter replied.
“I knew we were going to wait to get our doctor’s opinion on his knee instead of somebody who just made a quick analysis too fast,” Showalter said.
“We all know what it looked like. Unfortunately, I had a great angle. I’m looking right down the baseline. I could see the give. It’s one of those times when you’re not in a hurry to get out there. Obviously, there was nothing I could do to help his pain. I really wasn’t looking forward to seeing what I thought I might see. But it’s another lesson in precaution and letting all the tests and everything come back before you say something set in stone.
“Most medical people would do it that way.”
Machado continues to hit and take grounders at third base, though the Orioles still don’t want him moving side to side.
“He’s not doing backhand,” Showalter said. “He can. He says, ‘You know, I’ve been doing some side to side already,’ but we’ve just got to keep in mind where the finish line is. We are not asking him every day how he feels. He doesn’t want that. He’ll let you know. But we’re going to follow the doctor’s prescription for this, so to speak, and we’re not going to deviate.
“Middle to late March, we’ll have an idea what we’re dealing with. He’s worth waiting on. If we have to wait on him, we’ll wait on him. But we feel good that, instead of worrying about it in April, May, June, July, where he’s lost for the season, once he gets back to us, we’re not going to have this as much of an issue as we would have if he had tried to rehab it.
“My biggest goal with him this year is not having any setbacks with him. I don’t want to have any setbacks during spring. Believe me, our infield coaches and strength and conditioning guys have heard that a lot. I don’t want to hear about setbacks and I don’t want to hear about him being ahead or behind schedule. There is no schedule. The schedule is what it is. When he’s there, he’s there, and he’s worth waiting on to be right.
“I don’t want him to have any doubt in his mind that he’s ready.”
Beyond that, here’s a variety of photos and videos from Thursday’s workout: