Vielma: “I still feel confident that I can go out there and compete”

SARASOTA, Fla. - The competition for the utility job with the Orioles increased today with Éngelb Vielma’s arrival in camp.

Meet the new guy. Same as the old guy - just late getting here.

Vielma was detained in Venezuela while trying to get his visa. He flew into the area last night, took his physical today and waited for a chance to play.

“It’s definitely very frustrating because all I was thinking about was the opportunity that’s been presented to me,” he said via translator Ramón Alarcón. “Some players may be ahead of me, so I really wanted to be here, to be here on time, to be here early, but now that I’m here I just want to go out there and compete and make a good contribution to the team.”

Orioles bags.jpgLuis Sardiñas and Erick Salcedo played second base yesterday in the exhibition opener against the Rays in Sarasota. Sardiñas started at shortstop today against the Phillies in Clearwater and Rubén Tejada played second base, and the box score shows that they’ve been switching positions each inning - a common spring move by manager Buck Showalter.

“I know I reported late, so they definitely have an advantage in that regard,” Vielma said, “but I still feel confident that I can go out there and compete.”

If he can stay in one place.

Vielma, 23, was with the Twins, Giants, Phillies, Pirates and Giants again before the Orioles acquired him on Jan. 26 for a player to be named later or cash. It’s been a dizzying offseason.

“For the winter I was just focused on playing winter ball and being with my family. That was my whole concentration for the winter,” he said.

“I was calm. Baseball is a business. There are so many things I cannot control. I have a really good relationship with my agent (Daniel Szew of LA Sports Management), so he provided me with really valuable feedback and I felt comfortable.”

The Orioles will check the waiver wire later in spring training in case a veteran utility player becomes available. Ryan Flaherty signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, but his contract includes an opt-out clause next month. The Orioles tried to put together a proposal for him shortly before opening camp, but never got to the stage where they could get the necessary approval.

Vielma is a plus defender, most comfortable at shortstop and second base, who can be optioned if he doesn’t make the club.

Infielder Ryan Ripken, the son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., is listed among the reserves tonight. He’s also on the bench today for the game against the Phillies in Clearwater.

Also summoned from minor league camp tonight are infielders Drew Dosch, Mason McCoy, Aderlin Rodriguez, Jomar Reyes, Adrian Marin and Kirvin Moesquit, outfielders Jake Ring, Ademar Rifaela, T.J. Nichting and Ryan McKenna, catchers Armando Araiza and Andrew Cervenka and pitchers John Means, Brian Gonzalez, David Holmberg and Matt Wotherspoon.

Dylan Bundy had a rough outing today against the Phillies, allowing five runs and four hits in two innings. He walked three batters and served up a grand slam to catcher Jorge Alfaro.

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman still has a locker set up in the clubhouse after the Orioles designated him for assignment on Wednesday to create a 40-man spot for pitcher Chris Tillman.

For the Twins
Robbie Grossman LF
Ehire Adrianza SS
Chris Heisey RF
Kennys Vargas DH
Brock Stassi 1B
Gregorio Petit 3B
Zack Granite CF
Bobby Wilson C
Taylor Featherston 2B

Adablerto Mejía LHP

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