TAMPA - While Alex Cobb was busy getting to know his new Orioles teammates today and mapping out a plan with manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Roger McDowell following an extremely late arrival in camp, he could lock into a familiar face in the row of lockers set up for infielders and outfielders.
At the far left end sits third baseman Tim Beckham, who also came to the Orioles from the Tampa Bay Rays. They were together at Tropicana Field since 2013. No need for introductions.
“Oh, man, it’s a good day, it’s a good day for the Orioles,” Beckham said. “You’ve got a professional pitcher coming in here, a professional guy. He’s a great teammate and he’s definitely going to help out our club a lot.”
A rotation that needed more than a minor tweaking has added Cobb and Andrew Cashner in free agency and brought back Chris Tillman, considered a much better version than the 2017 model that never got moving.
“Every day, we go out we’ve got a chance to win the ballgame,” Beckham said. “Every fifth day that Cobb gets the ball, he’s going to go out there and compete. I know that about him. He’s going to leave it all out on the field and he’s going to give us a chance to win the ballgame.
“It’s very encouraging. Since Day One, I got here (and) you never questioned the end goal. The end goal here is to win, to play good baseball and to play winning baseball. With that being said, adding Alex Cobb is another great addition to our ballclub and I’m looking forward to this season.”
Cashner has impressed in camp with his bulldog mentality and Cobb apparently is cut from a similar cloth. It’s one of the first traits that Beckham cited.
It’s bound to come up again later.
“His competitive nature, his competitiveness and his wanting to be a perfectionist with all of his pitches,” said Beckham, who’s leading off tonight against the Yankees at George Steinbrenner Field.
“He’s a really good pitcher with plus stuff and I’m looking forward to seeing him play every day.”
The Orioles kept bringing up Cobb’s experience and production within the division while courting him over the winter and into spring training.
“He’s had good success over here in the American League East and it’s not an easy division to pitch in,” Beckham said. “I’m sure that after waiting for so long, he’s ready to get after it, and I’m sure he’s just ready to play baseball. And that’s what we’re going to do here is play winning baseball and we’re a lot more confident with him in the rotation.
“He’s a competitor, man, and everyone here will see it soon enough. And just watching him do his thing is impressive.”
Beckham hadn’t spoken with Cobb since the deal became official.
“I’m sure I’ll text him here,” Beckham said, “and congratulate him and tell him that I’m happy he’s over here, for sure, and let’s get after it.”
Notes: The Orioles will make one or two more cuts after tonight’s game.
Showalter confirmed that Hunter Harvey will start at Double-A Bowie. Harvey will pitch four innings in his next outing.
Showalter also said the Orioles still intend to break camp with 12 pitchers, including five starters. Cobb, of course, won’t be in the group.
Update: Jonathan Schoop hit a solo home run off Luis Cessa with two outs in the first inning, his sixth of the spring, to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.