Observations from Orioles spring training and updating Ortiz

SARASOTA, Fla. - The first official day of Orioles camp is Wednesday morning, but players took batting practice, shagged fly balls and did some running earlier today on the back fields. A nice turnout before noon.

Position players already here include Mark Trumbo, Trey Mancini and Mike Yastrzemski. Mancini has been assigned Adam Jones’ old locker in the far corner of the clubhouse.

Jones’ absence while remaining on the free agent market was noted by multiple players. One of them said he glanced over to the locker and thought, “No way!”

No one in camp, which holds 60 players, has been assigned No. 10. However pitching coach Doug Brocail is wearing No. 26, which belonged to former manager Buck Showalter.

If you’re into uniform numbers, Rule 5 infielders Richie Martin and Drew Jackson have been assigned Nos. 1 and 6, respectively. Rio Ruiz is wearing No. 14, Hanser Alberto 35, Nate Karns 36, Jesús Sucre 40, Branden Kline 52, Gregory Infante 53, Dillon Tate 55, Gabriel Ynoa 64, Chris Bostick 68, Josh Lucas 70, Zach Vincej 71, Martin Cervenka 72, Bo Schultz 73, Carlos Pérez 74, Yastrzemski 75, Ryan Mountcastle 76, Dean Kremer 77, Ryan McKenna 78, Zach Pop 79 and Yusniel Díaz 80.

The Orioles announced the signing of Eric Young Jr. to a minor league deal with a spring invite, which was reported yesterday on MASNsports.com, but his number hasn’t been revealed. Continue to breathe normally.

Manager Brandon Hyde and his coaches already are engaged in one-on-one meetings with players that will continue throughout the day.

Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said there’s a good chance that the camp roster is set, but lots of players remain on the free agent market and he continues to monitor it.

Elias is happy with the competition that’s been set up, especially at catcher, a position that must include at least one plus-defender.

Trumbo took batting practice and reported that his surgically repaired right knee continues to feel good. He just needs to start sprints for further confirmation.

It’s been an eventful offseason for Trumbo, including his status as a first-time father.

Jimmy Yacabonis said he hasn’t been told whether he’s a starter or reliever, but knows that his pitch counts will increase in order to keep him available for both roles.

Luis Ortiz has reported to camp in, yes, the best shape of his life. Somebody had to say it.

Ortiz-Throws-Black-Sidebar.jpgOrtiz said he dropped 25 lbs. over the winter, mostly due to “eating right,” and his weight is around 247 lbs. He knew the conditioning questions were coming, especially after he sustained a hamstring injury while covering first base, and he handled them with ease.

“The offseason went real well,” said Ortiz, part of the package acquired from the Brewers for second baseman Jonathan Schoop. “Everyone’s going to ask, ‘How’s the weight, how’s the hamstring?’ The weight’s good. I lost a lot of pounds this offseason and the hammy ... I feel amazing.

“I got my taste of the big leagues last year and it didn’t go like I wanted to, but I learned from it. Experienced it and it didn’t feel right body-wise. Now I’m here and experiencing it and I feel like I’m ready.”

His tastes at the dinner table were adjusted.

“Just the portion size, cutting down the portion size,” he said. “Especially going to sleep. Eating before 8 o’clock, making sure I don’t have anything in my stomach.”

How difficult were the sacrifices?

“Really hard, really hard,” he said with a laugh.

The motivation to shed pounds and a reputation for poor conditioning that endangered his career enabled Ortiz to stick with his diet.

“When I was a kid growing up and going through what I went through coming up through the minors, I only wanted to hear what I wanted to hear and it got me to a point where I got big, I got out of shape,” Ortiz said.

“I wasn’t in shape. I didn’t take an offseason right until this year. I took it serious. Cutting the weight was a key factor for me.”

An added push came at home, away from the baseball field. He needed only to look at his daughter and son, turning 3 and 1 in a month, to avoid culinary temptations.

“My motivation is to grind every day for them,” he said.

Ortiz, 23, made one start for the Orioles among his two major league appearances in September and limped off the mound with a hamstring injury after allowing three runs (one earned) and four hits in 1 2/3 innings. He’s competing for a job in the back end of the rotation, the chances for a young pitcher enhanced by the club’s rebuilding status.

“This whole organization’s on the rebuild,” he said. “I was part of the Milwaukee rebuild and got traded over to Baltimore last year, and being here and being part of his rebuild means a lot to all these guys. Especially all the young guys here. It means a lot to be in this clubhouse and fighting for a spot.”

Ed-Smith-Stadium-offices-exterior.jpgThe sun peeks through the clouds at the Ed Smith Stadium complex on the day pitchers and catchers report to Orioles spring training.

Castro-Heads-to-Workout.jpgReliever Miguel Castro heads off to a workout at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota.

blog comments powered by Disqus