Early notes from the first day of spring training

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles reliever Brad Brach said he still expects to go to his arbitration hearing on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla. He isn't aware of any negotiations to strike a deal.

Talks could resume, of course. The Orioles made a late effort to reach agreement with Caleb Joseph before winning their case, and they signed Kevin Gausman prior to his hearing.

Brach is seeking $3.05 million and the Orioles countered at $2.525 million.

Only pitchers and catchers are required to report today, but the group of position players arriving early include J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Trey Mancini, Christian Walker, Joey Rickard, David Washington and Rule 5 pick Anthony Santander.

Pitchers spotted in the clubhouse during the one-hour media access included Brach, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Gausman, Wade Miley, Dylan Bundy, Chris Lee, Donnie Hart, Jason Garcia, Jesús Liranzo, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Oliver Drake, Logan Ondrusek, Parker Bridwell, T.J. McFarland, Logan Verrett, Jed Bradley, Jayson Aquino and Richard Rodriguez.

Bradley is assigned No. 73. He joked that he wore No. 72 with the Braves and is moving up.

dan-duquette-interview-laugh.jpgExecutive vice president Dan Duquette said he's still looking to improve the club's pitching depth. However, he seemed to be satisfied with the catching depth despite Welington Castillo leaving camp for the World Baseball Classic and an ankle injury that could keep Austin Wynns out of camp until late March.

Duquette said Wynns needs a six-week recovery period from the time of the injury.

Duquette said it's a "great honor" for Castillo to represent the Dominican in the WBC, but "it's not the best development for the Orioles."

Asked again if there's any chance that Matt Wieters returns to the Orioles, Duquette said they made "a choice" when deciding to sign Castillo. It continues to sound as though Wieters won't be back.

Duquette noted how PECOTA again picked the Orioles to finish last and said with a smile, "We've still got a lot of work to do."

Duquette also said Adam Jones hasn't talked to him about the club needing to get more athletic in the outfield corners. He did, however, reference an article from former major league outfielder and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville suggesting that Jones should play deeper in center to improve his defensive metrics.

I'll pass along quotes in my next blog entry. The media is ready to sit down with manager Buck Showalter.

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