Norby: "I know how good I am, I know I’m ready for the big leagues, I know I’m ready to make an impact"

SARASOTA, Fla. – Triple-A second baseman Connor Norby isn’t available to play due to some soreness in his side.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Norby is out “a few days.”

“He’s starting to hit,” Hyde said, “and he should be back in there in a few days.”

Norby would be generating a lot more talk in camp if he wasn’t in an organization that’s so rich in young infield talent. He batted .290/.359/.483 with 40 doubles, three triples, 21 home runs and 92 RBIs last summer in 138 games with Triple-A Norfolk.

“It’s funny because a couple years ago we still had Darell (Hernaiz), (César) Prieto and Joey (Ortiz), and we were talking then about how stacked it was, and we’re still talking about it and we have less guys than we used to,” he said. “That’s a credit to the front office. They draft really well, really good players, really good guys. But coming to work every day with these guys, I’m super loyal to them, so it’s a competition. We understand that. We’re fighting for one spot, essentially, but we don’t treat each other like that.

“I’m also a firm believer that I’m going to get better because I’m working with Jackson (Holliday) and Coby (Mayo), and they’re going to get better because they’re working with me. It’s a keep-pushing-each-other mindset. We all want to play in the big leagues together. That would be the dream. We want to join Gunnar (Henderson) and Westy (Jordan Westburg) and all of them. That’s the goal, that’s the dream. We want to play in Baltimore for a long time. It’s a lot of fun working with them every day.”

Norby, a second-round pick in the 2021 draft out of East Carolina, is the No. 6 prospect in the organization but falls outside top 100 rankings.

“You never want to get lost, but I know how good I am, I know I’m ready for the big leagues, I know I’m ready to make an impact,” he said. “It’s God’s plan, God’s timing for when it happens, and I just need to be ready for when my name is called. It’s not ever a jealousy thing. If anything, it motivates you, and I think that’s always good for me. I always find that a little extra motivation doesn’t hurt anyone.

“When you’re around talented players, your game is going to rise, and just like you hope theirs does, too. We’ve just got to keep working. It’s coming, for all of us. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, but it’s not up to us.”

Is there anything Norby, 23, wants to improve on after posting such stellar numbers across the board?

“I always feel like there’s something to work on,” he said. “To be honest, I really didn’t feel great last year until about the end, which is something that I reflected on and I was trying to ask myself why did I feel like that, what were we doing, what was different, what was my mindset, all that. And you kind of evaluate that after the year.

“I had a good year in the grand scheme of things, but for me there’s always more things I could have done. But the way I grinded through it and mentally each night, AB after AB, that’s what I was proud of. But there’s always more I can improve on and that’s what you look to do. That’s what we’re doing in spring training, tweaking some stuff. So, hopefully that takes me to the next step.”

The Orioles are working out Norby at second base, where he’s spent the bulk of his professional career. He hasn’t been moving around but also can play left field.

“They’ve talked about me getting out there and being in left,” he said. “I really didn’t work at all in the outfield in spring training last year, but they told me I’m going to play out there a little bit, which is something that I like doing. It keeps me more versatile, since I’m kind of limited to second base in the infield.

“I’d love to play short, but so would everyone. I played one game in Nashville, but that was last-second, emergency-type situation. But I’ll go take some ground balls there from time to time, just to work on some stuff, footwork-wise.”

Holliday has been working out at second base and gets the start today. Henderson is recovering from some oblique soreness and Westburg is on the bench.

“We’re just going to watch him early a little bit,” Hyde said of Holliday. “He’s still getting to know second base. We just want him to be comfortable, and then as we go through camp, maybe some more details about the position and go off questions. But we just want to watch him play right now.”

Relievers listed behind Corbin Burnes today are Garrett Stallings, Mike Baumann, Jonathan Heasley and Nick Vespi.

Cole Irvin starts Sunday against the Pirates’ Mitch Keller in Bradenton. Ryan Mountcastle will be in Sunday’s lineup.

“I can play nine guys to start the game, so a little bit of rotating early,” Hyde said.

Hyde warned against reading too much into any exhibition lineup.

“Let’s just put it out there right now because we say this every year, the lineup and the order and all that stuff, the pitching order, what the lineup looks like, that has nothing to do with how the season’s going to go,” he said.

“I’ve got (James) McCann hitting second or third tomorrow because I’m trying to get him at-bats, those types of things. So, what the batting order looks like a month-plus from now, I have no idea at this point.”

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