Orioles spring training mailbag leftovers for breakfast

SARASOTA, Fla. – The fan excitement over spring training has spilled over to the mailbag, which also is spilling.

Time for some mailbag leftovers for breakfast, a mash-up for this side of the site.

Same editing rules – little to none – and same appreciation of your participation.

What did catcher Maverick Handley do to make the Orioles mad at him and not place him on the 40-man roster?
The Orioles didn’t protect anyone in the Rule 5 draft and got away unscathed. They like Handley. He’s in camp. But they rolled the dice that he’d remain in the organization.

What's the early consensus regarding Jackson Holliday? Has it changed from the previous proclamation that he may break camp?
Holliday isn’t promised a spot on the Opening Day roster. He’s competing for it. Nothing has changed. He may break camp.

Would the O’s consider Heston Kjerstad or Colton Cowser in a fourth outfielder role?
Yes. That’s what they’re doing, along with Kyle Stowers and Ryan McKenna. They must decide whether to carry four or five. Only a team suddenly so deep in young talent would even think for a few seconds about sending Cowser or Stowers back to the minors with the way they're hitting.

In your opinion, Dr. Roch, will Kyle Bradish pitch for the Orioles at all this year?
Actual doctors don’t know. Who am I to make any proclamations? I only play a doctor on television. Perhaps you’ve seen my Celebrex ads.

Have you met with anyone from the new ownership group yet? No, not Cal.
Cal who? No, I haven’t. I’m sure it’s a priority. I have stuff to say.

Do you think the Orioles farm system will continue to rank among the best five for the ensuing 10 years?
It could tumble because the Orioles probably won’t be drafting in the top five. But they’ve done a really nice job in the later rounds, too. Mike Elias advises you to enjoy the No. 1 spot while it lasts. And honestly, that’s a good thing. The price of annual contention.

Is Jorge Mateo getting outfield work on the back fields?
Yes. And the front one. He started in center Sunday in Bradenton.

When is Yennier Cano going to pitch in a spring training game? Asking for a friend.
I asked Brandon Hyde on Friday, and he said Cano is healthy and throwing side sessions. The club is just easing him into games after last summer’s heavy workload. "Just the innings that he had thrown. We've got almost a month to go still, so we're just letting him get his side work in and we'll get him into games soon." Straight from the manager’s mouth. And Cano finally pitched yesterday.

What are the new hit/extra-base hit/home run celebrations going to look like? Any insight?
I asked some players whether the homer hose was going the way of the dodo bird. Apparently so, though that isn’t official, and they haven’t chosen a new theme. The splash zone remains, no matter what they do.

Any new funky training equipment down there this year? I guess all those old pitching strings are in the landfill now.
I saw the strings in front of one plate on the six-pack mounds.  Wish I could remember what Bruce Zimmermann called it, but he was carrying a large plastic tube with liquid that he said was used for training. Unbalanced weight. It was yellowish in color and I thought maybe the Orioles were going overboard with players’ urine samples.

Do all Orioles MLB and system players have to follow a particular diet that is implemented and monitored by a dietitian during spring training, the season and the off-season?
Not all players are built the same, but I’m sure nutritional plans are designed for some guys – especially the younger ones. However, they aren’t assigned a dietitian roommate who slaps a bag of chips out of their hands.

How many rookies make the opening day roster: 0, 1, 2 or 3?
Well, I’m counting three top contenders in Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad and Jackson Holliday. I’m guessing one or two. That’s all you get out of me.

With the caveat that it's still really early in spring training and we haven't seen either of them yet, what do you think are the odds that Kolten Wong and/or Julio Teheran make the Opening Day roster?
I think fairly high that at least one makes it. I wouldn’t be floored if it’s two. I can confirm that it’s early.

Does it feel like Ryan McKenna's roster spot is dependent on how comfortable they are putting Jorge Mateo in center field once in a while?
McKenna’s chances could be hurt if Mateo is viewed as dependable backup in center and left. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that, but I don’t know about “dependent.”

Which current Orioles player would be considered a future manager?
Well, Tyler Nevin has the bloodlines with his father, Phil. I think James McCann would be outstanding. A catcher who understands all facets of the game, a leader who commands respect, smart, a good temperament, terrific with the media. But I have no idea if he wants to do it.

Is there a world where Jackson Holliday, Jordan Westburg, Ramón Urias and Jorge Mateo all make the team?
That world does, indeed, exist. I can’t say whether we’re living in it, but yes.

How does Holliday look to you at the plate? How is he adjusting to playing second?
Better. And better. Making more solid contact at the plate. He’s smart to seek counseling from Kolten Wong on playing second. He’s smart and athletic and an intense worker. It won’t overwhelm him.

Cowser, Kjerstad, McKenna, Stowers. Who goes north?
At least one of them. Don’t know which, or whether the Orioles keep four or five outfielders. I’m playing it safe, which I understand is annoying. I would recommend to Kjerstad and McKenna that they heat up, cause the other two are vying for spring training MVP.

With a pitch clock change coming, what will you do with extra 256 seconds you will get back for daily activities?
Now that I’m 60, more bathroom breaks. Oh, I thought you said 2 hours and 56 seconds. Never mind.

Do you foresee any trades of either middle infielders or outfielders to acquire more pitching (starters or relievers)? We seem to have a glut of guys with no options remaining.
It’s possible, though Mike Elias also could simply pluck a pitcher off waivers or make another one of those cash trades. I see the logic in trading a player who’s out of options rather than possibly losing him to a waiver claim, but it takes two to strike a deal.

Tyler Nevin is looking pretty good. How about he goes north instead of Ryan McKenna?
Two different skill sets. They aren’t interchangeable. McKenna is valuable for his speed and defense at all three outfield positions.

Will any stadium upgrades be in place in time for Opening Day, specifically the video board and speaker system?
Too soon. Not for your question, to make the upgrades. But it’s going to happen – hopefully while I’m still covering the team. Otherwise, selfishly, I’m indifferent.

That’s not a question.

Do we obsess too much over spring training radar readings for pitchers?
Yes, yes we do. But the guys reaching triple digits in their first outings or making significant jumps, like Cole Irvin, ruin it for everyone. The norm is for guys to gradually elevate to their typical ranges, which, yes, means reductions in a first start or two. Arms are being built up, so they don't blow out. And Grayson Rodriguez told the media Sunday in Bradenton that he was focusing on rhythm and timing. Another reason why we have exhibition games.

How many players have played 10 years for just the Orioles?
This is a fun activity. I'll go first: Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr., Rich Dauer and Scott McGregor - who came in a trade with the Yankees but only played in the majors with the Orioles. OK, who's next?

The players had the home run chain, then the Homer Hose. Any idea what the plan is for 2024?
I addressed this earlier. They don’t know, so I don’t know. I did ask a few guys. The hose happened organically.

How did you survive without Yume? Alternative?
I walked to the building, looked through the window, saw that only the bar remained, and shed a tear. Then I kept going until I reached Hyde Park Steakhouse, hanging a left on Lemon Street, and paid $20 for a Maker's Mark Manhattan. There are a few good sushi places, including Pac Rim, but Yume was my go-to. In protest, I’ve picked up Publix sushi twice.

I've seen James McCann bat third and fourth in games. Is the plan to move him up the order?
Do not, as Brandon Hyde stressed, read too much into spring training lineups. It's just a method to get McCann more at-bats before he comes out of games. Other players do it, too. And also, to improve his chances of seeing an opposing team's actual starter rather than one of the minor league replacements who isn't projected to make the Opening Day roster.

If the Moon was indeed made of cheese, what would be the type? Blue? Swiss? Would the dark side be different than the other? What’s the cutoff point?
This is probably a good place to stop.

If MASN no longer exists after the sale of the team, where will we go? There's a lot of folks that want this blog to continue, at least in some fashion.
Maybe I can turn it into a fashion blog. The swimsuit issue would be interesting. You all go first. And this is definitely a good place to stop.

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