Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson is enjoying a successful stint managing in one of baseball’s winter leagues.
Dickerson has been named Manager of the Year in the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League after guiding Gigantes del Cibao to a first-place finish in the six-team division. The news came from the team’s Twitter account.
Gigantes del Cibao advanced to the round robin playoffs, which began yesterday.
Dickerson, 51, turned down several opportunities to manage in the winter before accepting the latest offer from Gigantes first-year general manager Ismael Cruz, the Dodgers’ vice president of international scouting. His roster includes Orioles minor leaguer Garabez Rosa and Rule 5 outfielder Aneury Tavarez, and his coaching staff includes Orioles coach Einar Diaz.
Single-A Frederick first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez appeared in seven games and went 8-for-25 (.320).
Tavarez batted .283/.349/.362 with three doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in 46 games.
* At last count, there were five Orioles appearing on tentative rosters for the World Baseball Classic - Adam Jones (USA), Manny Machado (Dominican Republic), Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands), Hyun Soo Kim (Korea) and Mychal Givens (USA). Closer Zach Britton turned down an offer from Team USA to spend more time with his family.
The final rosters aren’t set until February, with the games scheduled for March 9-22. Kim was included on a list of names provided by South Korea manager Kim In-sik in November, but the outfielder is still deciding whether to participate. It isn’t a certainty at this point.
This isn’t an easy decision.
I’m sure Kim is feeling some pressure to represent his country and it’s an honor to do so, but he also knows that he would benefit from a full spring training while approaching his second season in the U.S.
Kim is continuing to work on improving his defense in left field and is trying to show the Orioles that he’s more than a platoon player. He failed to get a hit in 18 at-bats against left-handers in 2016.
Givens probably is a bigger concern to the Orioles because he’s a pitcher who will be placed on a more competitive schedule in the WBC and therefore at greater risk for injury. He’s going to be dialed up much earlier than in the usual spring training routine.
Players must receive permission to participate in the WBC and the Orioles won’t stand in anyone’s way, though they’d obviously prefer having a full camp roster.
* The minicamp roster hasn’t been officially set because the Orioles remain in the process of receiving permission from the union before sending out invitations. About 17 players are expected to gather next month at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota. Ten are confirmed.
Givens may show up again because he can make the drive from his home in Tampa.
Outfielder Joey Rickard is likely to be included so the Orioles can check on his right thumb. The news so far has been encouraging. Rickard is making a full recovery without having to undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament.
* Hunter Harvey started his throwing program on Monday, as previously reported, while recovering from ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. He’ll spend the first month playing catch from 45 feet before expanding the distance. A more “normal” throwing program will follow in spring training.
Harvey could pitch late in the 2017 season or wait until the Arizona Fall League.
The Orioles currently are leaning toward not bringing Harvey to the minicamp, choosing instead to let him throw at his home in North Carolina.
* The Orioles still don’t know who’s playing right field on opening day. They maintain interest in the same group of free agents that already has been reported, including Michael Saunders, Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn and Rajai Davis.
Dariel Alvarez goes on the list of in-house candidates, but he’s also a possibility to come off the 40-man roster. He’s 28 and still known mostly for his plus-plus arm, which intrigues the Orioles to the point of debating whether he should convert to pitcher.
It hasn’t happened yet, but I’d bring him to minicamp and point him toward one of the mounds on the practice field. Let new pitching coach Roger McDowell and bullpen coach Alan Mills take a look at him. Special assignment pitching instructor Ramon Martinez also is expected to be in Sarasota.
Alvarez batted .308/.317/.451 with 11 doubles, a triple, five home runs and 34 RBIs in 49 games with Tigres de Aragua in Venequela. He may be approaching his final chance to convince the Orioles that he can play the outfield in the majors - assuming it hasn’t already passed.