SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said he anticipates having everyone in camp Sunday besides catcher Jesús Sucre and pitcher Gregory Infante, who remain in Venezuela. The first full-squad workout will be held Monday.
An illness is preventing Infante from boarding a flight to the United States.
“What I just heard this morning is all signs are getting positive, he’s feeling better,” Hyde said. “I think we’re still waiting on a timetable of when they feel like is the right time to have him travel over here.”
Chris Davis dressed at his locker this morning but was held out of workouts for one more day while recovering from bouts of the flu and bronchitis. He’s feeling much better.
Richard Bleier threw his second bullpen session since pitchers and catchers reported, held back an extra day as a precaution after undergoing lat surgery in June.
“We’re just going to be careful with him,” Hyde said. “He’s obviously really important to our club. All the reports are everything went really well today. I stood behind and watched him. The ball was coming out great.
“Everything I’ve heard is he’s on the right track.”
Also throwing today were Pedro Araujo, Alex Cobb, Mike Wright Jr., Yefry Ramírez and Zach Pop in the first group; Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens, Josh Lucas and Bo Schultz in the second group; and Josh Rogers, Donnie Hart, John Means, Paul Fry and Chris Lee in the third group.
The first exhibition game will be played in exactly one week versus the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium.
“I think once you get through those live BPs, you’re really ready for games to start,” Hyde said. “It’s like, you’ve been out here for 10, 11, 12 days and it’s time to start seeing another jersey.”
There are no plans to play an intrasquad game prior to the spring opener.
“Just the way our live BPs have kind of lined up,” Hyde said. “I think in the next couple days, if we feel like we have too many innings, then that’s a possibility. We might have something late the day before, but as of right now, there are so many games and so much time to look.”
Outfielder Yusniel Díaz, the top prospect in the organization, isn’t likely to break camp with the team but he’s competing as if it’s a possibility.
“The whole purpose for me being here is to try and make the team, from the very beginning, make the roster, get along my teammates, help my team,” Díaz said through translator Ramón Alarcón. “That is the whole purpose of my being here.”
Díaz came to the Orioles in the Manny Machado trade, and a rebuild improves his chances of playing in the majors in 2019.
“Definitely, I see more opportunities here,” he said. “I’m excited about that. I’m very happy that I’m here, so I’m trying to take advantage of that opportunity and project myself better here.”
Díaz, a native of Cuba who turned 22 in October, slashed .314/.428/.477 in 59 games at Double-A Tulsa. The transition to a new team and league didn’t go smoothly. He hit .239/.329/.403 in 38 games with Bowie, though it didn’t wreck his prospect status in an organization starved for a player with his tools and ceiling.
“I didn’t feel disappointed,” he said. “Unfortunately, those are the kind of things that happen in baseball, the ups and downs, but I’m looking forward to having a good spring training.
Díaz downplays the challenges of switching organizations, saying, “It wasn’t so difficult.”
“It’s the same game, the same sport, the same baseball,” he added. “Everything else is going to be taken care of on the field.”
It’s hard to imagine Díaz showing up in better shape after working out in Miami. The kid is solid as a rock. Muscle overlapping more muscle.
Díaz is listed a 6 foot 1 and 195 pounds, but he appears a little shorter and stockier.
“The offseason went really well,” he said. “I was able to work on my hitting mechanics, I was able to strengthen my body a little bit more, so I think it was a really good offseason for me.
“I maintained the same weight. The difference is I added more muscle to my frame.”