SARASOTA, Fla. - With veteran infielder Alcides Escobar expected in the clubhouse this morning, the Orioles media will have an easy note or main story teed up on the second day of full-squad workouts.
Infante is a long shot to make the club, but Sucre has a legitimate chance if he can obtain his visa and jump into the competition. The starter, backup or part of a timeshare behind the plate.
There are few certainties in camp, but the Orioles will carry two catchers and at least one will be regarded as a plus defender. The safest of bets this spring.
Also, pitchers will try to wrap their heads around the data coming at them.
“It’s all new to me, but I think it’s going to help all of us reach our potential and it’s going to be helpful in many ways,” said left-hander Paul Fry.
“We had meetings about it and just realizing that there are things you don’t even think about that are out there, information that’s out there, so it’s really cool to see all of it.”
Manager Brandon Hyde has used the first week of camp to get a read on his team. What he’s seeing in the clubhouse and on the fields. How the players are responding to the challenges of operating in a rebuild. How they’re attacking openings on the roster.
“I feel like it’s a lot of guys who are hungry,” he said. “I think guys are feeding off the competition part of how this camp is laid out. I see a lot of energy. I like the way the guys moved around (yesterday). There was a hop in everybody’s step and I think that’s kind of been the message from us. They’ve taken it well and so that’s how I see things right now.”
The few veterans on the team can be assets to Hyde beyond whatever production they offer in the lineup.
“I was talking to Mark (Trumbo) after we did the outfield stuff and I want his feedback, I want Chris (Davis’) feedback,” Hyde said.
“I’ve coordinated major league camps for quite a few years now and I’m always looking for veteran help. I never feel like I have all the answers. I wanted when I was with the Cubs those guys’ opinions. I’d call them at night, I’d talk to them in the morning during stretch. Making sure that the guys that have been established big league players, that have pitched and played in big moments, I wanted their feedback all the time and that’s the same way here.”
Here are a few more leftovers from the first week:
Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias on whether veteran starters could become trade chips:
“Look, realistically, every front office in baseball is constantly eyeing every market - the free agent market, the trade market. That’s our job, that’s what we’re here to do and we will take those things as they come, but they’re going to help us.
“Right now, I’m glad they’re here in the rotation. We need their help and they’re good guys. They’re leaders for our guys, but obviously we will assess things as we get into the season and the trade deadline.”
Elias on how guys like Trey Mancini and Dylan Bundy suddenly are veterans on a young club:
“It’s part of what happens when you have a young team like this. I think that Trey, in particular, sounds like he’s sort of excited about it. He’s been here. He’s had success already at the major league level, even though that he’s young. It’s just a part of your career growing.
“I haven’t had the conversation with Dylan Bundy about it yet, but everything I’ve heard about him is he’s a confident guy and he’s eager to embrace that mantle, too. Sometimes in your career you get thrust into positions of leadership a little bit earlier than you expect and it ultimately helps you grow.”
Hyde on whether he has enough time to evaluate everyone:
“Yeah, yeah. These next six weeks are going to be really, really important and we’re going to dive into every single guy. Obviously, our roster’s not set and I think that we’re going to go on past history.
“Past history is really, really important. But also see how these guys work and not overevaluate their performance and their statistics in spring training, but just watching them to see how they go about their business, as well as combining that with what they’ve done in the past. I think that’s all going to be part of the evaluation process.”
Hunter Harvey on whether he’s in camp to compete for a spot in the rotation:
“My mindset always is coming into camp to compete for a spot. It just helps knowing that you’re competing and trying to make the team. It’s just something to work for.”
Chris Lee on whether he needs to know his role in order to prepare for the season:
“I take every offseason the same. Just prepare my body to make sure I’m ready for this marathon and do my best throughout the year.”