SARASOTA, Fla. - The rain and chill in the air didn’t prevent the Orioles from having a productive first workout for their pitchers and catchers. It just had the beat crew scrambling to find warmth.
I’ll say it again: Florida cold is different than anywhere else. Same temperature in Baltimore and I’d be sleeveless.
Richard Bleier broke out his cutter for his latest bullpen session. No one was electrocuted while working the video equipment.
Brockmeyer, 27, signed a minor league deal with the Orioles in late January after batting a combined .304/.378/.415 in 73 games with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. The former 16th round pick had been in the Cubs system, linking him to manager Brandon Hyde and coach Tim Cossins.
Sucre’s absence from camp and the removal of his nameplate above his locker created a bit of a media stir.
“As far as I know it’s just a visa issue and I’m not sure of the reason behind it,” Hyde said. “It’s pretty common, but that’s all I know.”
No one else on the roster is facing the same hurdles. Sucre appears to be the only one detained.
“I think we’re fully go there,” Hyde said.
“We know what Sucre can do and I think we’ve all seen him the last few years,” Hyde said. “I was disappointed that he wasn’t here and I’m looking forward to him getting here.”
Hyde, a former catcher, didn’t limit his focus today to the 15 pitchers who threw bullpen sessions in the rain. He also paid close attention to the guys behind the plates.
“Yeah, guilty, in that I was a catcher, right?” he said. “My eyes always go to the catchers early. I watch everything, but yeah, catching was a passion of mine and is a passion of mine.
“Me and Cos talk a lot about our catching situation and we’re looking forward to digging in with these six guys.”
Nate Karns seems to have the inside track on the fourth spot in the rotation as long as he stays healthy. The fifth spot really is up for grabs with the candidates including David Hess, Yefry Ramírez, Josh Rogers, Dillon Tate, Luis Ortiz, Jimmy Yacabonis, Gabriel Ynoa and John Means.
“I think it’s pretty open, honestly,” Hyde said. “I talked to the guys about it this morning. It’s a great opportunity for everybody in camp. There are a lot of jobs to be won and I don’t think really anything is set in stone, so we’re going to have a big evaluation process here in the next six weeks and go to New York with who we think is ready to make the club. I think it’s going to be a great competition for all these guys.”
Asked what he’s looking for while making a decision, Hyde replied, “Before game starts for me is healthy.
“Obviously, from now until we break, the health is a big part,” he said. “I want us to break healthy. It’s just going to be a ton of evaluating. With me being new, with a lot of new staff, with obviously Mike (general manager Mike Elias) being new, we’re going to be evaluating for the next four weeks and looking forward to watching these guys compete and make the right decisions when they come.”
It’s early for Hyde to make any pronouncements on individuals in camp, but he likes the physical stature of his pitchers.
“I’m impressed by the size we have in our camp,” he said. “You look at, like, (Cody) Carroll. It’s long and lanky and ball really comes out. I think the size that we have in camp is really impressive.
“I know they’re itching to go today. I was just excited to watch them throw instead of on video. Watch them throw in person for the first time.”
Their every move was recorded on high-speed cameras set up behind the mounds. The collection of data to be dispersed later has started, rain or shine.
“Just a start,” Hyde said, smiling. “It’s some machines that are pretty commonplace now to just evaluate their pitches, pretty much.”
Each day will bring a new round of questions regarding Hyde’s first season as a major league manager. His first camp with the title. The first time that he’s been in charge.
He’s taking it all in stride. The responsibilities and the inquiries.
What are the challenges of being the “new sheriff,” as one media member worded it?
“Well, new,” he replied, another smile creasing his face. “Obviously, first time going through this. Embracing it, loving it.
“Think we’re off to a great start. But anytime you go through something for the first time, there’s going to be things you wish you did differently. I’m just trying to create a great environment, bottom line. A great work environment. Guys that want to compete. Get staff together and everybody on the same page and pulling from the same rope.
“I think those are the challenges, to get everybody in the building going in the right direction, in what you believe it, so that’s what we’re working on daily.”
Nate Karns, in his first workout with his new team, pitches alongside Gabriel Ynoa.
Richard Bleier threw off both flat ground and a mound during the initial pitchers workouts of the 2019 camp.
Pitchers and catchers get their stretching done.