SARASOTA, Fla. - The competition for a spot or two in the back end of the Orioles rotation is ongoing and intriguing given the number of candidates and their varying pedigrees. Manager Brandon Hyde has a long way to go before coming to any conclusions, though he keeps getting asked about it less than a week into the exhibition schedule.
“Still really early,” Hyde said. “I’ve been around long enough to know that you can take only so much stock in spring training. I’ve seen guys have unbelievable spring trainings, hit a ton of homers and start the year 2-for-30 and never get back to the big leagues, or guys being lights out in spring training on the mound and really struggling when the season starts. Or vice-versa.
“More times than not probably vice-versa, where guys have poor camps but are really, really good players. Just for some reason don’t have very good spring trainings. So I’m aware of all that kind of stuff.
“I don’t want to put too much stock into the results, but I am putting a lot of stock in showing their stuff and showing their aggressiveness, the kind of at-bats we take offensively, how they run the bases.”
Mike Wright has thrown four scoreless innings over two appearances and wants to return to his starter roots. Yefry Ramirez has allowed one run and two hits in four innings. David Hess gave up a run and three hits over two innings. Jimmy Yacabonis struck out three batters over two scoreless innings.
Keep ‘em coming.
“With Mike Wright, I love seeing what I saw (Tuesday),” Hyde said. “I just hope he continues to progress that through spring training and make us, when we have to sit down and make decisions, that we have a lot of guys to pick from for those spots. That’s a good thing.”
* Hyde was asked this week if he’s been surprised by anything or anyone in camp. He zeroed in on the pitchers.
“I like our size and our stuff,” he replied. “I think we have a bunch of guys with upside. Just from the first bullpen, me and Broc (Doug Brocail) said, ‘We have some big guys, we have some horses. With good arms.’ So that was a pleasant surprise.
“Starters come in all shapes and sizes, obviously, but when you see an intimidating, big guy on the mound that’s going to be able to be durable, I think that’s great. I feel like we have some guys who fall into that category.”
* Hyde was a coach in Chicago under manager Joe Maddon and learned how a catchy slogan can wind up on a T-shirt. Maddon was a master at it and Hyde said he has six duffel bags filled with them in his attic.
“That’s no lie, either,” Hyde said. “That’s not sarcastic.”
Hyde might feel pressured to do the same with the Orioles.
“I wish I was that creative,” he said. “I think we’re going to come up with some stuff. I haven’t identified exactly what that is, yet. We’re just still trying to find an identity, and our identity right now is to be aggressive, play smart but with your hair on fire a little bit in the sense that I want guys to compete every single day.
“I need to come up with a slogan for that. I just want guys to play hard.”
* I’m closing this entry on a much more serious note.
Five years ago today, Orioles PR director Monica Pence Barlow passed away after a 4 1/2 year battle with Stage 4 lung cancer. It always hits me hard, but especially now after losing my father.
A LUNGevity T-shirt hangs in Chris Davis’ locker, one that the Orioles wore on this date during batting practice and fielding drills.
There aren’t a lot of people left in the organization who knew Monica.
The newcomers need to be told about her and truly understand why Feb. 28 is so important to the rest of us. The tears that were shed. The magnitude of her loss.