Hunter Harvey doesn’t know whether he’s going to be a reliever or a starter with the Orioles after he reports to spring training in February. He still hasn’t been told anything at this point.
Harvey prefers the bullpen and is anticipating the same role as the one he held in seven major league appearances after the Orioles called him up. He’s just waiting for confirmation.
“Nothing’s set in stone that I’ll stay in the bullpen, but I kind of hope that I do,” Harvey said last night while calling into the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan.
The unknown hasn’t impacted how he’s approached the offseason.
“For me, either starter or reliever, I’m going to have the same program and doing the same things that I’ve always been doing, just preparing myself,” he said. “Whatever role comes my way, I’ll be prepared.”
What exactly is a typical Hunter Harvey offseason program?
“Well, we get up early in the morning and we deer hunt,” Harvey said, “and then we go to the gym about 11 o’clock and then we go back to deer hunting.”
Sounds like a plan.
“I’ve got a personal trainer I work with, and that’s five days a week,” he said. “I’m starting to play catch and get my arm going again.”
The workouts include sessions with his father, former major league closer Bryan Harvey.
“We’re really trying to nail the splitter down,” Hunter said. “That was his kind of bread-and-butter pitch when he played, so that’s something we’re trying to push a little bit harder and figure it out because that’s a good pitch. You can work to lefties or righties.
“My curveball’s kind of been my go-to, but sometimes it’s a little tougher to get swings and misses compared to that splitty, because the splitty just comes out of your hand and rides up like the fastball before it drops off. So that’s one of my big goals this offseason is just working on the splitter and trying to get it dialed in.”
* Super-utility player Stevie Wilkerson also called into the show, which led to this exchange regarding his incredible, acrobatic catch at Fenway Park on the final day of the season that robbed Jackie Bradley Jr. of a home run.
Me: “Be honest, how many times have you watched the replay of your catch?
* The Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization made the Aaron Brooks signing official yesterday. Brooks thanked the Orioles in a subsequent tweet for giving him a chance to pitch this season.
Meanwhile, I’ve heard that the deal likely will be finalized later today.
Brooks will make $679,000 according to a report out of Korea. He was paid $560,000 this summer and still hadn’t reached arbitration eligibility.
The Tigers offer Brooks more than a raise. He also can start for them, while the Orioles seemed more likely to put him in the bullpen if he stayed on the 40-man roster.
The buyout seems to indicate that Brooks was on shaky ground.
A reminder here that the 40-man roster is down to 35 players and must be set by Nov. 20.
* In case you missed the news over the weekend, the Orioles lost another member of their family with the passing of infielder Bob “Rocky” Johnson at 83.
Johnson spent five seasons with the Orioles and was part of the 1966 championship team. He also played for the Athletics (Kansas City and Oakland), Senators, Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Reds.
Johnson was battling Parkinson’s disease.
* Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias will be the featured guest speaker at the Delmarva Shorebirds’ 19th annual Hot Stove Banquet on Jan. 23 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury. The event runs from 6-9 p.m.
Orioles director of minor league operations Kent Qualls and Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters also will speak.
Preferred tables of eight cost $400 or on an individual basis for $50. All tickets must be purchased in advance and availability is limited.
For more information and to purchase Hot Stove Banquet tickets, call 410-219-3112 or visit theshorebirds.com.
Update: The Orioles announced that Brooks cleared unconditional release waivers and will pursue an opportunity with the Kia Tigers.