SARASOTA, Fla. - Richie Martin arrived at the complex this morning, glanced at the board and found out that he’s working out at third base.
The rotating of Orioles infielders in camp is putting Martin at the hot corner.
Manager Brandon Hyde indicated yesterday that Martin would be kept at shortstop and second base, but the former Rule 5 pick is going to take ground balls at a new position.
“I’ve messed around over there, but I’ve never really learned the position, so that’s going to take some time with Flo (José Flores) and communicating with Rio (Ruiz) and Nunie (Renato Núñez), just getting angles and little stuff like that.
“But at the end of the day, you’ve got to catch the ball and throw the ball to first. But I’m talking about more game-like stuff, like angles and where to play certain guys.”
Martin knows that the ball arrives much faster at third, though not necessarily in a workout setting. Fungos won’t be scorched.
“It’s different technique,” he said. “You’ve got to catch the ball regardless of where you’re at, but third, the ball’s hit a little harder, so there’s a little different technique. You just want to catch the ball at third. It’s a lot more one-hand stuff at shortstop. It’s all about getting your feet in the right position to get good angles and throw to first.”
Martin gained some experience at second base in the minors, but he played only shortstop with the Orioles as a rookie. He’s worked out at both positions in camp.
“Short’s my primary position, but I’m comfortable anywhere,” he said. “A lot of the shifts from short, I’m on the second base side, so I think the big thing is just getting the visual and seeing balls off the bat from that side consistently. Yeah, I’m good.”
José Iglesias is the starting shortstop after signing his one-year deal with a club option for 2021. Martin would have to play second or third in order to remain in the lineup.
Hanser Alberto currently projects as the starting second baseman and Ruiz could get more opportunities at third.
“It’s tough for me to say because I can’t put myself in a position to make those calls or think about stuff like that,” said Martin, who might stick as a utility player or become the regular shortstop at Triple-A Norfolk.
“If they’ve got me working at second that day, I’m going to just work at second. Or shortstop. But regardless, I don’t think I can put myself in a position to even think about making that decision.”
* Hunter Harvey still isn’t full-go in workouts while recovering from flu-like symptoms that began last Thursday. He had a light workout yesterday and could increase his activities later today.
“I feel really good now,” he said.
“I think they’re kind of working me in now. They don’t want to just throw me in all the way yet. Played catch yesterday, did a little conditioning and everything felt good. So probably do a little bit more today and just kind of work back into it.”
Davis is being sent back home today.
“First day was tough,” Harvey said. “I felt really good the second day and was like, ‘All right, I might be able to come back.’ I woke up the next morning and I was like, ‘I can’t go anywhere. There’s no way.’ And then Monday I felt better but they wanted to give me one more day to make sure I didn’t come in and get anybody else sick. They gave me an extra day and I feel awesome now.
“They said I had all the symptoms of the flu, but I don’t know. I tried to take all the precautions and still got it somehow.”
Harvey hasn’t been told how many innings he’s going to throw in camp or whether there’s a cap during the regular season.
“We haven’t really talked a whole lot about the season yet. We’re just trying to get through the spring.
“I don’t have a plan yet. Right now it’s wide open.”
* Adley Rutschman joined the early workout for catchers this morning and attended a hitters meeting and nutrition meeting before players gathered outside for the third day of full-squad workouts.
Preparation for the minor league season is a “completely different thing” than what he experienced at Oregon State. Earlier starts and longer days.
The instruction also varies.
“I feel like everyone in baseball has a little different way of saying stuff or going about teaching, which is not a bad thing at all,” he said. “It’s great to have new instruction and new ideas. As baseball has evolved over the past couple of years, I feel like there’s a lot of new material that keeps coming out.”
Camp hasn’t reached the grind stage for Rutschman with three days remaining before the first exhibition game.
“This is awesome,” he said. “We’re still in the first couple of weeks. I mean, shoot, if it’s a grind right now, man, I’d feel bad for you.
“It’s going well so far and I’m excited to come to the field every day.”
Rutschman was the first overall pick in the 2019 First-Year Player Draft, the collegiate awards stacked to the ceiling. He’s a top 5 prospect in baseball. The hype machine runs 24/7. But he knows that he isn’t a finished product and is eager to keep learning.
“That’s just the sport of baseball, constantly evolving,” he said. “As a player, I feel like you’re never going to be satisfied with where you’re at. Hitting is one of the toughest things to do. You’re never going to reach an arrival point, per se, so I think there’s always things to improve upon.
“If you ask Mike Trout, I’m sure he’d say he’s still working on stuff.”
Being on the major league side in spring training gives Rutschman valuable exposure to the experienced pitchers before he heads to Twin Lakes Park and awaits his assignment to Single-A Delmarva or Frederick.
“It’s a great learning experience for me,” he said. “I ask each one of them what they want from me and I get to try to accommodate them the best I can. By being able to catch more experienced guys, I feel like it’s a great learning experience for me, too.”
Rutschman hasn’t been told to pick up a check at dinner, so he’s been immune so far to the rookie treatment.
“I’m still waiting,” he said.
Asked how he maintains his perspective while thrust into a major league environment, Rutschman smiled again and said, “The guys around me do a pretty good job of that.”
“I think just having that mindset of there’s always things to improve on. I’m always trying to set goals and achieve goals,” he said. “If you have a growth mindset and you take a look around and count your blessings basically, it keeps you in a good perspective and a good state of mind.
“I’m extremely fortunate to be where I’m at and I try to remember that every day.”