Recapping today’s workout, Santander’s second day on the field

The Orioles didn’t play an intrasquad game today, devoting the hours on the field to live batting practice and workout drills.

Alex Cobb threw live BP after John Means started last night. Wade LeBlanc is expected to pitch Thursday night to stay in line for the opening series in Boston.

Anthony Santander stood in the box against Cobb and appeared to be tracking pitches rather than hunting for something to hit. He did the same from the right side against Rob Zastryzny.

Also throwing today during media access was Richard Bleier.

Bleier had a defense behind him and Santander on second base, replicating the rule for extra innings. Santander crossed the plate and was sent to first base to resume his drill.

Mason Williams launched one Zastryzny pitch so deep to right field that teammates participating in live BP voiced their approval at a volume that carried to the next county.

Let’s just say he got all of it.

Less than two weeks remain before opening day as the Orioles work to get their camp roster down to 30 players. The current list includes outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., who hasn’t been cleared for workouts.

Ryan Mountcastle isn’t expected to begin the season with the Orioles, but he’s still playing intrasquad games at Camden Yards. One or two of the catchers will be assigned to the alternate site.

Reliever Evan Phillips wasn’t on the original player pool list of 44 and is trying to state his case for inclusion in the bullpen after missing a chuck of spring training with a sore elbow.

Left-hander Ty Blach is assured of being removed after undergoing Tommy John surgery today.

Cedric Mullins was a later addition and could get squeezed out of the outfield picture with Santander beginning workouts yesterday. Smith’s arrival would further reduce his odds.

Williams also is competing for an outfield spot after being a surprise exclusion from the list of 44.

Dilson Herrera homered last night, a three-run shot off Means, but he’s primarily been playing first base and lacks the versatility of Andrew Velazquez, Pat Valaika and Stevie Wilkerson.

“Those three guys play so many positions that it’s nice for us and we’re going to need that, we’re going to need that in this type of year for sure. Any year, but this is a unique one,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

“I’ve actually put Stevie over at shortstop a couple times just to kind of see what that looks like. He’s taken some ground balls over there. So to have the ability for those three guys to ... And Valaika has played the corner outfield a little bit in Colorado and he takes live reps out there during batting practice.

Andrew-Velazquez-With-Bat-Orange-Sidebar.jpg“Velazquez is real comfortable at short and in center, plays second easily, so that’s huge for us for him to be able to play in the middle of the field. And Stevie also.

“I think it’s a nice competition between guys that can play multiple positions. We’re looking for the versatility. All three of those guy are playing well right now. So as many guys as we can have that can play so many positions is for the better for us.”

The Orioles sent relievers Eric Hanhold and Branden Kline to the alternate site earlier today, perhaps thinning out the bullpen competition. The team does have the freedom to bring back players.

“A few guys have really thrown the ball well,” Hyde said. “Miguel Castro threw the ball great last night again. Upper 90s fastball with a good slider and a good changeup. I like the way Richard Bleier has thrown. Cody Carroll’s thrown the ball well. Tanner Scott has been outstanding. Throwing 98 (mph) with a nasty slider. It’s been fantastic.

“So I think a lot of guys in our group are in a good spot and now it’s just continuing to get them more work, keeping them healthy and hopefully roll into the season ready to go.”

How comfortable is Hyde with his roster options in camp? Only as much as a rushed process will allow.

“I think for the most part we’ve stayed fairly healthy,” he said. “I think everybody else around the league is really nervous about what this last eight or nine days ... We’re a couple weeks in, this is kind of the time during spring training a little bit where guys can get fatigued a little bit and you start worrying about getting to the finish line with everybody healthy. That’s my main concern right now is to having everybody healthy and ready to go on the 24th.

“I think we’ve done a good job up to this point, but there’s still such a long way to go to keep everybody on the field, to stretch out starters. I think anything can happen in this next week, so I’m just trying my best and our coaches are trying their best to keep guys ready, but also to hopefully break this camp healthy.”

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