Hyde wanted to get through a handful of full-squad workouts before making his decision.
Eshelman rejoined the Orioles on a minor league deal last month. He made 12 appearances in 2020, including four starts, and tied Travis Lakins Sr. for the team lead with three wins. He also registered a 3.89 ERA and 1.240 WHIP in 34 2/3 innings.
The Orioles designated Eshelman for assignment in November and claimed outfielder/first baseman Chris Shaw off waivers from the Giants. Eshelman refused his outright assignment, checked the free agent market and came back to the Orioles.
“Ultimately, the opportunity is one of the biggest (reasons), but also familiarity with everybody there,” Eshelman told MASNsports.com last month.
“I’ve been there, obviously, for two years now and got to know the coaching staff real well and also the players. And the atmosphere is No. 3. It’s a good atmosphere to be in as a player, and obviously the young guys are coming and it’s going to be looking like a lot better team here in the next couple of years.
“Just to be there and be a part of that is something, for me, that I wanted to do, and for my family as well. Everything is run very well with the Orioles.”
Eshelman, 26, has a shot at breaking camp in the rotation or, more likely, in a long relief role on the 26-man roster. The goal is just to be on the club.
The assignment for the first Grapefruit League game doesn’t thrust a pitcher into the role of favorite. Chandler Shepherd and Yefry Ramírez started the last two openers.
Veterans Félix Hernández and Matt Harvey will pitch next week. They’re scheduled to throw live batting practice over the next couple of days and could appear in a Grapefruit League game or be used in a simulated game or live BP again.
“They’re on track to have a full spring and I would expect to see them in a game sometime the first week of spring training,” Hyde said.
“There are going to be some tough decisions down the stretch,” Hyde said, “and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Hyde is close friends with former White Sox manager Rick Renteria and received a scouting report on new second baseman Yolmer Sánchez, who won a Gold Glove on the South Side in 2019.
“I talked to Ricky about Yolmer and it’s one of his favorite players,” Hyde said. “That says a lot coming from Rick, how much respect I have for him and how long he’s been in the game.
“I can see why. Yolmer’s high energy on the field, he’s funny, he’s going to make the routine play, he’s always going to be engaged defensively, he’s a great guy to be around and he’s fun. So I can see why Rick said that about him.”
Sánchez told the media today that he’s looking forward to providing leadership and assisting any of the young players.
“You see Freddy Galvis talking to our players a lot, too,” Hyde said. “Freddy Galvis, I saw a stat today where I think he’s fourth in games played at short since 2015, so he’s got a lot of experience and I see him talk to some of our younger players and younger infielders, which is huge. It’s huge from a coaching staff to have guys that are willing to help, be really good role models on the field.
“The player-to-player coaching sometimes is the best of any, because it can really hit home when one of your peers is giving you tips or just talking through situations, and I see both of those guys in the middle doing that with some of our younger infielders and that’s extremely helpful.”
Defense has been a priority for Galvis and Sánchez, giving them something else in common. But Hyde believes they also can contribute at the plate.
“I think as guys get older they’re able to make some adjustments, maybe figure some things out,” he said. “I think Iggy (José Iglesias) did that last year. He talked about it in spring training, how he really changed his approach, wanted to do certain things, and he carried that into the season. But defense was always a priority for him.
“That’s the same with these two guys. You can watch them do their defensive work and they make it important. And I know they’re working hard right now with our hitting guys, making some adjustments, and want to have good offensive years. I think anything’s possible.
“The two months that Iglesias had with us was incredible in that he was one of the better hitters in the American League and nobody expected that. So I think that there’s an opportunity and room for these guys to get better offensively and I know they’re working on it.”
Sánchez had 34 doubles, 10 triples and eight home runs in 155 games with the White Sox in 2018, though he slashed .242/.306/.372.
“I think I can do better than that,” Sánchez said. “You’re always trying to get better each year and I believe in my talent and I can do better than that. I work every day hard and just try to improve myself.”
Sánchez also must concentrate on getting in sync with his double play partner.
“It’s easy,” he said. “We have to communicate and I just have to learn the things that he likes and he has to learn the things that I like when we play defense. We’ve been talking a lot and so far so good.”
The Orioles are stretching out Ashton Goudeau as a starter.
“We’re going to take a long look at him,” Hyde said. “He threw two innings, an up-down live BP today. Kind of the start of a progression to get him more innings and lengthen him out a little bit. So we’re going to take a look at him as a starter. I like his arm, I like the size. He threw really well today. So he’s going to be a part of getting bulk innings here in camp.”
Former Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph has signed a split contract with the Mets.