The Orioles basically are scattered in three areas this month, with the team in New York for the first road trip of the season, minor league players reporting to the Sarasota complex for the next wave of spring training and a group working out at the alternate camp site in Bowie.
Outfielder Heston Kjerstad remains on the outside. The plan calls for him to skip spring training and go directly to Prince George’s Stadium, but he hasn’t been cleared to participate.
Kjerstad was the second overall pick in the 2020 draft out of the University of Arkansas, but he never made it into the 60-player pool or fall instructional camp due to an episode of myocarditis, a viral infection that causes inflammation of the heart muscle.
“Much more fixated on having him join activities in Maryland at the time those open,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said on March 10. “It’s something where he’s going to need a little bit more time after this layoff to go through a rehab protocol, to return to game shape, but we’re very hopeful that he’ll be able to do that this season and I know that we’re all eager to see him in action. I know he’s eager to join the activities finally after what he’s been through.”
Elias was hopeful that Kjerstad could report with everyone else, but warned about a possible delay “given some of the extra uncertainty that’s provided with a health situation like this in general, but also in context of the coronavirus atmosphere that we’ve all been living in.”
The secondary site holds 18 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders and two outfields and exists primarily to get players ready for the Triple-A season that’s delayed a month.
Kjerstad is the exception, of course, because he didn’t play or work out last summer or fall.
The Orioles can’t determine where to assign Kjerstad for his first professional season until getting their eyes on him. He could go to the Complex League in Florida or one of the Single-A affiliates.
The first task is getting him on the field.
Ryan Ripken also received an invitation. He appeared in 30 games with Double-A Bowie in 2019.
Here’s the full roster:
Travis Lakins Sr.