SARASOTA, Fla. - After leaving the only organization he has ever known as a professional reliever, pitcher Josh Osich is starting to get used to his new team. He’s been an Oriole since Feb. 19, when they claimed him on waivers from the San Francisco Giants.
A lefty reliever with a mid 90s fastball, he’s trying to make the opening day roster against stiff competition. There are four bullpen lefties on the O’s 40-man roster, and the other three are Richard Bleier, Tanner Scott and Paul Fry. The good news for the Orioles is that all four have options remaining.
For now, the 30-year-old Osich, who has pitched in 160 games for the Giants since 2015, is content with first getting to know his new Orioles teammates.
“It is always nice to have somebody you know where you are going to,” Osich said. “I played with (Andrew) Susac in college (at Oregon State), and D.J. Snelten is over here and I was with him with the Giants. So it makes for an easier transition. But it is always one of those things like the first day of school. Trying to learn everyone’s name and get used to everything going on around here.”
Osich was a sixth-round pick by the Giants in 2011. In his major league career, he is 6-5 with a 5.01 ERA with 61 walks and 105 strikeouts over 120 1/3 innings. Lefties have hit .228 off him, right-handers .294.
He’s thrown two scoreless innings so far for the Orioles. On Monday he recorded a 1-2-3 seventh versus the Twins on three groundouts. Yesterday in Bradenton he followed Mike Wright to the mound and threw a scoreless fourth, allowing two singles.
This morning, Osich provided a quickie scouting report on his pitching.
“Throw strikes is what I’m looking for, of course,” he said. “I feel like I throw my cutter for strikes and I throw my changeup for strikes. Kind of just play with the fastball and curveball after that. That’s pretty much it. I felt good (in those two games). It’s always nice to knock off the rust and get out there and compete again.”
This spring Osich is trying to find the right blend between working on his pitches in games to improve them and getting results to try to make the roster.
“It’s a combination of both,” he said. “As a reliever trying to make the team, you are always trying to do well, but you are also working on things. You might be able to throw 15 straight sliders and get everybody out, but that’s not going to work. You can’t do that during the season. So you have to work on things. If you are out there and throw half sliders and half fastballs and you get hit a few times on your fastball, that shows you are trying to work on it. But you are still getting outs and results. But getting results gets your confidence up and shows you are ready for the season.”
At Oregon State, on April 30, 2011, Osich pitched the fourth no-hitter in school history. It was against UCLA when Trevor Bauer was starting against him. Three times he was ranked among the Giants’ top 30 prospects by Baseball America. Osich was No. 23 at the end of the 2011 season, No. 20 a year later and No. 23 again following 2013.
When he walked into the Baltimore clubhouse, Osich could sense the laid-back atmosphere the club is working under during spring training.
“It is definitely relaxed,” he said. “When I first got here it looked like everyone was having a good time and everyone is enjoying themselves. Everyone is playing hard and pretty happy to get the season going.”
He knows the competition for roster spots in the ‘pen is intense, but isn’t focusing too much on that right now.
“Yeah, I just have to control what I can control,” Osich said. “I go out there and do my best to get outs and can’t really worry about who else is in this room. But we’re all a team here so I feel like, even though I might be competing against someone, we are all trying to help each other. You are always trying to be better as a team. I think that is what it’s all about in this organization right now.”