Things are getting exciting around Sarasota, as this Orioles team is coming together for the Grapefruit League to be fully underway next weekend. Let’s see what is going on in camp today.
Let’s start things off with news that could have a major effect on the team and its future in Baltimore. New Maryland Governor Wes Moore nominated Craig Thompson, his former campaign chair, to be the chair of the Maryland Stadium Authority.
This is something to watch, as the Orioles’ ownership will be sitting down with Thompson to negotiate a new long-term deal with the city. Make sure to keep up with however long, or hopefully short, this process takes to keep the O’s at beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Today in spring training camp, Kyle Gibson, Cole Irvin and Austin Voth were scheduled for the first round of bullpens. Orioles’ 2022 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Ryan Watson, was also on the side watching these veterans work before his turn.
Félix Bautista has let the media know that he is at about 70%, as he has completed four bullpen sessions. Through team interpreter Brandon Quinones, Bautista said he is increasing by 5% each session.
Bautista has reported no discomfort in his knee or shoulder and hopes to get into some spring training games by mid-March. He feels he needs four or five outings to be ready by Opening Day, as manager Brandon Hyde has confirmed these reports as well.
Hyde has mentioned that there is a different type of atmosphere and buzz this year around camp.
“There’s conversations going on right now that I didn’t hear the last three or four years, and so that’s extremely positive,” Hyde said. “I think our guys, the way we played that second half, really from June on, they have every right to feel like they could be a team that’s playing in October.”
Last year’s 31-game improvement has brought a new life to this young ball club, and fans aren’t the only ones who see it, as newly acquired Cole Irvin has noticed the atmosphere shift already.
“There’s a good buzz,” Irvin said. “It’s a good energy, and that’s what happens when you’re coming off a pretty successful season, based on where the team has been. We’re all just trying to get together as quickly as we can and be able to put on a show when we hit the road.”
Young lefties Drew Rom and Cade Povich were throwing in the second round of bullpens today, both top-30 prospects in the organization. Newly acquired righty Eduard Bazardo showed off his high-velocity fastball and is working on the development of his splitter.
One thing that was noticed was pitching coach Christ Holt timing pitchers between pitches, using his phone due to no clocks in camp. This year’s rules allow 15 seconds between pitches with no runners on and 20 seconds with runners on base.
Chris Vallimont, Dean Kremer and Povich were throwing live batting practice today. Those taking BP were Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Jorge Mateo, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Kyle Stowers, Ryan McKenna, Jackson Holliday, Heston Kjerstad, César Prieto, Lewin Díaz and Daz Cameron.
Four of the Orioles’ top prospects were spotted in the outfield catching fly balls from batting practice. The group consisted of Holliday, Kjerstad, Colton Cowser and Coby Mayo.
The good news out of camp today is that there are no new injuries to report. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Make sure to keep tuning in to The Baltimore Battery for all your Orioles spring training news and updates, as we get closer to Grapefruit League action.
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