Baseball is coming! We can finally resume a countdown here. Today marks the first day of practice for the Orioles’ spring training, so there are no days. They will start playing Grapefruit League games four days from today. Opening day is just 25 days away, with the first game at Camden Yards taking place three days later. Enjoy the thrill of anticipation before the reality that this team is likely to stink again, especially early in the year, sets in.
The post-lockdown and pre-spring training period has already brought some news to the Orioles. The pre-lockout deal with starting pitcher Jordan Lyles was finalized, and the Orioles added another signing on top of that, bringing in receiver Robinson Chirinos (not final at the time of this writing). The only real question is whether Chirinos will already be Adley Rutschman’s backup on Opening Day, or if he starts as a starting receiver and transitions into a backup role when Rutschman arrives. I hope for the first and await the second.
On Sunday, the team announced the list of unregistered players who have been invited to the camp’s big league game. These are players not on the 40-player roster who will still attend camp until reassigned. Players on the 40-player roster are automatically part of the big league side, except underage option. Some of the guys who aren’t on the roster may have a chance to sneak into a marginal roster if they show something special or if injuries plague players who are closer to being locked out right now.
The band’s headliners are Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Stowers. We can hope to see or at least hear of some of these guys in the early games of the camp schedule and also hope that they can apply that experience and get into real major league games soon.
Here is the full list of invitations announced:
- Pitchers: Marcos Diplan, Rico Garcia, Ryan Hartman, Blaine Knight, Travis Lakins, Ofelky Peralta, Denyi Reyes, Grayson Rodriguez, Cody Sedlock, Nick Vespi, Spenser Watkins
- Catchers: Anthony Bemboom, Brett Cumberland, Maverick Handley, Jacob Nottingham, Cody Roberts, Adley Rutschman
- Inner fields: Patrick Dorrian, Shed Long Jr., Richie Martin
- Voltigeurs: Robert Neustrom, Kyle Stowers
One name missing from this list is 2020 first-round pick Heston Kjerstad. Earlier in the offseason, Mike Elias mentioned him as a possible invite to big league camp. With the three-week spring training run, however, it looks like the O’s have chosen not to bring him in. That likely would have been the case even if Kjerstad wasn’t currently day-to-day with a pulled hamstring that occurred during an intrasquad scrum in the minor league camp last week.
A week ago, it looked like we could be without big league baseball for the entire month of April. Now spring training has begun. This is exciting progress. Whether fans will be able to watch or listen to an Orioles broadcast of any of the upcoming spring games has yet to be announced. MASN generally did a handful of spring shows, with Orioles radio doing most of the home games.
For fans who couldn’t resist the thought that the Orioles might actually sign Carlos Correa, you can keep that hope alive for now. He enters today without a signature. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a solution to Correa’s free agency until next time I write Bird Droppings for you on Thursday. I think anyone hoping for this result will be disappointed, but I understand the need to hang on to something fun when the Orioles haven’t had a winning month since August 2017.
Around the blogO’sphere
Some business and advantages of the start of the major league camp (École du Roch)
Roch reviews some of the scenarios from the early days of camp, a number of which will involve seeing how the Orioles who finished injured last year – including last year’s Rule 5 guy Tyler Wells – progressed on their own during the offseason.
A guide to Orioles spring training in Sarasota (Baltimore Baseball)
If you’re making the trip to Sarasota now that there’s spring training again, Rich Dubroff has some suggestions for you on how to get there and where to go when you get there.
Why Cal Poly’s Brooks Lee could be the Orioles’ first pick this summer (CBS Sports)
It’s not too early to start figuring out which candidates to follow in the spring who could be in the mix for the Orioles’ pick at the top of the draft in a few months. Early attention goes to high schoolers like Druw Jones, Elijah Green and Termarr Johnson, but we’ve certainly seen Mike Elias’ penchant for college position players come to light before.
‘You have ALS’: Former reliever Jim Poole joins short list of former MLB players with Lou Gehrig’s disease (The Athletic)
Jim Poole was in the bullpen for the Orioles from 1991 to 1994. I’m sure I have at least one of his baseball cards in the vast unsorted piles still stacked in a closet at my parents’ house. Dan Connolly got in touch with Poole after being diagnosed with ALS last summer. Good luck to Poole in managing the disease from here.
Orioles birthdays and anniversaries
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2013-14 reliever Josh Stinson, 2008 reliever Randor Bierd and 1995 starting pitcher Kevin Brown (not the broadcaster or my cousin). Today is Brown’s 57th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is it your birthday today? Happy Birthday! Your birthday friends for today include: physicist Albert Einstein (1879), American astronaut Frank Borman (1928), actor Michael Caine (1933), Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett ( 1960), basketball player Stephen Curry (1988) and gold medalist gymnast Simone Biles (1997).
On this day in history…
In 1794, Eli Whitney received the patent for his new invention, the cotton gin.
In 1942, the first recorded use of penicillin to treat an American patient took place. Drs. Orvan Hess and John Bumstead used the drug on a patient, Anne Miller, who was dying of a strep infection. Miller’s fever broke the next day and she survived another 57 years, passing away at the age of 90 in 1999.
And that’s how it is in Birdland on March 14. Have a good Monday.