by Eric Garfield
Today there is no player availability in the am so I’m getting ready to roll in around 9:30-9:45. I popped out of bed thinking this; no more physicals, no more pictures, no more intros and no more heavy contract guys waiting to report. From today forward it’s baseball and little else. Practice is my favorite aspect of the game and for the next few days that’s the team’s focus along with building chemistry. Can’t wait to see what’s happening today…
10:40 Update-Jeff Conine just did an interview session and talked O’s. He addressed the reality of the situation and said to us ‘I know you’ve been through rebuilds before’. Reminder he was Mr Marlin before their rebuild mentality was established.
11:45 Update-Finally knocked out two priorities this morning, meeting OH member Weams and watching Mason McCoy in the field! I watched more than several rotations of grounder drills and saw him in the hole, behind the hole and coming forward. He tracks the ball well and transfers it not as fast as ideal but there is no doubt the foundation to build on defensively is present. For comparison sake, several fields over were a different group of infielders and watching Iglesias, Ruiz and Valaika with their glove work and hands-they’re at a more experienced level. Especially Iglesias. It’s astounding if you’re a defense lover like me. Speaking of fast hands, Martin has shown me examples of his improving. In the field with transfers and at the plate from stance to follow through. He improved from 2019 in this regard. In a simulated inning, Kline’s right to left action was not spinning tight and Mullins took him deep after Martin lines one into center for a single. Otherwise he hit a corner or two in the session. McCoy May also be behind with hand speed in this regard as he got a somewhat center cut offering and his best contact was late and fouled off a liner to right.
Dilson Herrera was taking grounders at 1st and didn’t seem out of place with bouncers and bad hops…
1pm Update-Brandon Hyde did a media session, there were scattered BPs and then an open locker room where some players discussed their day. Ryan Mountcastle was seen in the outfield and Hyde said him at second is not part of the plan. He practices about 75% at OF and 25% at 1B. The skipper says that yes he’s focused on actual games and yes they start soon, but when he thinks about it there’s only been a pair of workouts and readiness for games isn’t today’s priority.
Also, I met a news staff from PG county that has been all over the Baysox for years. When discussing some prospects, they voiced concerns over Alex Wells similar to lots of OH readers as far as lack of gas and movement. They seemed higher on Lowther, but really seemed pumped to get the AA season started with possibly Hall and Grayson and Adley being Baysox at some point!
During a break I went back and listened to the Conine interview again. It’s obvious that he likes Hyde a lot and thinks of him as a clubhouse culture establisher who can communicate with anyone. That’s great to hear, and I’m seeing examples all over the fields with chatter, instruction and player watching. Whatever you think of Conine as a guy, Hyde’s not too far off. Jeff had his trademark glasses and scowl but showed some teeth when I asked him about his son Griffin, a Blue Jays prospect with a future, and his potential. Jeff went into proud dad mode and talked his boy up but ended with ‘he’s got a chance to be really good in this game’. I don’t like Duke, I don’t like the Blue Jays but I’ll hope Niner’s son maxes out and we get to see a smiling Jeff. What a guy.