Shorebirds Photo

by Eric Garfield

Full report with videos here

Good morning from Twin Lakes.  The country music (why do they like this stuff)has already started at 9:25.  Pour me something tall and strong?  It’s not even 10am!

My plan for today is to stay here as long as I can and then head to the stadium to cover the O’s.  The weather is spring-like and will warm up throughout the day.  Just a couple things I’ve been thinking of:

A few days ago I asked a O’s staffer down here about a couple guys specifically including one who impressed me but was released after last season.  The official told me my observations were accurate and after some back and forth admitted that yes, the player is good.  He went on, ‘pretty good is not good enough’. That has stuck with me for a few days. As O’s supporters we’ve been showed that recently, good is good enough.  Now, things are different and that quote put things into perspective quite clearly.  
Also, I noticed during drills yesterday that the necklines were pretty clean and I’d guess that the barber came by.  I found out later that Delmarva hitting coach Ryan Fuller and his clippers were in action, he’s Mr. Haircut out here.  My eye is warming up!

12:30 Update-

Some national media was on hand!  Jim Callis from BaseballAmerica had his eyes on the pitchers as I was heading out.  Today was an unexciting day for most, just drills without batting and pitchers having a bullpen session and outside conditioning afterwards.  The guys get to play each other tomorrow, intrasquad style at 10am and I’ll be front and center for you.  They want some non-drill action.  Matt Blood, who is the most accurate qb in camp and has near perfect loft skills tried to break up the mood with his patented over the shoulder throws.  

The guys from big league camp popped up and Mason McCoy looks ‘older’ compared to his younger counterparts.  Malquin Canelo and McCoy popped up at SS in drills sliding Hernaiz and Joey Ortiz over ti second.  Gunnar stayed at shortstop too.  Dalton Hoiles showed up to camp and was greater during morning stretches.  So cool to have the kids of some of my O’s heroes playing at camp.  Every single time I watch Ryan Ripken use a glove or pivot into a throw I see his dad’s movements-I’m not Cal crazy but that still is just awesome.  Soon I’ll get to see the younger Palmeiro too.  
The only pitcher who got up on a field mound was Cody Hacker who I haven’t seen everyday to this point.  He pitched to a right handed catcher, Mav Handley and then a lefty, Brett Cumberland.  Hacker showed little control of his heat but had a pair of different breaking balls working.  One snapped off early and stayed beating in to Handley and another one broke late and made Mav bend back.  I wrote ‘12-7 to RHB’. In stepped Cumby who didn’t bite on outside heat but swung through a much slower offering off-speed before firing a bullet right back to the box off high(not rising) fastball.  By the way, here’s Cumberland showing that the catcher 200ft pop up drill isn’t as tough as I think.

A pair of the injured players I was wondering about hit the field-pitchers Malachi Emond and Luis Ortiz were seen but slugger Seamus Curran was not.  He’s been dressed and doing some stuff but not a lot.  
I saw a drill where the infielders had to lay on the ground prone and in one motion pop-up, grab the ball out of the glove and fire across.  Kind of like throwing with no legs.  Encarnacion and Yahn got sizzle in their throws more than anyone.  But Ryan Ripken made a few darts down to second pop J Ortiz’ mitt.  I remember writing before about Gunnar and his trunk not being so aligned in movement with his upper body.  That was then, now his movements are explosive and with purpose.  Rapid improvement there.

I also notice that Connor Gillispie does a weighted baseball routine each morning and also after he throws.  Dan Hammer is similar, maybe they’re more workout guys than most.  I also noticed Jake Lyons is working hard, sweating and being challenged in a great way by the training staff.  They like him and he’s already looking different to me.  Other notes include:  

-Griffin McLarty is outgoing and a great teammate.  He gets his work in but smiles all the time and helps guys out-even with equipment.  
-Cody Sedlock hasn’t thrown a ton but is in ridiculous shape.  His body transformation has taken years but he is very athletically large.   
-Kyle Brnovich has very quick feet and does the ladder drill with ease.  He looks like a soccer guy as his legs are rising as his opposite toe hits the ground-athletic!

I’m going to the O’s game now and I’ll let you know anything I notice.

4:30pm Update-

The O’s played a pretty crisp game.  Wojo made a behind the back snag and Yusniel Diaz extended a double into a triple but didn’t exactly blaze a trail from second to third, he slowed down significantly but the 3rd baseman missed a clean catch and tag chance.  Taylor Davis made a sweet snag playing first on a hop right under his chin.  Núñez went deep getting one up in the air into the wind to left center and Davis used a sac fly to score Diaz from third.  Bruce Zimmermann got his work in and had 6ks/1BB.  I wanted Cadyn Grenier to get in so someone could hit grounders to him.  Maybe next game.  I’ll be watching minor league intrasquad tomorrow and let you know what I notice.