SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles minor leaguer Josh Hart completed his off-field homework.
The 19-year-old Hart, a sandwich pick in last year’s draft, was given an assignment to write a one-page report on Orioles Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who was at camp on Monday to speak to the team under the invitation of executive vice president Dan Duquette.
Showalter asked for a one-page report to be on his desk the next day after Hart said he didn't know about Robinson.
On Tuesday night, Showalter said he had spoken to Hart, who had finished the report but couldn't make it to the complex. Showalter said Hart told him the report would be on his desk the next time he made an appearance at big league camp.
The two discussed what Hart had learned about Robinson and how much impact he had on the great Orioles teams that won two World Series titles in 1966 and 1970.
The story picked up national steam on Tuesday – it was promoted on the main Yahoo home page – but the teasers indicated that Showalter was punishing Hart for not knowing about Robinson.
It wasn’t that. He just wanted Hart to learn a little more about the franchise’s proud history.
“He’s good,” Showalter said. “And honestly, I think he’s a better player today than he was yesterday because of it.”
Also of note, the Orioles were among the teams to scout left-hander Johan Santana in Fort Myers on Tuesday.
The club’s interest in Santana – whose velocity has reportedly dropped remarkably following an anterior capsule in his throwing shoulder – is lukewarm. The Orioles would only be interested in a minor league deal with Santana.
His workout seemed to be underwhelming, but Duquette has done a good job of giving veteran pitchers looking for another opportunity to the big leagues a chance.