The Orioles often bring several minor league players to get playing time in the late innings of Grapefruit League games. Orioles manager Buck Showalter calls them “JICs,” or “just in case” players, and considers their presence a good evaluation opportunity.
Of the 30 players on the Orioles’ travel squad for Monday’s road game against the Boston Red Sox, 13 were not on the big league camp roster. Once starter Wade Miley was sent home because of flulike symptoms, Showalter had just two pitchers from big league camp available: Vidal Nuno and Oliver Drake.
Over the course of this spring, 28 Orioles minor league players have played in Grapefruit League games. Some are highly regarded prospects, like shortstop Ryan Mountcastle and right-hander Cody Sedlock, getting their first glimpse of big league spring training. But most are less heralded players the Orioles want to check out in person.
“That’s the whole idea,” Showalter said. “And we make sure we see different ones. You can’t sit there and ride the same one because he’s been effective, because some of these guys who come over here are going to impact our team this year.”
Last spring, left-handed reliever Donnie Hart was a minor league camper who had the opportunity to pitch in the Grapefruit League. By the end of last season, he was the Orioles’ situational left-hander.
“It’s great to see a face to the name,” Showalter said. “You see the box scores come across. It’s pretty good. I think it’s a great tool for us, and also when we’re selling to these guys about going to this camp, you can always say: ‘Here’s what happened last year.’ ”
Around the horn: Manny Machado and Welington Castillo, who were away from the club while playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, were slated to arrive in Sarasota on Monday night and are expected to return to camp Wednesday. ... Showalter said the return of outfielder and Rule 5 draft pick Anthony Santander (elbow inflammation) to games “is not imminent.” … The club could make multiple roster cuts today. The camp roster currently has 46 players. … Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez is slated to start today’s Grapefruit League home game against the Blue Jays.