By Eduardo A. Encina and Peter Schmuck
The Baltimore Sun
5:43 PM EST, February 16, 2013
SARASOTA, Fla. — Trayvon Robinson suited up for the first time as an Oriole on Saturday and took part in the first official full-squad workout, but the outfielder had hoped to be in camp a lot earlier after being acquired in the November deal that sent infielder Robert Andino to the Seattle Mariners.
Instead, he had to clear waivers after the Orioles outrighted him last week to make room for pitcher Todd Redmond, a move that had to leave him wondering just where he might fit with a team that has a dozen outfielders in major league camp.
"What can you say ... it was just a week of misery, thinking about it,'' he said. "I just want to get on the field and play."
Robinson obviously hoped that another major league club would claim him, as that would have meant a place on a 40-man roster. Now, he's going to have to climb a long depth chart with the Orioles, but his ability to play all three outfield positions give him an outside chance to be an extra outfielder at the major league level.
"I thought I was going to be somewhere else,'' he said, "but it's the timing, too, so I'm not really worrying about it. I didn't give up hope. I can still make it to the big leagues, and it starts in spring training. I just want a long look and a chance to show what I can do at the big league level. I never really have stayed in spring training long enough for somebody to look at me."
Robinson, 25, hasn't played more than 46 games at the major league level in a season, but he's compiled a .281/.355/.432 line in the minors.
"Last year, I was with the Mariners. I was playing good. I just got sent down," Robinson said. "I just want a long look. I want somebody to look at me, see that what I did in the minors is not a fluke. I just want to go out there and play."
Jurrjens deal has 'safeguards'
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the team was "more comfortable" signing right-hander Jair Jurrjens to a minor league deal than a major league one after closely vetting the results of a physical on his right knee.
"There's some safeguards for the player in there, as well," Duquette told reporters during Saturday's first full-squad workout, which Jurrjens participated in fully. "At least we have a chance to work together and see if we can help him be a good big league pitcher.
"If you look in the book, it's hard to find players with that kind of record at his age," Duquette said of the 27-year-old. "He's a highly skilled pitcher. [He has] great control and we just thought it was interesting to get involved with him."
After agreeing to a $1.5 million deal with the Orioles three weeks ago — pending a physical — Jurrjens settled for a minor league deal with an unspecified opt-out clause. Jurrjens had been working out and throwing pen sessions in Tampa in the meantime.
"We were trying to learn more about his knee and what it would take for him to pitch effectively," Duquette said of the delay. "That's was a lot of the discussion and a lot of it was an educational process for the club. We referred it to a couple of doctors. We were also trying to learn the most effective way to help him regain his stature from earlier in his career. That took a little time."
Jurrjens was on the provisional roster for Netherlands for next month's World Baseball Classic, but he said he decided Friday that he wouldn't pitch in the WBC.
"Because of the way the contract is structured now, I really want to be here," Jurrjens said Saturday. "It was tough because I wanted to play with everyone I grew up with [in Curacao], but I told them that I would play the next time it comes around."
Reliever Luis Ayala is still undecided on whether he's pitching for Mexico in the WBC.
Ayala said he's awaiting a call from Mexico coach Teddy Higuera. The Mexican team's roster is in limbo because the Mexican Baseball League is currently not allowing its to participate in the WBC.
Ayala's winter league season ended just last week, as his Mexican winter league team won the Carribean Series.
Relievers getting relief
Orioles relievers Jim Johnson, Darren O'Day and Ayala all threw their first bullpen sessions of the spring Saturday — all other healthy pitchers have thrown two sessions — and Showalter said he intended to pace the trio slower than the others because of the longer spring training.
Showalter said those three will likely continue to be given extra days off as other pitchers throw bullpens every other day until games begin Saturday. Once games begin, Showalter said he hopes to give the trio around the same amount of innings as last spring.
In last year's Grapefruit League schedule, Johnson threw eight innings and Ayala and O'Day each threw six.
Ayala's pace would obviously change if he decides to pitch in the WBC.
Around the horn
Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Mark Hendrickson, Pedro Strop, Daniel McCutchen, Troy Patton, Daniel Schlereth, Mike Belfiore, Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez also threw bullpen sessions Saturday. … Infielder Yamaico Navarro joined camp on Saturday, and with Robinson and Jurrjens here, the team's spring training roster is at 61 players. … The organization's minor leaguer minicamp begins Monday at Twin Lakes Park. Doube-A Bowie manager Gary Kendall will lead the camp, and some of the 29 participants will also play in the first week of Grapefruit League games.
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