Goin' South: Headed to Sarasota for a month of sun, fun and trying to figure out who everybody is
Feb 17, 2012 | 9:36 AM
There's talk of snow on Sunday in Baltimore, so I'm not taking any chances. I'll be on a plane tonight (Friday) for Tampa to join our new beat writer Eduardo Encina for the start of pitcher and catcher workouts at the Orioles' sparkling training facility in Sarasota.
Okay, I don't know if it's really sparkling, but I've heard things. The stadium was completed in time for last year's exhibition season and it played to rave reviews. The clubhouse complex and redesigned practice fields are now ready and I'm hearing it's all pretty sweet. If only the team looked that good.
The team looks...well...interesting. There are column ideas all over the place, and -- let's face it -- this is all about me and my comfort anyway. The new Asian pitchers will be there, except the South Korean kid who is now stuck in limbo for 30 days while MLB sorts out his contract situation with the angry Korean Baseball Organization. Zach Britton will be rehabbing a sore shoulder. Jake Arrieta will unveil his newly repaired elbow. Brian Matusz will be in camp with a healthy case of selective amnesia.
There are new faces everywhere, and I'm not even good keeping track of the old ones, so I'm going to wear one of those things on my wrist like the NFL quarterbacks do to remember their plays. I wouldn't know Dana Eveland or Jason Hammels if I was trapped in an elevator with them, but they're just a couple of the guys who will think I'm joking when I introduce myself for the first time. It's great to be a Schmuck.
This spring will also be an interesting challenge for Buck Showalter, pitching coach Rick Adair and new pitching coordinator Rick Peterson. There are more than 30 pitchers in camp to complete for 12 or 13 spots and there are only so many exhibition innings to go around, so they'll have to start prioritizing people pretty quick.
Hopefully, Britton and Arrieta are okay and the crowded competition for the five slots in the starting rotation is intense.