Orioles general manger Mike Elias meets with the media on reporting day for pitchers and catchers in Sarasota, Florida.
Orioles reliever Miguel Castro, who was robbed at gunpoint in the Dominican Republic a month ago, said he has put the terrifying incident behind him and is thankful to be alive and ready to begin spring training.
Castro was robbed by three men while he was on his way to a workout with some young players in his hometown of La Romana and reported on his Instagram account that one of the assailants attempted to shoot him.
“Thanks to God's mercy the gun didn't work and today I am alive,’’ he said in the post.
Tuesday, he reported to the Ed Smith Stadium Complex and — a bit reluctantly — talked about the incident that left him struggling to sleep at night for several weeks.
“When those people approached me, the first thing that came to mind was my family and then that I was going to lose my job,” Castro said. “It was really a bad situation … a bad moment … bad timing, but that’s just in the past. I’m moving forward.
“It took me about two or three weeks just to forget the whole thing," Castro continued through interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “For awhile, every time I went to bed, I kept re-imagining everything that happened, so thankfully, with the support of my family and people close to me I was able to move forward and leave that behind.”
“I never expected something like that to happen," he said. “I couldn’t imagine something like that. To be honest, nothing really changes. I’m going to continue to work hard. I’m not going to move out of my home. I’m going to continue to work hard with the young kids and just hopefully to be a role model for them.”
Castro didn’t hold back in the Instagram account, thanking all the people who contacted him with good wishes after the incident.
“When I made the post, I never imagined it was going to just reach out to so many people," he said. “I heard from so many people. Former players. Current players. Teammates. Past teammates. So many people reached out to me, supporting me, it was overwhelming … so I’m just thankful for everybody — the team, fans and family — for reaching out to me.”
Now, Castro says, it’s time to go back to work and he’s understandably ready and eager to turn this unhappy page.
“I’m just thankful to God for an opportunity to be here," he said. “Whatever happened is already in the past. I’m not thinking about it anymore. Right now I’m just concentrating on the next season and trying to do the best job that I can.”
Orioles claim infielder Ramon Urías
The Orioles continued to stack up infield depth as pitchers and catchers reported Tuesday, claiming 25-year-old infielder Ramón Urías off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals.
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Urías, who was designated for assignment by the Cardinals last week, was signed out of the Mexican League in 2018 and spent the past two seasons in the high minors. Primarily at Triple-A Memphis in 2019, Urías hit .262 with a .781 OPS and 34 extra-base hits over three levels, but didn’t get any major league time despite being on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster.
Primarily a second baseman who spent time at all four infield spots in 2019, Urías could be a candidate to make the Orioles’ roster as a utility infielder. That competition also includes Richard Ureña and Richie Martin.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Orioles passed infielder Pat Valaika through waivers and outrighted him to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles lost him on waivers to the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this offseason and brought him back, but he wasn't claimed this time.
Around the horn
>> Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said there’s a chance that the Orioles still add a veteran starting pitcher.
>> Manager Brandon Hyde said right-hander Hunter Harvey will be used as a reliever this year.
>> While only pitchers and catchers were required to report Tuesday, several position players were already in Sarasota working, including infielders Ryan Mountcastle, Rio Ruiz, José Rondón and Valaika.