Talking with Tommy Hunter on closer role, Hunter Harvey on glimpse of major leagues

SARASOTA, Fla. – Today is the first official workout day for Orioles minicamp here in Sarasota, and it's currently raining. So, instead of working outside, camp participants will retreat to the indoor batting cages and into meetings for now.

The players who have reported today include pitchers Tommy Hunter, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, T.J. McFarland, Steve Johnson, Ryan Webb, Eduardo Rodriguez, Josh Stinson, Mike Wright, Brad Brach, Liam Hendriks, Tim Berry, Parker Bridwell, Hunter Harvey, and catchers Michael Ohlman and Steel Russell.


Among position players, Henry Urrutia is here. Nolan Reimold also has a locker. He hasn't arrived yet, but he's expected to be here today.

Free-agent outfielder-designated hitter Jack Cust is here for a tryout with the Orioles. He's currently hitting in the covered batting cages. The Orioles could sign him to a minor league deal with a spring training invitation.

I spoke briefly with reliever Tommy Hunter, who is one of the few arbitration-eligible pitchers at the minicamp.

Hunter said once he heard about the camp, he knew he was going to be here.

Hunter just got married on Jan. 4 in Ohio – he said there were 17 inches of snow on the ground and it was minus-13 degrees – and following that, he said it was the perfect time to begin a routine to get ready for the season.

"This is going to be my month, month and a half to get ready," Hunter said. "I've got to get ready, so that's why I'm here."

Asked about the offseason talk about him assuming the closer role, Hunter said: "Of course you hear it. There are a lot of people who talk to you about it, like kind of want to have the ins and outs. I don't know man. I'm going to show up and -- give you the whole cliché answers -- show up and play ball."

Then there's Harvey, the Orioles first-round pick last season. This week will really be his first take of a major league spring training atmosphere. He will get to interact with manager Buck Showalter and new major league pitching coach Dave Wallace.

"I think it's pretty big," said Harvey, who turned 19 last month. "It's my first year in spring training. Just coming down here and being able to do this is a pretty big honor."

In his first taste of professional ball last season, Harvey pitched to a 1.78 ERA in 25 1/3 innings in the Gulf Coast League and rookie-level Class-A Aberdeen.

This time last year, Harvey was preparing for his senior year in high school.

"I think it went OK, going from high school to pro ball," Harvey said. "It was a big jump, but I think it went OK. I think [now it's about] just commanding all my pitches. Just learning how to pitch the game the right way.

Harvey said his father, former major league closer Bryan Harvey, and his brother Kris, a former farmhand with the Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates, have helped him make the adjustment to pro ball.

"They both went through it, so they can just give me knowledge on what they did and tell me all the adjustments they did and just try to help me out that way," Harvey said. "It's been huge."