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Baltimore Orioles

Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey 'pumped up' for start of Grapefruit League games

SARASOTA, Fla. — Not only did pitching prospect Hunter Harvey retire four of the five batters he faced in Sunday's intrasquad game, but his fastball also showed impressive velocity in his first time facing hitters in a game situation since last July.

Pitching in an extended sixth inning in the scoreless intrasquad game, Harvey's fastball was clocked in the mid-90s.

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Sunday "was the first time I really got after it in a while, so it felt good to really get back out there and let it go," Harvey said. "I'm ready to start playing games. I'm really pumped up for that."

Harvey, who is the organization's consensus No. 2 prospect, hadn't pitched against hitters since July 25, before the Orioles shut the 20-year-old down with elbow discomfort. He has no restrictions this season.

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"I just tried to go out there and try to stay as smooth as possible and try to command the best I could," Harvey said. "On a couple of them, I tried to stay back and get a little bit more than the other ones. But I tried to do it like last year, just let it flow."

First spring game

The Orioles held their last full-squad spring training workout Monday, their final tune-up before today's Grapefruit League opener against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he believes his club is ready to start the spring schedule. He acknowledged that he saw a lull in the way the team practiced Saturday, but they rebounded well in Sunday's six-inning intrasquad game on the Ed Smith Stadium main field.

"I thought the day before yesterday, we had a spring training lull," Showalter said. "We knew the [intrasquad] game would be a little better and we knew today would be the last day, we really tried to crisp it up a little bit. They're heard enough. It's time. It will be another part of the process: the workouts, the games and the real games."

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The Orioles' spring schedule will include 34 games, including two home-and-road split-squad dates, including one Thursday. After playing today, the Orioles will play their spring home opener Wednesday against the Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium.

"I think a lot of our [veteran] guys, Adam [Jones], J.J. [Hardy], they know where the finish line is and they know there's a finish line," Showalter said. "They know where we want to be as the apex of this curve.

"Even [in the intrasquad game], that's about as good a defensive game as you'll ever see in the first organized game. ... I'm glad that [newcomers] Everth [Cabrera] and Jayson Nix and [Rey] Navarro were exposed to that, because it's a high level to hold up your end on."

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Around the horn

Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who will start today's Grapefruit League opener, is scheduled to pitch two innings. … Third baseman Drew Dosch, outfielder Julio Borbon and right-hander Mychal Givens, all of whom have been working out at the minor league minicamp at Twin Lakes Park, will make today's trip to Lakeland. … Showalter said the Orioles will break camp April 4, with part of the team going to play the spring finale against the Atlanta Braves in Lake Buena Vista and the other part heading to St. Petersburg, where the Orioles open the regular season April 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard


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