OAKLAND – The atmosphere at the O.co Coliseum during the Orioles’ workout on Thursday evening was more like one that took place on the back fields of the team’s spring training complex in February rather than the end of the All-Star break.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter held court near the pitcher’s mound and instructed players on pickoff plays and bunt defense. Down the right-field line, pitchers took turns throwing bullpen sessions.
The Orioles will begin the second half Friday here in Oakland, opening a three-city, 10-game West Coast trip against three teams that would be in the postseason if the season ended today – the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners.
And Showalter always emphasizes the importance of the basics, so he wanted to keep the mental aspects of the game fresh in his players' minds.
“It was more a review of what we’ve done all year,” Showalter said. “They’ve done a great job with our bunt defense and pick off all year and all the things you do in spring training that don’t go away. I think more than anything, it’s just getting back to thinking baseball and getting back to that mode. You want to be proactive instead of reactive. You don’t want to wait until something [happens] and say, ‘Oh we should have gone over that.’”
Orioles celebrating 60 years on Aug. 8
The Orioles announced plans to commemorate the team’s 60th anniversary on Aug. 8 with events surrounding their 7:05 p.m. game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Twenty-three Orioles Hall of Famers will take part in a postgame celebration that will include fireworks, a laser show, and highlights displayed on video boards on the side of the B&O Warehouse.
Cal Ripken, Jr., Eddie Murray, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson are among those expected to attend.
That night, the Orioles will wear 1954 replica throwback uniforms that will later be auctioned online to support the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation. Before the game, the club will recognize season-ticket holders who have been with the club since the 1954 season.
Johnson allows one run in Aberdeen
Right-hander Steve Johnson, working his way back from shoulder tendinitis, allowed one run over three innings in his start at short-season Aberdeen on Thursday. He didn’t allow a hit, but walked four while striking out three.
Showalter said Johnson seems to be getting closer to returning to Triple-A Norfolk to bolster a struggling rotation and the Orioles would like to have him as an option to help the major league team sooner than later.
“They were just going to take it until they thought he was ready,” Showalter said. “But they’re not going to keep him there forever. We’d like to get him back to Norfolk as soon as he’s ready. I know [Norfolk manager Ron Johnson] would like it."
Around the horn:
Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to get work in over the break, was slated to throw just under 100 pitches for the Tides on Friday night. He allowed three runs on five hits over six innings with one strikeout and two walks on 88 pitches (57 strikes). Gonzalez will make his next start Tuesday in Anaheim … Orioles prospects CF Dariel Alvarez and 1B Christian Walker were both officially promoted to Triple-A Norfolk from Double-A Bowie and were in the Tides starting lineup for Thursday's game. … Former Orioles second baseman Ryan Adams was suspended 100 games for testing positive for an amphetamine. It was the second suspension for a positive test for Adams, who also served a 25-game suspension while with the Orioles’ Triple-A team in Norfolk in 2012. Currently a free agent, Adams played 29 games for the Orioles in 2011 and played 45 games in the Dodgers’ system this year.
Baltimore Sun reporter Alejandro Zuniga contributed to this article.