Sarasota, Fla. — New Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. didn’t waste any time joining the club after being traded by the Toronto Blue Jays for international bonus slot money Friday. He was in the clubhouse early Saturday afternoon and told reporters he was both surprised and thrilled to be here.
“I was surprised when it happened,’’ he said. “When I heard the news, I was ecstatic to come over here and just get the opportunity to play and just help in whatever way I can.”
The Orioles obviously liked the numbers he put up during two brief stays in the major leagues in 2017 and 2018. He slashed .293/.365/.467 in 47 games, but he’ll be entering a crowded outfield competition for one open starting job and one reserve job.
“I feel as long as you have a uniform [you have] an opportunity,’’ he said, “so what I just want to do is take the best with it and run with it.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said Smith could make his Orioles spring debut as soon as Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Ed Smith Stadium.
Smith is the son of former Oriole Dwight Smith, who played in Baltimore briefly in 1994. Smith spent most of his career with the Chicago Cubs and the last two years with the Atlanta Braves, with whom he appeared in the 1995 World Series.
His son obviously doesn’t remember much about Baltimore, since he was just approaching his second birthday when his dad passed through town.
“He asked me what team it was, and I said the Orioles,’’ Dwight Jr. said. “He was ecstatic about the move and he just can’t wait to come up here and see me play. … He said, ‘It’s going to be a great thing for you, so just take it and just have fun with it.’ ”
Davis takes BP
Chris Davis, who has been sidelined for nearly a week with a sore hip, took batting practice Saturday after an MRI taken Friday revealed no structural injury.
Hyde said Davis could return to exhibition play Tuesday or Wednesday.
Bleier set for debut
When reliever Richard Bleier makes his exhibition debut Saturday night against the New York Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium, it will be his first live game action since he walked off the mound with a torn lat muscle June 13.
He said Friday afternoon he has spent enough time on the mound throwing bullpen sessions and live batting practice that he’s not concerned about how he’ll feel physically. But this is the longest he has ever gone between games, dating to Little League.
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“I’ve had a lot of time to think about that,’’ he said.
Orioles announce signings
The Orioles announced Saturday they have signed their 30 remaining nonarbitration-eligible players on the 40-man roster.
RHP: Pedro Araujo, Cody Carroll, Miguel Castro, Hunter Harvey, David Hess, Branden Kline, Luis Ortiz, Evan Phillips, Yefry Ramirez, Dillon Tate, Mike Wright and Jimmy Yacabonis
LHP: Richard Bleier, Paul Fry, John Means, Josh Rogers and Tanner Scott
INF: Drew Jackson, Richie Martin, Renato Núñez, Rio Ruiz and Stevie Wilkerson
OF: Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander and DJ Stewart
C: Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns