The Orioles really didn’t have to announce that veteran catcher Jesús Sucre is in the country and on his way camp. The fact that he suddenly had his name above a locker in the major league clubhouse was a pretty good clue.
“He should be here today,’’ manager Brandon Hyde said Friday. “All indications are that he got in really late last night and we’re hoping he can get here today at some point and settle in.”
Hyde said he’s not worried about the time that Sucrelost waiting for his U.S. work visa. There still is nearly a month left of spring training.
“Because he’s got a lot of years in and we have a few weeks — 24 days or so — so, yeah, he should be good,’’ Hyde said.
The club still has to ascertain how much baseball activity Sucre has had recently in Venezuela, but Hyde speculated that it might take a week or so for him to get ready to play in exhibition games.
“I don’t know, to be honest, how much game stuff he’s been doing,” Hyde said. “I think, realistically, four or five days of catching sides and getting batting practice in and we’ll evaluate from there if we feel like he’s game-ready.”
Roster cut coming
Sucre’s locker replaced that of minor league call-up Cael Brockmeyer, who was moved to the minor league clubhouse and probably will be one of the players sent to minor league camp when the Orioles make their first roster cut of the spring.
“I think we’re getting to that time of camp,’’ Hyde said. “We’ve got a split-squad today so we need everybody. We’ve got Sucre, who’s probably going to be suited up tomorrow, so we’re kind of going to re-evaluate roster-wise after today.”
Hyde on Davis’ early at-bats
Chris Davis entered Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays with a home run and a walk in his first eight plate appearances. He also struck out five times, but Hyde is not alarmed.
“I’m not concerned about performance,’’ Hyde said. “I love the way he’s going about it. He’s one of the first guys in the cage every single morning. He’s creating a really good relationship with [hitting coach] Don [Long] and already had one with Howie [Clark]. That’s going really well.
“They’ve been really impressed with how hard he’s working and the preparation pregame, from the cage standpoint and the things he’s working on. He hit a homer the other day. He’s still feeling through a lot of things offensively, but he’s working the right way.”
Bleier closer to exhibition debut
Reliever Richard Bleier, who is being slow-played after last summer’s lat surgery, has ramped up his live batting practice sessions and might be ready to pitch in a game next weekend.
He’s got one more live batting practice session scheduledand then will pitch in a simulated game situation midweek before a decision is made on whether to give him an inning in a game a few days after that.
John Means gets a fill-in start tonight
Left-hander John Means got the call after the Orioles had to scratch Nathan Karns from Friday night’s start against the New York Yankees at Legends Field in Tampa.
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Means will have a chance to change the subject after he struggled badly in his first appearance of the exhibition season. He allowed three runs on two hits and a walk and got just one out during the 10-run inning in Tuesday’s rain-suspended game against the Rays.
“I thought he kind of had an unfortunate outing,’’ Hyde said. “We didn’t make a couple plays behind him. Good opportunity for him. He’s one of those guys who’s in the mix — a guy who could either be a starter or a long guy for us. I don’t know if we know a ton about him, so Broc (pitching coach Doug Brocail) is going to go down there and get a good evaluation of him and he’s going to get more opportunities as we go along.”
Orioles reclaim Alberto
Call it waiver ping-pong. Texas Rangers infielder Hanser Alberto was claimed off waivers by the Yankees on Nov. 2, then claimed off waivers by the Orioles on Jan. 11. Then the Orioles needed roster space to claim left-handed pitcher Josh Osich, so they waived Alberto and the San Francisco Giants claimed him. Which brings us to Friday, when the Orioles reclaimed Alberto off waivers and designated lefty reliever Donnie Hart for assignment.
Pretty sure Alberto no longer knows whether he's coming or going, but Hyde is happy to have him back.
"I am, yeah,'' Hyde said. "I think he's a really good player. I like him a lot. He's just really steady … a steady middle infielder. Incredible energy in our locker room and the dugout, so I'm excited to get him back into our camp."