Baltimore Orioles' pitcher Dean Kremer talks about his oblique injury. He expects to start throwing in a couple of weeks. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)
SARASOTA, FLA. — One of the most promising young pitchers in Orioles camp suffered a setback before he could even report this month.
Right-hander Dean Kremer, one of five players the Orioles acquired in their July trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Manny Machado, suffered a left oblique strain late last month and hasn't participated in camp yet.
"It's just something with my oblique that happened a couple weeks ago — a week before I got to camp," Kremer said. "Now that I'm here, they get to get a look at it and help me recover from it and just play it out. It's got to take its time to heal.
Kremer said that the medical staff said he should be able to throw again within the next couple of weeks, and has urged him not to rush his recovery along.
Kremer, 23, led the minors with 178 strikeouts during to his time in the Dodgers and Orioles farm systems last year, and was the No. 9 prospect in the Orioles' organization this offseason, according to Baseball America.
In eight starts for Double-A Bowie, Kremer went 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP, giving him a 2.88 ERA between Bowie, High-A Rancho Cucamonga, and Double-A Tulsa.
Infante ailing in Venezuela
Right-hander Gregory Infante is being held back in his native Venezuela due to illness, Hyde said, and the club is awaiting clearance to bring him to the United States for spring training.
"He's got an illness that he has to stay back for, and as soon we get clearance to get him over here, he's going to be welcomed over here and have the care that needs over here," Hyde said.
Infante, who was signed as a minor league free agent after missing most of last year due to injury with the Chicago Cubs, was set to join the team's bullpen competition. While the illness wasn't specified, the priority seems to be for him to get healthy.
Catcher Jesús Sucre is also delayed in Venezuela due to visa issues, and the team is unsure of when to expect him.
Because of Sucre’s situation, the Orioles summoned minor league catcher Cael Brockmeyer to fill his spot on the training camp bullpen schedule.
Brockmeyer came up through the Cubs organization and spent last season in the Dodgers minor league system. He was with the Cubs at the same time as Brandon Hyde and Tim Cossins, but said he had been in contact with the Orioles before they were hired by the team.
“I had some history with Hyde with the Cubs and Tim Cossins — hopefully some good history and they know me well,’’ Brockmeyer said. “They asked me to come and help out with these guys and I was eager to jump on the opportunity and get a chance to come here. Hopefully, I can take advantage of it.”
He was getting ready to drive to Sarasota to take part in early minor league camp when he got the call to come to major league camp. Though he’ll likely be sent over to Twin Lakes Park when Sucre arrives, Brockmeyer said he hopes it might turn into something more.
“Obviously, that’s always in the back of your mind,’’ he said. “I’m going to be here, put my head down and work hard and hopefully open some eyes and put myself in a good position. Any chance to spend time with the big league club is beneficial.”
Hyde has made some adjustments in Orioles camp compared to years past to make things more like what he's used to, with music playing throughout stretching, drills, and batting practice on the fields behind Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.
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From that to having the entire Double-A and Triple-A coaching staffs at major league camp and adding bullpen mounds behind the stadium, Hyde said it all contributes to the efficiency and environment he's seeking.
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"It's not new to me, to be honest with you," Hyde said. "It's just stuff that we've done for 13, 14 years. I'm just trying to create a great environment that I've been part of for years, so whether that's music or more mounds or being a little lighter in certain situations — the bottom line is I want guys to be pros when they're out here and get their work done. I'm really big on quality of work. I want to have a good atmosphere while they're working, so I always feel like music. ...
“When you've been a minor league coach and been on Field 76 in the back and it's 97 degrees out and there's no music, I know what that feels like. That's the opposite of what I want here. I want guys with a little pep in their step, whether that's music or whatever it is, I think that's important to create that atmosphere."
Around the horn
As report day for position players nears, new arrivals at camp include outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, nonroster catcher Cael Brockmeyer and infielder Rio Ruiz. ... Fourteen pitchers threw bullpens Thursday: Alex Cobb, Yefry Ramírez, Pedro Araujo, Mike Wright Jr., Zach Pop, Bo Schultz, Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens, Josh Lucas, John Means, Josh Rogers, Donnie Hart, Paul Fry and Chris Lee.