Baltimore Orioles' manager Brandon Hyde gives his perspective on the team's first full squad practice at Spring Training. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)
SARASOTA, FLA. — New Orioles manager Brandon Hyde didn't have time for questions after the first full-squad meeting of his club marked the official start of spring training. He'd already taken enough of his players’ time.
That's because the Orioles players, so far, have mirrored his own mindset towards camp: All that matters is going out on the field, improving, and competing.
"I felt like they sat there long enough," Hyde said. "We had a few people speak, and that first day, you kind of go through a lot of different things you want to put in place for spring training, and talk about how you see expectations and those type of things.
"At that point, I know personally, I'm ready to get out there. And I think they were ready to get out there. I walked around and talked individually with guys and we're going to actually meet with some more individual meetings this afternoon. But it was pretty much at the end, me talking, and 'Let's go stretch.' "
After one full season at third base, Ryan Mountcastle is learning a third position since he was drafted in 2015, as the Orioles' best hitting prospect worked at first base during Monday's full-squad workout.
Hyde addressed the 59 players in camp — the Orioles are missing only right-hander Gregory Infante (illness), catcher Jesus Sucre (delayed visa), and shortstop Alcides Escobar, whom Hyde expects to arrive in Sarasota Monday and participate Tuesday — and preached the message of competition that he first delivered to pitchers and catchers last week.
Hyde said he also "touched a lot of areas, standards that I believe in, expectations in camp, expectations for the season.”
"I felt like they took the message well, and I think guys were ready to get out on the field,” he said. “When you are a competitor, and you're trying to win a big-league job, that's what it's all about. That's why I think they've been really respectful and responded really well too it so far."
Physicals and meetings delayed Hyde's first day of full workouts, just like the first day of pitchers and catchers was delayed by rain. But once the players got going, things moved efficiently.
"I thought our drill-work today was fantastic. Our energy level with the base running and our individual defense stuff was awesome," Hyde said. "We're going to start putting some team fundamental stuff here as we go forward. But it was a great first day."
It featured many of the staples of an early spring workout. The infielders on the small infield diamond near the front of the facility at Ed Smith Stadium, outfielders taking drills on separate fields around the complex, and live batting practice on four fields to get things moving ahead of the Grapefruit League opener Saturday.
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"We're trying to get guys going getting ready for games," Hyde said. "It's kind of just the way — I think some days you start on the first day, sometimes you start on the second day.
"But the way the schedule kind of laid out this year, live BPs on the first day was kind of where we're at. They're such important days for the pitcher, for the hitter, hitter's timing — but you're ready for those days to be over after a few days of them.”
Around the horn
» Right-handers Andrew Cashner, Dylan Bundy, Nathan Karns, Davis Hess, Hunter Harvey, Cody Carroll, Luis Ortiz, Dillon Tate, Evan Phillips, Gabriel Ynoa, Jimmy Yacabonis and Branden Kline, plus left-handers Tanner Scott and Sean Gilmartin, all pitched live batting practice Monday.
» Hyde said the Orioles would ideally carry a left-handed starter in their rotation as opposed to five right-handers to give teams different looks. Josh Rogers, John Means and Chris Lee are the left-handed starters in camp.
» Asked whether he expected to start the year with seven relievers or eight, Hyde said the roster construction was still under consideration.
» Hyde said the Orioles would not pay much attention to the 20-second pitch clock during spring training games that MLB instituted Sunday. "I want guys to do what they do, and not worry about speeding things up," Hyde said. "I think it's just spring training games so I'm not really worried about that."