Over an hour after the Orioles' pitchers and catchers were supposed to take the field for their first workout, with the stretch finally underway after a rainy morning in Sarasota, manager Brandon Hyde strode out to the field toward his coaching staff, tilted his head, and said simply: "Audibles."
All there was to do on the rain-soaked fields behind Ed Smith Stadium Wednesday was stretch, play catch, then throw bullpens, with fielding drills postponed for another day. But for all the adjustment required, Hyde was glad the first en masse Orioles baseball activity of the spring wasn't delayed more than an hour.
"I think we got fortunate," Hyde said. "We had all kinds of Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, depending on the weather. We were fortunate to get the bullpens in. Unfortunately, we couldn't do a whole lot because the fields were so wet. I feel good about getting the bullpens in, and we'll do it again tomorrow."
While they didn't get in their full day's work, Hyde and his coaching staff — joined by the minor league staff as well — oversaw 15 bullpen sessions. Six, including those of major leaguers Andrew Cashner, Dylan Bundy, Richard Bleier, Nate Karns, Tanner Scott, and Jimmy Yacabonis — took place in front of a fleet of high-speed cameras that provide slow-motion videos.
Hyde said it's "just the start" of the technology that will be introduced to the players during camp, and executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias alternated between watching the in-person pitching before him and peeking at the video feed on the laptop screens.
Many of the scenes remained from what would be a typical pre-spring workout. Pitching coach Doug Brocail talked shoulder placement and posture with Yacabonis. Right-hander Luis Ortiz got an extended lesson from bullpen coach John Wasdin and new minor league pitching coordinator Chris Holt. And the combination of size and fastball velocity from Cody Carroll caught Hyde's eye, as any pitcher his height may in such an environment.
All that fits in with why Hyde was so glad to not lose a valuable early-spring day to weather when the Orioles have so much to accomplish.
"I think in our situation, probably a little bit more in that we're trying to set the right tone, we're trying to create an identity, we're evaluating," Hyde said. "I think when you have a more experienced team, maybe a playoff-type team from the year before where ... rest is considered, it's not as important, but in our situation obviously we want to be on the field and want to see guys work out. There's a lot of teaching still to happen. In our case, I think being on the field obviously is important."
Around the horn
Other pitchers to throw bullpens include right-handers David Hess, Hunter Harvey, Evan Phillips, Gabriel Ynoa, Dillon Tate, and Branden Kline, plus left-hander Sean Gilmartin. … Bleier, who had lat surgery last season, threw more cutters and changeups in this bullpen but said he felt good about where he is for his first mound session of the spring. … Left fielder Trey Mancini arrived at camp on Tuesday and worked out with the early-arriving hitters on Wednesday. Rule 5 infielder Drew Jackson was also a new arrival in camp Wednesday.