Baltimore Orioles's manager Brandon Hyde talks about Hunter Harvey and his live batting practice he threw today. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)
SARASOTA, FLA. — It's another spring of promise for star-crossed Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, and according to his new manager, this one is as impressive as can be.
Harvey, 24, pitched his second session of live batting practice to a group of major league hitters including Trey Mancini on Thursday. And after being limited to one six-minute session earlier this week instead of the scheduled two, Harvey finished the fully-prescribed session as scheduled with two "innings," and did so to rave reviews.
"Healthy, that's the No. 1 thing," manager Brandon Hyde said. "But yeah, his stuff was electric. There was a lot of chatter around the cage about his stuff. We're off to a great start with him, but the main thing is his health.”
Versatile infielder Jonathan Villar played both shortstop and second base after the Orioles acquired him last summer. He probably will be slotted at second now that former All-Star shortstop Alcides Escobar is in camp.
Harvey, the 2013 first-round draft pick who has been beset by arm injuries since his breakout full-season debut in 2014, has had similar springs where his health cooperated, and the feedback was similar.
He was one of the most impressive pitchers in Orioles camp last spring before a shoulder injury and then forearm soreness limited him to just 32 1/3 innings over nine starts for Double-A Bowie. He has pitched 63 2/3 game innings since the end of 2014, with most of the ensuing seasons spent rehabilitating from Tommy John elbow reconstruction.
"He came off the mound feeling great," Hyde said. "Real positive, for sure."
The Orioles did a four-man relay drill with the full team Thursday, and a pair of coaches showed that particular fundamental hadn't left them quite yet.
The second heat featured Bowie manager Buck Britton and special assignment instructor Mike Bordick on a team with outfielders Mark Trumbo and DJ Stewart, and that quartet easily completed the drill before the rest of the groups.
Hyde said that drill would come with rewards and incentives going forward.
"We play for some dinners, we have teams, we knock each other out, we have the stopwatch with coaches involved," Hyde said. "It becomes a fun thing for the camp, but it's really showing everybody how important it is, playing the game of catch, which is what this game is ultimately about. Just a simple thing like playing a really good game of catch with some tempo, hitting the cutoff guy, giving the guy the opportunity to relay the ball where he wants to because you're giving him a good feed, all those type of things win you ballgame."
Around the horn
Left-hander Josh Rogers will follow starter Yefry Ramírez on Saturday in the Grapefruit League opener against the Minnesota Twins, followed by Mike Wright Jr., Paul Fry, Evan Phillips, Bo Schultz and Zach Pop. … Left-hander Josh Osich, who was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, reported to camp and worked out Thursday. He'll wear No. 35.