Baltimore Orioles invite former players J.J. Hardy, Jeff Conine and others to Spring Training camp as guest instructors.
Brandon Hyde has never met former Oriole J.J. Hardy, but from the moment he took the manager’s job last year, he heard about the stalwart shortstop’s impact on the team.
That was plenty for Hyde to know that Hardy was worth bringing back as one of six guest instructors, including Jeff Conine, Mike Bordick, Ben McDonald, Scott McGregor and Brian Roberts.
“As soon as I got here last year, people were coming up to me a lot saying how impactful J.J. Hardy was — players that had played with him, as well as clubhouse guys to our strength staff, to anybody that’s been around him — talked really highly of his character and what kind of player and person he was in Baltimore,” Hyde said. “I only got to see him play from the other side, so I don’t know him personally, but he’s going to be a big addition to our camp.”
The instructors will rotate through camp, with Bordick in Sarasota all spring and McGregor already in camp. Those two, along with McDonald and Roberts, have been involved in the organization through its broadcasting arms in recent years. Hardy and Conine, however, are being brought back into the fold to provide their experience to a new generation of players.
There isn’t much carryover from the Orioles roster that Hardy last left in 2017. He joined the Orioles in 2011, made an All-Star Game, and won three Gold Glove awards in his time with the club.
Conine, who was with the Orioles from 1999 to 2003 and again in 2006, was a broadcaster for the Miami Marlins and spent all of spring training around the team there, including when Hyde was a major league coach there.
“Niner is blue-collar, such a good player,” Hyde said. “But he brings a lot of knowledge in the game. He played multiple positions, outfield, first base. He played for a long time on good clubs. I think you’re bringing in a guy that was a winning player into camp here. I just want our guys to soak up, because I know he brings in a lot of great knowledge for our guys.”
Conine and Roberts, an Orioles Hall of Famer, will arrive in camp Monday, with McDonald arriving on Feb. 23 and Hardy getting to camp on March 2.
Harvey, Givens miss bullpens with illness
Catcher Pedro Severino came to camp with an illness and hasn’t worked out with the team since, and he now has company.
Relievers Mychal Givens and Hunter Harvey were each scheduled for bullpen sessions Friday but didn’t take them, Hyde said.
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“They’re still a little under the weather,” he said. “They came in yesterday not feeling real great and got checked out by a doctor and sent back home this morning. I think they’re going to be OK. We’ve got a little bug going around.”
With close to 50 players and dozens of coaches and staff members all in close quarters, the Orioles are taking precautions to prevent the spread of what’s going around.
“We’re hand-sanitizing,” Hyde said. “Hand sanitizer everywhere, and talk a lot about good hygiene. It’s one of those things that happens in camps where one guy gets a little sick and it kind of can spread. We’re trying to, hopefully, stop it there.”
Welcome to town
The Orioles had a welcome event with the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce on Thursday night at Ed Smith Stadium at which they touted an economic impact of $76 million for the most recent reporting period to Sarasota County and a cumulative $436 million since the data became available in 2015.
“Having reached a cumulative total of $436 million, including $76 million over the last reporting period, the team’s impact goes above and beyond the initial figure that was projected when we made Sarasota our home in 2010,” executive vice president John Angelos said in a statement. “This return on investment is a testament to the collaborative partnership between the State of Florida, Sarasota County, the Orioles, and the entire Major League Baseball community. Baseball and the Orioles have delivered for fans, families, and the community, and we are proud of that track record of giving back.”
Around the horn
Early-arriving position players for Friday included outfielder Ryan McKenna, infielder Renato Núñez and infielder Rylan Bannon. Sunday is report date for position players, with the first full-team workout Monday.