Orioles OF/1B Trey Mancini is looking forward to a new year and the challenges the team face this coming season.
The Orioles reached an agreement Thursday with veteran left-hander Tommy Milone on a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, according to an industry source, adding yet another arm to a growing group of starting pitching candidates.
Milone, 32, spent 2019 with the Seattle Mariners and provided longer outings behind an opener while accounting for 111⅔ innings with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
He joins Wade LeBlanc, David Hess, Rule 5 draft picks Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker and prospects Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer as potential rotation candidates. Left-hander John Means, right-hander Alex Cobb and right-hander Asher Wojciechowski entered camp with strong claims for rotation spots.
Milone, who debuted in 2011 with the Washington Nationals and has pitched for six teams, gives the Orioles 36 pitchers in camp and 68 players overall.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had a productive meeting with veteran right-hander Alex Cobb on Thursday morning and liked what he saw in his bullpen session later in the day, a sign that the Orioles’ most experienced pitcher is recovering well from last year’s hip surgery.
“I talked to him about it after,” Hyde said. “He feels great. I think the real positive sign is that I love the way his curveball looks. I think that’s something he’s been working on, and to be comfortable throwing that pitch, he threw a bunch of really good ones today. It was a tough year for him last year, but he’s recovering great. Our goal is to keep him healthy all season.”
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Cobb, who was set to be the Opening Day starter last year before experiencing groin soreness in spring training, made just three starts in 2019 before undergoing season-ending hip surgery. He’s entering the third season of a four-year, $57 million contract.
That the physical ailments started in spring training last season won’t affect Cobb’s mindset, Hyde said.
“I think he’s dealt with these things before. I don’t think it’s anything new to come back from an injury, and we had our meeting with him this morning and he’s realistic,” Hyde said. “We just want to keep him healthy. Anything we can do to keep him healthy, we’re going to do. But he’s in a good frame of mind right now, and looked great today.”
Around the horn
>> Catcher Pedro Severino hasn’t been part of workouts the past two days as he deals with an illness, Hyde said. “He’s day-to-day,” he said.
>> A new batch of position players were at Ed Smith Stadium getting work in before they’re required to report this weekend, including new shortstop José Iglesias, shortstop Richie Martin and outfielder Cedric Mullins.