A familiar face walked into the Orioles clubhouse on Thursday. Much taller than any of his teammates, Mark Hendrickson looked as if he had never left.
He spent last year out of baseball. Organized ball, that is.
“I wasn’t away from the game. I still played. I just didn’t get paid to do it,” Hendrickson said.
Leaving an hour away in York, Pa., Hendrickson played in a local amateur league, dabbled in real estate and hoped for a call.
There were none.
At 38, Hendrickson wants to give the game another shot. This time, the 6-foot-9 inch left-hander wants to be a side-armer.
“I’m surprisingly very comfortable,” Hendrickson said. “I picked it up rather quickly….A 38-year-old arm, but a 20-year old sponge, open and willing to say, ‘teach me, whatever. Let’s work at this and see how good I can be doing something different.’”
Hendrickson was 8-11 with a 4.80 ERA from 2009-11 with the Orioles. In 2011, Hendrickson had to go back to Norfolk, but made it back for eight appearances.
“I was stale the way I was throwing. It had run its course,” Hendrickson said. “If you’re going to be in this game for a long time, you have to adapt.”
Hendrickson was looking at the mini-camp, which ends Friday as a tryout. The Orioles have not yet offered him an invitation to spring training.