SARASOTA, Fla. – When the Orioles’ season ended last year, Buck Showalter said some very nice things about Alexi Casilla. He wished he could have played him more, Showalter said.
To the surprise of many, particularly Casilla, Showalter will have that opportunity again this year.
Last month, Casilla signed a minor league deal with the Orioles, and is a favorite to win a spot as a utility infielder.
“I had a couple of teams to choose [from] and I chose the Orioles,” Casilla said.
Last year, Casilla batted .214 in 62 games. He’s glad to be back.
“Going to another team, it’s hard sometimes. You’ve got to start from the beginning. Knowing new people. They have their own style. I know how to play here. That’s why I decided to stay here,” Casilla said.
Last spring, Casilla referred to himself as “the just-in-case guy.” If Brian Roberts was hurt, and he was, Casilla could help fill in. Now, Roberts is gone, and Ryan Flaherty is looked upon as the starter. Jonathan Schoop is the second baseman of the future, and Casilla and Jemile Weeks will battle for playing time.
“It’s going to be very interesting this spring because they have to make a decision. It’s going to be a hard decision,” Casilla said.