The Orioles pitchers and catchers are set to report Tuesday with the rest of the squad three days later. The mystery is how many of the position players will wait those extra days before showing up to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla.
Many of the players are already on hand and others will show up on Monday. The first workout of the season is set for a week from now, but that schedule might be accelerated if everyone is there.
That’s a good sign. Players are eager to report because they can’t wait to start again. Last season was so much fun that they’d like to equal or exceed 2012’s accomplishments.
With Friday’s signings of Jason Hammel and Jim Johnson to one-year contracts, only Darren O’Day is unsigned, and he could sign without going to arbitration. A camp of little drama is likely. It’s up to manager Buck Showalter to make the players a little uncomfortable.
Fifty-nine players are set to report. The Orioles have invited 19 players not on the roster, and if Trayvon Robinson clears waivers, he’ll be the 60th player.
Only two of the 20 pitchers on the 40-man roster is new to the organization, T.J. McFarland, who was a Rule 5 draft choice from Cleveland and Todd Redmond, claimed on waivers from Cincinnati on Friday.
Four of the 20 position players are with the Orioles for the first time: infielders Russ Canzler, Alexi Casilla, Yamaico Navarro and Danny Valencia.
The intriguing 20 are the non-roster guys. There are eight pitchers. Among them are Kevin Gausman, last year’s first-draft choice, Mark Hendrickson, trying to return to the major leagues after sitting out last year and Eduardo Rodriguez, a left-handed pitcher who sparked some interest last year at Delmarva. Mike Wright who made some cameos last spring, is back, too.
Luis Martinez, who the Orioles claimed on waivers from Texas and was waived when the team acquired Canzler, is a non-roster catcher. He cleared waivers on Friday.
Travis Ishikawa, whose defensive abilities impressed the team, has a shot to make the club as a first baseman. Niumer Romero, who played 12 games as a utility infielder in 2009 and 2010 with Cleveland and Boston is on hand, too.
Five non-roster outfielders—all with significant major league experience—Chris Dickerson, Lew Ford, Conor Jackson, Steve Pearce and Jason Pridie will report, and Robinson will find out early next week if he’s the sixth.
Pitchers Zach Braddock, Daniel McCutchen, Adam Russell and Daniel Schlereth—all with major league experience—have been invited to camp, too.
Eighteen additional instructors will be in camp to assist Showalter and his coaches. Bobby Dickerson, who used to be on the auxiliary list, is the new third base coach, replacing DeMarlo Hale. Some of the familiar names helping Showalter are Brady Anderson, Mike Bordick, Terry Crowley and Scott McGregor. Former Orioles outfielder and coach Al Bumbry will be there, too.
The exhibition season begins on Feb. 23 with a game in Sarasota against Minnesota. Because of the World Baseball Classic, spring training begins a little earlier this year and there are three scheduled off-days: Mar. 4, 12 & 18, though intrasquad games or minor league contests could pop up.
On Mar. 29, a previously scheduled day off, the Orioles will face State College of Florida, and the exhibition season concludes on Mar. 30 against the New York Mets.
There will be 34 games against major league opponents with split squad games Feb. 27 and Mar.17. The Orioles host Spain’s World Baseball Classic team on Mar. 6.
After camp breaks on Mar. 31, the Orioles will move up to St. Petersburg to start the season with three games at Tampa Bay on Apr. 2.