The Orioles have received kudos for increasing their depth at the big-league level in recent weeks, but one thing that has gone virtually unnoticed is the maturation of some of their younger infielders. Blake Davis and Justin Turner have both earned accolades for their improvement this spring and will stand as potential reinforcements if anyone gets injured.
“Every player that’s in camp here should have the mindset that they’re here to compete for one of the 25 jobs,” said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. “You have to send a message and you have to have people notice you. And they’re either going to notice you in a positive or a negative way. I would dare say, you guys that follow the club, the inventory is better.”
Baltimore signed Ty Wigginton and Ryan Freel to flesh out its bench, relegating Scott Moore to the challenge of trying to distinguish himself. And Moore has hit well, finding himself in a grouping with Turner, Davis and several other youngsters trying to separate themselves.
“There are some players here in camp,” Trembley said. “I’m not talking about stars. I’m not talking about impact type players, but there are better overall baseball players in camp. I don’t want to put the whammy on them, but look at the way the infielders have played.
“If Blake Davis didn’t have No. 82 on his back, you’d think he’s a big-leaguer. Honest to God. …And for me, he is a Major League player. I think these guys deserve a lot of credit.”
The Orioles spent the morning taking their physical examinations, which meant a late start to the first workout of the spring. Some more position players arrived — Scott Moore, Justin Turner and Justin Christian among them — as did staff ace Jeremy Guthrie, who took the time to greet the local beat writers and offer a personalized critique on their offseason work.
Guthrie, who still has the same spring locker that he did two seasons ago as a waiver claim, will have a new neighbor in first-round draftee Brian Matusz. Matusz expressed a desire to pick Guthrie’s brain over the spring, and he’ll have a willing test subject.
Another interesting development of the morning was to see the players begin to comply with the team’s facial hair policy, which mandates no hair below the upper lip. George Sherrill and Dennis Sarfate came to camp newly shorn, while Mark Hendrickson, who was unaware of the policy, came with a goattee and had to remove it before he hit the field.