SARASOTA, FLA. — South Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium complex and took his club physical on Friday morning.
The club still has yet to announce its three-year, $5.575 million deal with Yoon. That will occur if Yoon passes the physical.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are planning how to get Yoon’s work visa expedited, without him having to return to South Korea, in order for him report to camp as soon as possible.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter estimated it could take between four days and two weeks to obtain a visa.
“I’ve heard about four different things,” Showalter said. “[It is] somewhere in between there. … I think it will be less than two weeks, and at least four or five days.”
When the Yankees signed Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka last month, the club received help from New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to expedite his visa process.
If it takes two weeks, Yoon wouldn’t report until the beginning of the Grapefruit League season, but Showalter said that wouldn’t affect whether the club uses him as a starter or reliever.
A decision on how to use Yoon is still up in the air, however. Showalter said he’d meet with executive vice president Dan Duquette to discuss that topic.
“I haven’t really talked to Dan much about it,” he said. “I don’t know what the thoughts and process are. … I can’t handicap it. I’ll probably try to have that conversation today. I’ll wait to see what the physical says.”
Yoon did have a locker insider the Orioles clubhouse on Friday afternoon, even though there was nothing inside it other than a pair of sandals and there wasn’t a uniform number assigned to his nameplate.
O’s didn’t want to risk losing Ohlman
During the first pitchers and catchers workout Friday, Orioles catcher Michael Ohlman received the unenviable task of catching knuckleballer-in-training Eddie Gamboa’s first bullpen session.
“I knew who wasn’t going to be back there the first day,” Showalter said, referring to starter Matt Wieters.
Ohlman, who was an 11th-round pick in 2009 and is from nearby Lakewood Ranch, was briefly in big league camp in 2012 as a late addition when Ronny Paulino was delayed. This year, he is back in big league camp after the Orioles added him to the 40-man roster this offseason.
Following a season in which he hit .313/.410/.524 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs at Class-A Frederick and then had a solid Arizona Fall League stint, the Orioles made sure they weren’t going to lose him in December’s Rule 5 draft.
“We weren’t going to take that chance,” Showalter said. “We want to find out about him. … He caught in A-ball last year. He’d be really hard to carry in the big leagues this year, but why take the chance. If you like him, keep him and take it out of play. And we did. … We’re thinking in three years — he has options — we’ll know what we’ve got.”
Three late arrivals to camp
Among pitchers and catchers, only three players were absent from Friday’s workout: catcher Johnny Monell and right-handers Alfredo Aceves and Tim Alderson.
All were delayed by weather. Monell and Alderson are expected to arrive on Saturday and Aceves on Sunday.
Right-hander Fabio Castillo, who was expected to be delayed coming from the Dominican Republic, arrived on time and was a full participant in Friday’s workout.
Around the horn
Showalter spoke fondly of Jim Fregosi, who died Friday morning following multiple strokes, and even said that Fregosi was on his short list of managers he’d hire had he moved to the Orioles front office when Andy MacPhail left the club. New Orioles bullpen coach Dom Chiti was also close to Fregosi, Showalter said. … Several pitchers threw bullpens during Friday’s first pitchers and catchers workout: Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Edgmer Escalona, Steve Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, Liam Hendriks, Mike Belfiore, Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Josh Stinson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Jones, Eddie Gamboa and Fabio Castillo. … The Orioles were among the teams that scouted Ryan Madson, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011 after Tommy John surgery and recurring elbow problems, a club source said. The club’s interest in Madson doesn’t appear to be high. … Catching instructor Don Werner was also delayed by weather and wasn’t at Friday’s workout. … Instructors Mike Bordick and B.J. Surhoff will arrive on Wednesday for the first full-squad workout.