This year’s World Baseball Classic will throw a wrench into spring preparations at every camp in the majors.
The Orioles will be without six players – center fielder Adam Jones (USA), right-hander Pedro Strop (Dominican Republic), right-hander Luis Ayala (Mexico), infielder Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands), catcher Allan de San Miguel (Australia) and catcher Chris Robinson (Canada) – who will be participating in the WBC. Orioles bullpen coach Bill Castro will be the pitching coach for the Dominican team.
Games begin March 2, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he hasn’t been told yet when he will lose players. But one of the main topics in Tuesday’s introductory staff meeting was how to handle the players going to the WBC.
They’ll have to be game ready earlier than usual. Jones, who didn’t have to report until Friday, was already at camp Tuesday beginning to get ready. Showalter said he’s not worried about Strop since Castro will be watching over him with the Dominican team.
As for Ayala, whose winter ball season ended just last week because his team won the Caribbean Series, it’s time to take a break.
"[Pitching coach] Rick [Adair] asked Ayala, 'Where are you going?'” Showalter said Tuesday. “He said, 'I'm going out to throw some.' Rick goes, 'I don't think you need to throw anymore.'
“We'll make some adjustments when he gets back.”
Today’s first pitchers and catchers workout will have a late start, running from noon until about 3:10 p.m. because of physicals and staff meetings scheduled for the morning. Pitchers will open with fielding practice, doing drills on comebackers, covering the bag on a grounder to first, fielding bunts between the mound and first and introduction to team defense.
The workout will also feature the first bullpen sessions of spring. Dylan Bundy, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Mike Redmond, Zach Clark, T.J. McFarland, Mike Wright, Adam Russell and Steve Johnson are scheduled to throw today.