Orioles seeking update on Machado at minicamp
Third baseman progressing; new coaches Wallace, Chiti get first look at staff
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles opened their four-day minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., on Monday, a voluntary event geared toward preparing the organization's pitchers and establishing a relationship with new pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti.
The club's Spring Training facility will be occupied by about 20 players, and the organization hopes to also get a look at several notable rehabbing players, including third baseman Manny Machado and right-hander Dylan Bundy.
"There will be people that show up that we can't invite," manager Buck Showalter said of baseball's ruling on the camp, which dictates that any arbitration-eligible players or those with multiyear contracts cannot be formally invited. "Somehow we get word to them and they'll be there."
That list includes the team's leading candidate to close, Tommy Hunter, along with Darren O'Day and newcomer Brad Brach. Catcher Matt Wieters -- who owns a home in Sarasota -- and Henry Urrutia are among the notable position players who will also be at the spring complex. This year's minicamp is separate from the team's FanFest, which is in Baltimore on Feb. 1.
"'This is more about Dave Wallace and Dom getting a head start on some of the guys," Showalter said of his new coaches, who will travel to the West Coast to see pitchers Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman immediately following this week's camp.
"That allows us to have more people at this camp, instead of running those guys [working out in California] back and forth across the country. Dave and Dom will go directly to them with Brady [Anderson]."
Steve Johnson, T.J. McFarland, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tim Berry, Parker Bridwell, Josh Stinson, Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Hunter Harvey, Ryan Webb, Michael Ohlman and Steele Russell were on the list of attendees, with Bundy and Wei-Yin Chen -- who is rehabbing from minor knee surgery -- also expected to be there.
Machado's presence depends on his doctors' schedule, although his rehab has progressed and he's on track to tentatively be ready by Opening Day. Chen isn't coming along quite as fast as the team hoped, which is why the O's would like to see where he's at this week, while Bundy -- who had Tommy John surgery last season -- could be a factor for Baltimore in the second half of 2014.
Showalter will attend the minicamp and meet with the new groundskeeper in Sarasota, but aside from a few face-to-face conversations he hopes to have, he will largely be an observer as Wallace and Chiti become familiar with the organization's pitchers.
Without a significant free-agent signing, the Orioles are relying heavily on their new pitching/bullpen combo to help maximize the talents of the staff. Wallace is a highly regarded baseball man and is known to be a great teacher, but he will have his work cut out for him in managing a pitching staff in the American League East.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.