02/26/12 3:24 PM EST
Bullpen hopeful Strop believes in O's future
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"I'm aware of [being out of options], but I don't want to go anywhere, I want to stay here," said Strop, who would have to be put on waivers if he doesn't make the 25-man roster out of camp. "I know this team is going to be good. I don't want to miss that party."
Acquired from Texas late last year as the player to be named later in the Michael Gonzalez trade, Strop estimated he threw about three bullpen sessions before arriving at camp, where he's thrown another pair. So far, he said, everything is feeling good, and the 26-year-old Strop hopes to make a strong case in a bullpen competition that -- like the battle for the starting rotation -- is strong on numbers.
Strop posted a 2.05 ERA in 23 total appearances last year, and allowed just one earned run on eight hits over 12 1/3 innings with the Orioles. In Baltimore, the right-hander also collected 12 strikeouts against three walks. Small sample size aside, Strop hopes to build on that late-season success, and he is confident the Orioles can collectively do the same.
"The way we played the last month of the season, I'm sure we can just start doing the same thing," Strop said of an Orioles team that went 15-13 in September. "[This year] we don't have to wait until the last month."
O's lefty Wada experiencing elbow discomfort
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada did not practice Sunday and is dealing with left elbow inflammation, although an X-ray on the area showed no new structural damage.
Wada -- who first started feeling discomfort after some fielding drills on Saturday -- received a cortisone injection and had the fluid removed from his elbow Sunday afternoon to get rid of the swelling. The 31-year-old has had this procedure performed before, and manager Buck Showalter said the team will likely wait a day or two and then re-evaluate the injury.
"It's some discomfort that I feel about every year [around this time], and I just thought I'd say something about it right off the top," Wada said through interpreter Danny MacLeith. "It's not even something to really recover from."
Wada made it clear that he's in no pain and said that he was told it would be about three days before he's back throwing, although he felt like it could be sooner. As for whether adjusting to his first Major League Spring Training factored in, Wada admitted it could have expedited some of the soreness.
"In Japan, when we do our drills, we always play catch before we start doing anything, then we will do some PFP [pitchers' fielding practice], we'll take a 10-minute break, go to the next drill," he said. "So I think, in part, this came from getting used to the flow of practice here. That we jump right into it and then go from drill to drill."
Signed this winter to a two-year, $8.15 million deal with an option for 2014, Wada is one of about a dozen candidates expected to compete for a spot in the Orioles' rotation. If he doesn't make the starting five there's also a strong possibility the club will use Wada, a veteran Japanese pitcher, in the bullpen.
"I thought about trying to push through it and throw and pitch today, but that would cause problems for the team," Wada said. "I thought doing it this way was best."
Showalter, who has said previously that open communication will be key in managing Wada and Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen, was glad Wada spoke up Sunday morning.
"We've been stressing that all along, and I'm happy that he made us aware of it instead of, in the past I think he's probably tried to throw it," Showalter said. "You know this is a 31-year-old guy who knows his elbow, knows his arm. We are going to trust him. It's not some uncharted territory for him with some of the things he's feeling, so we will trust the way he's managed that and help him along the way with that."
Johnson feeling good after 'pen session
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Reliever Jim Johnson (lower back strain) threw off a regular mound Sunday for the first time since his injury and said afterwards he had no problems during the 20-pitch, all-fastball session.
"Everything went well," said Johnson, who will throw again on either Tuesday or Wednesday. "[My] arm felt good, legs felt good, nothing with the back."
Johnson said he hasn't been experiencing any pain or discomfort, even when he wakes up in the morning, and right now he's encouraged with the way he's feeling. He estimated to be about a week away from throwing any offspeed pitches, which probably won't come before he throws two more bullpen sessions and faces live hitters.
"A lot of it is just trying to get your timing back," Johnson said of his first 'pen session. "Just trying to get all parts to work back together.
"If I wake up tomorrow and I'm feeling [bad], obviously it's a big problem. But I don't see that happening."
Orioles starter Zach Britton (left shoulder inflammation) threw from 60, 90 and 120 feet on Sunday and manager Buck Showalter reported that that session also went well.
"Both those guys are where they need to be," Showalter said of Johnson and Britton, who both project to be key components of the Orioles this season. "So, that's good."
O's unveil new turf field at Spring Training
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The last major addition in the Orioles' renovations at the Ed Smith Stadium complex was officially unveiled Sunday morning, as the team's artificial-turf field -- which last year ran into serious drainage problems -- was completed and given the green light for the club's use this spring.
The field's completion gives the Orioles' state-of-the-art spring complex -- which got a final boost with a refurbished clubhouse, training and baseball-operations area -- another option for inclement weather and also prepares the Major League club for playing in Toronto and St. Petersburg against divisional foes which use the exact same turf.
"I think it helps, too, with our rehabs down here, being able to put them on that surface as they start out with leg injuries," manager Buck Showalter said of the field's benefits. "I can name a hundred different reasons. ... It's no doubt going to be very much an upgrade from where it was last year."
The Orioles, who had the pitchers throw with hitters in the batters' box for the first time Sunday morning, supplied the additional funds necessary to redo the field, although there was some initial disagreement as to who was responsible for the initial mishap last year. Showalter, who has said before that the new complex "eliminates excuses" and helps foster a winning culture, singled out Orioles' managing partner Peter Angelos for agreeing to foot the bill.
"I don't know if there's anybody in Spring Training that has three fields they can get on 15 minutes after it rains," Showalter said. "Because we have a tarp now for the Camden Yards [replica] field and we have a tarp for the stadium field and a [turf] field. There should never be a reason why the Gulf Coast League, or us in Spring Training, at some point during the day, can't have three fields, and you can [also] include the cages."
"It's like if you're comparing colleges," director of pitching development Rick Peterson said of the facility. "This is Ivy League. And who doesn't want to go to Yale or Harvard?"
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.