O's new manager collecting Harveys

Hunter Harvey's older brother used to play for Hyde in Minor Leagues

February 26th, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. -- When he heard the news of Brandon Hyde’s hiring this winter, it set off a lightbulb in ’s head. Surely, that name sounded familiar. But Harvey couldn’t figure out why, the reason escaping him like a comebacker just out of reach.

Curious, Harvey turned to his brother. Kris Harvey played eight years on the Minor League circuit, many of which Hunter, 11 years his junior, spent in tow. He quickly dispelled the mystery.

“That was my manager,” Kris said.

Which is why for all the talk of fresh starts and new faces this spring, Baltimore’s new skipper entered camp with at least one deeply rooted connection to the Orioles’ roster, even if he didn’t know it. Hyde can’t recall a young Hunter hanging around the Class A Greensboro Grasshoppers dugout in the mid 2000s. But he remembers Kris, a second-round outfielder-turned-pitcher, and his father, Bryan, a former big league pitcher who raised his family in nearby Catawba, N.C.

“His dad was around quite a bit,” Hyde said.

And that meant Hunter was. The Harveys followed Kris throughout his Minor League career, much of which was conveniently spent in the state of North Carolina. Kris was in his second year of pro ball in 2006 when he met Hyde, then in his third season managing in the Marlins' system. Hunter was 11, born into a baseball family and dreaming of doing the exact same thing.

“I was just a kid, so I kind of remember seeing him around back then,” Harvey said. “I think we met in Greensboro.”

Thirteen years later, it is Hyde’s job to keep careful watch on Harvey, the Orioles' No. 12 prospect per MLB Pipeline, now that they are reunited. Keeping the oft-injured prospect healthy is a stated early focus of Hyde’s spring, which he’ll spend assessing and acclimating himself to a camp chock full of newness. To bridge the gap with Hunter, he has asked multiple times about their mutual friend. Hunter had similarly peppered Kris about Hyde, seeking an informed review.

“He said he loved him there, that there was a good vibe in the clubhouse, and my dad said the same thing,” Harvey said. “It’s crazy when you think about it.”

What’s stranger than coincidence, to Hyde, is the resemblance between the brothers. In his words, it's uncanny.

“Same body, same build,” Hyde said. “It’s a little eerie for me. They’re both so similar. It’s almost like the exact same personality. I loved managing Kris, and Hunter seems like he’s exactly the same.”

“I don’t think Kris had the mullet, though,” he said.

Worth noting

  • Hyde said the club was encouraged by recent testing done on Dean Kremer, though there is no timetable for his return. The club’s No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline has been sidelined for all of camp with a left oblique strain.
  • One of several veteran hurlers working toward their game action, reliever Richard Bleier threw his second live batting practice session of the spring Tuesday. Bleier is scheduled to pitch another simulated game before seeing Grapefruit League play. His debut would mark Bleier’s first appearance since undergoing surgery to repair a torn left lat last June.
  • Shortly before the Rays tabbed right-hander Emilio Pagan to open Tampa Bay's 11-5 win, Hyde shared his thoughts on potentially using an “opener” during the regular season. The Orioles are at least considering the idea, but the concept is new to Hyde, who didn’t face any openers last season with the Cubs. “I’m open to anything to help you win a ballgame,” Hyde said. “Teams have had success with it, so I’d be open to being creative like that … the game is moving in a direction where people are open to newer ideas.”
  • The Orioles honored their one millionth fan to attend a Orioles Spring Training game in Sarasota on Tuesday, selecting Sarasota-native Diana Love at random from the crowd of 4,076 for the distinction. Love received a $5,000 shopping experience at Diamond Vault and two Spring Training season tickets for five years, among other prizes.