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Cashner acclimating to O's at his own pace

Veteran starter signed two-year contract with Baltimore on Feb. 15
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- If you don't see new Orioles starter Andrew Cashner much in the Grapefruit League this spring, it's by design, both he and the club's.

"I kind of asked for that," said Cashner, who threw his first bullpen session with the Orioles on Feb. 20. "I asked for a slower start, just because getting here, I had a long layoff and travel and moving and that kind of stuff. I had like five or six days [of not throwing]."

SARASOTA, Fla. -- If you don't see new Orioles starter Andrew Cashner much in the Grapefruit League this spring, it's by design, both he and the club's.

"I kind of asked for that," said Cashner, who threw his first bullpen session with the Orioles on Feb. 20. "I asked for a slower start, just because getting here, I had a long layoff and travel and moving and that kind of stuff. I had like five or six days [of not throwing]."

Cashner, who threw a bullpen session on Monday, will appear in a "B" game on the back fields in the coming days. Orioles manager Buck Showalter has already said that he'd like to have established starters like Cashner not pitch against the American League East teams -- or the Twins, who the O's face to start the regular season -- this spring. And that's perfectly fine with the veteran right-hander.

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"Spring Training is all about getting my work in. For me, it's not so much about what the hitter is doing. It's what I need to do, which is commanding my stuff on both sides of the plate, up [and] down," Cashner said. "[I'm] still getting acclimated with all the plays. I think the 'A' games are to show something or prove something. I'll prove my stuff during the season."

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One thing Cashner has acclimated quickly to is his new teammates. An avid outdoorsman, Cashner, who was signed to a two-year deal with an option for 2020, is situated next to fellow rotation mates Chris Tillman and Dylan Bundy.

"I really like the pitching staff. I've never had this many guys who like to hunt and fish," Cashner said. "For me, it's been great. It's hunters row over here, you know? We just got to get [fellow starter Kevin] Gausman over here."

Part of what intrigued the Orioles about Cashner was his success in the American League last season with the Rangers. Asked if he enjoyed the leadership part that comes with his eight seasons of Major League experience, Cashner joked, "I think it's the getting old part. I don't like that.

"But it's crazy just how fast my career has gone. Just from a lot of the guys that are veterans when I came up are all kind of gone now. I think it's a chance to step back and realize how quick this game goes and to enjoy it."

Video: MLB Tonight on the Orioles signing Andrew Cashner

The 31-year-old Cashner made 28 starts for the Rangers in 2017, throwing 166 2/3 innings. He struck out 86 batters and walked 64, posting an impressive ground-ball percentage of 48.6, which ranked sixth in the AL and should play favorably in a hitter-friendly ballpark like Camden Yards, where many fly-ball pitchers have struggled.

This year, he'll be tasked with helping turn around an Orioles rotation that ranked among the worst in baseball in 2017.

"[He's a] guy that's got a plan. Knows what he's doing down in the bullpen. Knows what his strengths are," Showalter said. "[He] has evolved as a pitcher. Knows who he is. Very confident in his approach and ability to get people out, like you would expect a veteran pitcher to be. Coming off a good year in the American League, so he knows what he's up against. Very business-like [and has] a quiet confidence in knowing what works and what doesn't."

Cashner came up with O's reliever Brad Brach with the Padres, who initially used Cashner as a setup man, "back when I used to throw a lot harder than I do now," he said, laughing.

"The other veterans in this locker room, they've seen me from the other side. So they know what I'm capable of. They know what I need to work on. It's all about helping each other have a common goal to win."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Andrew Cashner