Orioles report to camp, ready to get jump on spring
Arencibia eager for 2015 as pitchers and catchers get Spring Training underway for Baltimore
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles have officially started Spring Training, with pitchers and catchers reporting as the first sign of a new camp. There will be an informal workout Thursday, as there has been the past few days, with the first actual practice on Friday.
Here are a few early notes from the clubhouse.
• The Everth Cabrera deal will not be announced on Thursday, though it could be made official in the next few days. The news broke on Wednesday that Baltimore was on the verge of a deal with the infielder, who has already taken his physical. Jayson Nix, who agreed to a Minor League deal with a spring invite on Tuesday, has a locker set up. That deal has also not been made official by the club.
• J.P. Arencibia is a guy to watch this spring as he competes for a spot. The rehab of Matt Wieters could change what catchers are on the O's Opening Day roster, but Arencibia has had success at the Major League level and could vie for a backup spot -- with Caleb Joseph -- even if Wieters is healthy to begin the season.
Arencibia spent four seasons with the Blue Jays before playing in the Rangers' organization last year, and he said there were opportunities for him to sign with other teams that would have had a little easier path to the big leagues.
"I wanted to be able to go to one, [a] great team, and two, to a situation where I know I can help a team win," Arencibia said. "And this is a team that wins, and I know I can be an asset."
Arencibia had his best offensive season in 2011, hitting 23 homers and posting a .219/.282/.438 line. He started '13 strong, hitting 16 first-half homers, but he finished the season with a .194 average and 21 homers overall. He was non-tendered at the end of the season and signed with Texas.
"Last season was a tough year, but a great learning experience for me," Arencibia said. "I started off slow. So it was a good thing to be able to go down [to the Minors] and reset, go down for a month. You kind of look at yourself in a mirror and you say, 'I was once [in 2010] MVP of this [Pacific Coast] League. Why am I back in it?' It was something where I just kind of had to make adjustments and had to do things to further my career. I had too much ability to be where I was.
"It was a huge learning experience. I was able to get going, get back [to the Majors], have success. So, then it was like something where I can still do damage, I can still help a team win. I can still do things on an everyday basis to help a team, whatever it may be. [New Orioles hitting coach Scott] Coolbaugh was another big part of my decision, he was with me for the month I was down [in the Minors]. We had a good relationship. I figured that it was something that would be able to help me going into this season."
• There are numerous position players already in camp, including Nolan Reimold, who agreed to a Minor League deal this offseason.
"I never wanted to leave in the first place," said Reimold, who was claimed off waivers by Toronto last season. "So obviously, I'm happy to be back. I just think that this will be the best place for me, and I need to go out and show that I can stay healthy and play. I think it will all work out."
Why did Reimold want to return to Baltimore?
"I guess there's a lot of reasons that go into it, but I think the staff here, the management, everybody, I know them, I'm comfortable with them," he said.
"They really have the player's best interest at heart. For me, staying healthy, I'm a big fan and advocate of the strength program and things that have been done here, so I think that would be a big thing too. It's just a place where I feel comfortable and I feel a little sense of loyalty to the Orioles. If I'm going to have a career, this is where I want it to be."
• Darren O'Day was among those who welcomed new additions to the family this winter, as the pitcher was carrying around his infant daughter on Thursday morning.