BALTIMORE -- Yasiel Puig has a suitor -- the Orioles.
The O's are interested in signing the free-agent outfielder and have made Puig at least one offer, multiple sources told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand on Saturday. The club has not confirmed any offer to Puig.
Puig is the biggest name to remain unsigned through the offseason. The 29-year-old former All-Star became a free agent this past winter after spending his first six seasons with the Dodgers and the 2019 season split between the Reds and Indians.
Puig hit .267 with 24 home runs, 19 stolen bases and 84 RBIs in 149 games for Cincinnati and Cleveland last year.
The Orioles could use Puig's right-handed bat in right field as Baltimore tries to replace some of Trey Mancini's production. Mancini is battling Stage 3 colon cancer, and the club has been without projected regulars Anthony Santander and Dwight Smith Jr. so far in Summer Camp for undisclosed reasons.
That leaves Austin Hays and DJ Stewart as the only full-time outfielders on Baltimore's active roster, with Cedric Mullins and Mason Williams also currently in camp for depth. The O's also have utility players like Stevie Wilkerson, Andrew Velazquez and Pat Valaika with outfield experience.
Asked if it was too late for players who haven’t appeared in camp yet to be ready for the July 24 opener, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde indicated it was unlikely.
“It’s going to be challenging,” Hyde said. “I don’t know. It’s going to depend. To get somebody ready for Opening Day, I have no idea to be honest with you. So, I don’t know.”
From the trainer’s room
Richie Martin sustained a lacerated fingernail on his left hand while sliding in Friday’s intrasquad game, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. The infielder is considered day to day.
“I wouldn’t expect Richie to be out too long,” Hyde said.
It was one of several minor injuries to strike the Orioles on Friday, when their intrasquad was halted early after right-hander Dillon Tate was struck in the right arm with a comebacker off the bat of Pat Valaika. Tate, the club’s No. 27 prospect per MLB Pipeline, underwent an MRI on Saturday that Hyde described as “precautionary.”
The club was still waiting for the results as of Saturday’s media availability. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Tate is battling for a long-relief role after pitching to a 6.43 ERA in 16 appearances as a rookie in 2019. Hyde had been complimentary of his work since arriving at summer camp.
Hyde said left-hander Ty Blach is still dealing with elbow soreness. Blach was removed early from Thursday’s intrasquad game and then “re-evaluated” Friday, according to Hyde. Hyde said Blach would be “re-evaluated” again Saturday, providing no further details. Blach, 29, is one of nine pitchers the Orioles are stretching out as starters this summer for depth. He made five starts for the club in 2019.
The hardest thing about abiding by baseball’s new health protocols and regulations, Hanser Alberto says, is dealing with the lack of physical connection that results. These are weird times for everyone, but especially so for a clubhouse spark plug like Alberto, who emerged as a fan favorite last season due to his hitting ability and light-hearted nature.
“We can’t get close to our teammates,” Alberto said. “I’m that guy who always tries to joke around, give them some touches and stuff. I can’t do that anymore. That’s the hardest part right now.”
Alberto said that won’t stop him from bringing as much energy as he can to the field every single day. Neither will the lack of fans in the stands, though that may place even more of the energy burden on Alberto.
“You’ll definitely hear him,” Hyde quipped. “You are going to hear everything.”
He’s just happy to be back playing, period.
“I play with energy with fans or without fans in the stands. It’s a new challenge for everyone,” Alberto said. “Through the season, we’re going to learn, and hopefully, we can go back to high fives and stuff.”