Spring training returns to Florida (and Arizona) this week.
Pitchers and catchers report to most of the Grapefruit League sites later this week, with full squad workouts scheduled to begin early next week.
Because of COVD-19 protocols, fans will not be allowed on site until games begin at the end of the month and even then, not anywhere but inside the stadiums. Most teams are operating at about 25% capacity, with season ticket holders getting first priority in most cases.
Each day over the next week or so The Daily Sun will profile one of the nine teams within an easy drive of our area.
We continue today with the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore enters it’s 107th year spending the spring in Florida, but just its 11th in this stint at Ed Smith stadium.
Parking is available in several lots on and surrounding the Ed Smith Stadium complex. This year parking must be purchased in advance and by credit card.
DIRECTIONS FROM INTERSTATE 75
From north: Take I-75 to exit 213 (University Parkway). Head west on University to Tuttle Avenue. Turn left onto Tuttle Avenue and head south. Stadium is located on the right at the intersection of 12th Street and Tuttle.
From south: Take I-75 to exit 210 (Fruitville Road). Head West on Fruitville to Tuttle Avenue. Turn right on Tuttle to 12th Street. The stadium is on the left.
Ed Smith Stadium will be completely cashless (credit cards only) this year as part of the health and safety protocols.
Manager: Brandon Hyde (third season).
2020: 25-35, fourth place.
He’s Here: RHP Félix Hernández, SS Freddy Galvis, RHP Ashton Goudeau, OF Chris Shaw, 2B Yolmer Sanchez, RHP Mac Sceroler, RHP Tyler Wells.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Alex Cobb, 2B Hanser Alberto, SS Jose Iglesias, OF Dwight Smith, 1B Renato Nunez, RHP David Hess, INF Andrew Velazquez, C Bryan Holaday, RHP Kohl Stewart.
Going campin’: Although the Orioles appeared to make some progress last year following two straight 100-loss seasons, general manager Mike Elias continues to slash the payroll and rebuild with draft picks and prospects obtained via trades for veteran talent. The offseason trades of Cobb and Iglesias, along with the willingness to part with Alberto and Nunez, means 2021 will serve merely to groom several of the younger players. Hyde will seek to build a rotation and bullpen without a whole lot of major league experience. The pending return of OF/1B Trey Mancini following his bout with cancer projects as one of the feel-good stories in a camp that otherwise will feature a bunch of inexperienced players. The exception is 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Hernández, who’s looking to earn a job at the front of the rotation with 2019 All-Star John Means.
Associated Press contributed to this report