SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles’ first spring training workout under manager Buck Showalter didn’t feel much different to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie than those he’s experienced in the past.
Though Ed Smith Stadium and the back fields are undergoing renovations, the camp had a familiar feel to Guthrie, the team’s projected opening day starter.
“I think things will be very similar to the way they’ve been run,” Guthrie said. “Every manager has a little bit different desire for his team to get ready for the season, but I think his goals are ultimately the same: get the pitchers ready, get the hitters ready to hit and have all your defenses and things ready to go so that when we get into the season, we can just play and go off instinct.”
The Orioles went through three managers last season, starting with Dave Trembley and ending with Showalter, who joined the club on Aug. 3. The Orioles lost 96 games, but they finished 34-23 under Showalter, raising expectations among players and fans for a franchise in search of its first winning record since 1997.
Pitchers and catchers took their physicals in the morning and headed outdoors around noon. Showalter wore a black windbreaker and carried a fungo bat during the entire three-hour workout, moving from field to field and barking out instructions.
He also paused to shake hands with second baseman Brian Roberts, an early arrival in camp.
“We got through it,” Showalter said. “I haven’t talked to the trainers and coaches yet, but so far, so good. We got most everybody here with the exception of (Alfredo) Simon, obviously. No red flags yet, health-wise.”
Simon remains in a Dominican jail while law enforcement officials await the results of a ballistics test on the gun that the reliever turned into authorities a few days after a New Year’s Eve shooting that left one man dead and another injured.
Twenty-nine of the 30 pitchers listed on the camp roster participated in the workout, along with all six catchers.
Guthrie provided the only tense moment when he fell during his bullpen session and was slow to get back on his feet.
“It wasn’t a scary moment,” Guthrie said. “My foot just slipped out from underneath me.”
Construction on the stadium provided background noise throughout the day. The complex is undergoing a major overhaul, though work on the clubhouse building won’t begin until the Orioles break camp.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” Guthrie said. “Fans will be very happy to come here and watch a game. And players will be happy to be able to work out in a good facility.”
One of the back fields has the exact same dimensions as Camden Yards. The half-field has synthetic turf.
Like Ed Smith Stadium, the Baltimore roster also underwent a substantial facelift during the offseason. Vladimir Guerrero will take his physical on Wednesday after reaching agreement on a one-year, $8 million deal.
The Orioles also have three new infielders: Third baseman Mark Reynolds, first baseman Derrek Lee and shortstop J.J. Hardy. The bullpen includes former Toronto Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg.
“Even guys who aren’t Baltimore fans will come up to me and talk to me,” reliever Michael Gonzalez said.. “It’s a definite upgrade. You see just the names alone. Now it’s putting it together and seeing how Buck is going to put that lineup today. So yeah, I’m excited. … It’s going to be a good year.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)