SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Without some of their most recognizable names, the re-tooled Baltimore Orioles have reported to spring training.
Gone are Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller. The latest edition of the Orioles features newcomers Travis Snider, and Everth Cabrera, the former All-Star infielder who signed on Wednesday.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Severe Storm Threat Prompts Alert Day Saturday
Manny Machado and Matt Wieters are back from injuries. Chris Davis has served all but one game of his 25-game suspension for use of Adderall.
Manager Buck Showalter, starting his sixth season with the Orioles, took his team on a group outing Tuesday night, and the veteran manager isn’t any less excited about another year.
“Actually, it’s getting a little bit more. I don’t know why. It’s crazy,” Showalter said. “I don’t have anxiety about it. I just have anticipation.”
Nearly all the position players reported days early, and there were no major injuries in the first days.
With Markakis gone, Snider will presumably take his place in right field. Baltimore acquired him late last month from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 27-year-old left-handed hitter.
Snider emphasizes he’s not Markakis.
“I respect everything he’s done here, but again, he’s not here anymore,” Snider said. “I’m here now. I’m not here to replace Nick Markakis, but to be another man on this roster.”
Without Markakis and Cruz, who led the major leagues in home runs with 40 last season, Snider and Steve Pearce, who a breakout year with 21 homers, will have to carry more of the burden.READ MORE: Baltimore Police Stepping Up Deployment On Fourth Of July Weekend, Commissioner Says
“We have great adds this year and we can compete. You look around the locker room and there’s a lot of talent here,” Pearce said. “All our pitching’s returned, so we still have a really good team.”
“It definitely stinks to lose those guys, lose Markakis, what he brought to the clubhouse, and Cruz, what he brought to the field. But we’ve got to move on. We’re going to miss those guys.”
Cabrera provides versatility for the Orioles.
“He’s got a great opportunity. He brings an element to our ballclub that will be additive. He brings an excellent base runner and base stealer,” Baltimore executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. “That’s something we need. If we can leverage his onbase capability in front of our power hitters, then we’ve got something good to talk about.”
Cabrera, who played shortstop for San Diego, may play some second base and could possibly see some time in the outfield.
“I don’t care. I’m open to everything. I have a little experience before playing centerfield, right field. I want the opportunity and I want to play,” Cabrera said.
Until Cabrera’s signing, the only major league additions to last year’s roster were Snider and left-handed reliever Wesley Wright.
Fourteen pitchers on the Orioles’ roster had substantial time in the major leagues last season. Only Miller, who signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent, has departed from last year’s staff.
Said Duquette: “We’ve got pitching depth, we’ve got good power up the middle, good defense at every position and that’s a pretty good recipe for a winning ballclub.”MORE NEWS: State Police Expand Traffic Enforcement On I-83 In Baltimore City
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)