Showalter jumps in during O's first workout of spring
Excited manager gives instruction as pitchers participate in fielding drills
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles camp officially opened on Friday as nearly 30 pitchers and catchers took the field to begin the first workout of Spring Training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Baltimore, which seemingly has a huge group of pitchers every year, had three no-shows due to the inclement weather in certain parts of the country: Pitchers Tim Alderson and Alfredo Aceves and catcher Johnny Monell. Alderson and Monell are expected to be here in time for Saturday's workout, while Aceves' estimated time of arrival is Sunday.
The group that was present took part in the usual pitchers' fielding practice and bunt-coverage plays, with manager Buck Showalter jumping right in with instruction and allowing some of the veteran pitchers to show the new and younger guys the way.
"My biggest challenge is I've got to slow myself down, keep in mind the tempo and the process of everything," Showalter said. "You know where you want to end up, but you got to go through the steps to get there. It's exciting. I think everybody that's been in the game for a long time, you got that moment ... where all of a sudden you get the sense of anticipation that you can't wait to get out there in that environment. Because it's something you are comfortable in.
"I had a little trouble sleeping last night for the right reasons."
About half of the pitchers threw bullpen sessions, including Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Edgmer Escalona, Steve Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, Liam Hendriks, Mike Belfiore, Josh Stinson, Mike Wright, Kevin Gausman, Chris Jones, Eduardo Rodriguez, Fabio Castillo and Eddie Gamboa. Those who didn't throw Friday will take their turn on Saturday, with Showalter trying to stagger the groups of three so that there was a mix of experience and inexperience in each one.
Along with Showalter, new pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti were watching diligently as this year's camp presents a challenge in the pair of new staff additions trying to get up to speed.
"I don't want to use the words 'fresh eyes' so much, but just the wisdom of the process," Showalter said of what Wallace and Chiti bring. "There's a process. They are not going to blurt something out after a guy throws a side one day. You can see their experience; they aren't going to coach every second. They know that sometimes the best coaching you do is the coaching you don't do sometimes. It's about the environment. I've said many times this has got the chance to be the best coaching staff I've ever had.
"They are not in a race to show everybody how smart they are. They come in with a lot of cache, but they realize how much weight their words carry, and they choose them very carefully."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.