The boys of summer are on the field for the start of spring.
"It’s fun to get started again," said Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde. "Spring training day one. Pitchers and catchers. We had a great day."
"Coming in today, even yesterday with physicals, everybody you can tell, the atmosphere, everybody is really, really happy. Excited to get going," said Orioles pitcher Shawn Armstrong.
Orioles spring training officially got underway Wednesday with pitchers and catchers taking the field in Sarasota, Fla. John Means enters camp as the ace. He is embracing more of a leadership role this season.
"I’m excited to take that role on, especially with the starting rotation," he said. "I mean it’s just so up in the air."
The biggest additions to that rotation are veterans Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey. Both were signed to minor-league deals. An influx of young talent is there too. The O’s' rebuilding process is well underway.
"We’ve gotten better. I think we proved that last year," said Hyde. "We saw some young players get to the big leagues, both on the mound and in the field, and that’s going to continue."
Expectations for these 2021 Orioles are the same as the last few seasons - not good. The latest viral projection by analytics site FanGraphs has the Birds as the only team in baseball with a 0.0 % chance of making the playoffs.
That's just another prognostication to surpass.
"I think the last two years we have been projected to finish last and I don’t think we’ve done it yet. I think we’ve outplayed projections every year that I’ve been up here and the plan is to outplay projections again," said Means. "I think we have a better chance than 0.0% for sure."
It’s pitchers and catchers until Monday, that’s when full squad workouts begin. The first game of the spring comes on February 28 against the Pirates.