SARASOTA, Fla. -- Shortly before noon ET on Wednesday, Orioles pitchers and catchers took the field to officially open the first workout of Spring Training. Sporting their new spring hats, with an orange front behind the cartoon bird, the group went through a series of stretching and fielding drills around the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium Complex, with 11 pitchers throwing bullpen sessions.
Among that group were rotation candidates Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Steve Johnson and Dylan Bundy. Also throwing were Todd Redmond, Adam Russell, Zach Clark, Mike Wright and Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland, who caught manager Buck Showalter's eye.
"He was impressive," Showalter said. "It's kind of nice. You see so much tape of these guys coming in and you read so many reports, and to be able to actually see them live, it's always a different look. Quickly you can see why he's had success, the deception he has in his delivery. Same thing with Clark. You look at the year Clark had last year. It's very easy to kind of get lost in the shuffle. He had a big year [in the Minors last season]."
With the crowded rotation competition, it's possible McFarland becomes a bullpen option later in camp.
"That's why we'll stretch him out early," Showalter said. "We can always go either way. It's a good year [with the World Baseball Classic making for a longer spring] to have a Rule 5 pitcher that you want to see, because you can get a lot of looks at him."
The Orioles have gotten an early look at their entire camp roster, splitting up the hitting sessions on two fields because the club has had virtually every position player report early. The only player who has yet to report is infielder Yamaico Navarro, although Showalter said he's pretty sure Navarro is in the city.
Wada hopes to pitch before Spring Training ends
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada is about three to four weeks away from throwing bullpen sessions, and he said Wednesday he could get into a Spring Training game before camp ends.
"It is a possibility, but we have to go through a [bullpen session] and I have to go through a [simulated] game." Wada said through interpreter/athletic trainer Seob Yoon. "I want to throw as early as possible, but I know that I have to kind of slow it down sometimes."
Wada took part in fielding drills with his teammates during the club's first official workout for pitchers and catchers, and although he didn't do any of the throwing portion, the left-hander is progressing on a long-toss program that he started in November. Wada, who made around 20 tosses at 270 feet on Wednesday, said he is regaining strength and targeting a return around the one-year anniversaryfrom undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.
"Obviously as soon as possible, that's what I feel," Wada said of a return date, "but I have to talk to the trainers and what they think and all of that, and we will decide together. Typically, with Tommy John [surgery], it takes about a year, and May was when I had the surgery. So May or June, around there, if I could go up there and be with the Orioles, that would be great."
Signed to a two-year, $8.15 million contract last winter, Wada has yet to throw a pitch for the club as his elbow issues date back to last spring. He will remain in Major League camp during his rehab and participate in as much of the Orioles' activities as he can.
"It's nice to see those faces again around and be with the team," Wada said. "I really want to help out the team this year, because I wasn't able to last year."
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.