Two weeks ago, the Orioles held their three-day minicamp in Sarasota, Fla. The temperatures were chilly for Florida—in the low 50’s. It was hard to imagine that two weeks later that we’d spend several days digging out of a record snowstorm in Baltimore.
With just over three weeks now left before pitchers and catchers report for spring training on Feb. 18, several of those pitchers who came to minicamp will sit in the same clubhouse. There will be many more pitchers there then.
One of the pitchers hoping to impress the Orioles is Jeff Beliveau, who threw for a few minutes on flat ground during the second day of Orioles minicamp.
It’s a relief for Beliveau, who underwent surgery on his left labrum in April after pitching in five games for Tampa Bay.
The Orioles signed Beliveau to a minor league contract with a spring training invitation last month, and the left-hander is looking to return to the major leagues.
Beliveau pitched in 58 games for the Cubs and Rays from 2012-15.
“Sitting and watching baseball being played all year last year was a tough thing to do. You can’t do anything. Yes, just take it day-by-day, and just see how it goes. That’s the only way you can handle it,” Beliveau said.
Beliveau is still throwing off flat ground, but thinks he’ll ready to pitch when spring training begins, though he could be held back a bit at the start of camp.
In 2014, Beliveau was impressive with a 2.63 ERA in 30 games for Tampa Bay. He allowed just one home run in 24 outings.
Beliveau, who will be competing with several other left-handers, is pitching in a division he’s familiar with.
“I like pitching in the AL East, and I did fairly well, and I think that’s one of the reasons why they approached me, and I think I did have some success against these guys. They saw me pitch against them, and I think that’s what it was. I was just looking for somewhere to play, the best opportunity, and this seemed like the best fit for me,” Beliveau said.
Manager Buck Showalter was eager to get a closer look at Beliveau.
“It'd be good to see Beliveau get healthy. He's got a pretty good track record when healthy. You can just tell from his delivery they don't see the ball well off him. That's why his velocity plays up,” Showalter said.
Pitching coach Dave Wallace got a chance to see Beliveau work for three days, and is eager to see him in training camp.
“I remember him now in ’14. It was the Rays against some of our left-handers. He’s one of those guys that it appears that he’s pretty deceptive, and you don’t see the ball off him. We don’t know that yet, but yeah, it does intrigue you,” Wallace said.
The Rhode Island native, who is familiar with winter storms, had a bigger concern last year, rehabbing from surgery.
“A lot of different thoughts go through your head. Not only is there a whole physical side to it, there’s a mental side. Taking it day-by-day, not trying to do too much. Not trying to do too much in the weight room at first. Just really trying to stick with the schedule, go about your business, do what you can when you can do it,” Beliveau said.
“I had like a divot in the back of my shoulder just because the doctor said from the injuries, those muscles are shut down. Your brain tells your body to shut those muscles down. Now that it’s fixed, and it’s structurally intact, I was able to build those muscles back up. Now, it’s just getting my arm in condition to throw and throw in game situations.”