BALTIMORE -- The Orioles announced their non-roster invitees on Monday, and there were some interesting names among the 17 on the list. Chief among them was Hunter Harvey, one of the Orioles' top pitching prospects, whose 2015 season was marred by injury. The organization gave some thought to sending Harvey to Minor League camp, keeping him out of the limelight and getting him back on track, but ultimately decided to extend the invite.
First, it will give some of the Major League staff, including pitching coach Dave Wallace, another look at Harvey. Second, it was good for the youngster to learn the ropes from guys like Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman when he was in big league camp last year. While Harvey's stay may be short, he could also be what manager Buck Showalter calls a JIC (just in case) guy this spring.
Outfielder L.J. Hoes, who cleared waivers recently and stayed in the organization, is another name to watch. Hoes could make some noise in the outfield competition.
Alvarez impressive in winter ball
I heard from multiple people that Dariel Alvarez put on quite a show in the Caribbean Series, and he'll be an intriguing guy to watch in camp. With both corner outfield spots up for grabs, Alvarez made his Major League debut last season and fared OK, but some in the organization thought he needed to play with a little more urgency in the field. The 27-year-old has a fantastic arm and all the right tools to succeed in the big leagues. Alvarez could use his strong Caribbean Series -- he hit .458 in six games -- as a springboard for a big camp.
O's head groundskeeper honored
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House announced Monday that Orioles head groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen has been named the recipient of the Mary Pickersgill Award for Women's Leadership in Business. McFadyen will accept the award on Thursday, March 10, in a ceremony at the Flag House (844 E. Pratt Street).
The Mary Pickersgill Award, established in 2012, is awarded annually to honor a woman who demonstrates leadership in her community, exemplifies innovation in her chosen field and has the power to inspire others. McFadyen will begin her 10th season as the Orioles' head groundskeeper this year and is one of just two female head groundskeepers in Major League Baseball.
Torre to be presented with Cal, Sr. Award
On Friday, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF) will host its 12th annual Aspire Gala, honoring U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (Md.), Buffalo Bills assistant defensive backs coach and former Baltimore Raven Ed Reed and Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre. Proceeds from the event benefit CRSF programs that help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth residing in America's most distressed communities.
Mikulski and Reed will be presented with the Aspire Award, and Torre will be honored with the Cal, Sr. Award. The gala will take place at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.
Orioles still rank among most affordable
The Orioles sent out their annual season-ticket invoices on Tuesday, with Season Plan Members saving an average of 15 percent over single-game tickets. For just the third time in 12 seasons, the was a slight increase in average prices, up about $5 from 2015. Even with those adjustments, attending an Orioles game (as a family of four) still ranks as the ninth-best value of all teams across Major League Baseball, according to Team Marketing Report. Orioles games are not only the ninth-best value across MLB, but also the ninth-best value across all major professional sports.
Baltimore will continue its fan-friendly food and beverage policy in 2016, which allows fans to bring their own food and drinks into the ballpark as long as they are within a few guidelines.