At minicamp, Givens gearing up for Classic

Orioles reliever excited to play for Team USA again

At minicamp, Givens gearing up for Classic

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Reliever Mychal Givens is at the Orioles' three-day minicamp at the club's Spring Training complex, though the right-hander will not do any official throwing as he prepares to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March.

"I'm pretty committed," Givens said of his decision. "I talked to [Team USA general manager] Joe Torre. He pretty much gave me the invite after Thanksgiving. Talked to him, talked to [Team USA manager Jim] Leyland, and I'm pretty comfortable in how they're going to use me and not overuse me. I still have a season to get ready for."

As a high schooler, Givens twice played for Team USA in national competition, and he is excited to do it again on a grander stage. He briefly considered played for Puerto Rico for his great-grandmother, but instead went with his home country.

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"Just having the atmosphere and feeling of representing your country, you can't do anything better than that," Givens said.

"When I was in high school … the experience and to represent your country is a tremendous opportunity -- to be there with the atmosphere, with a lot of great teammates and great players that's on it. Looking at the team they built, it's really good this year, the best one they've built in the last few WBCs. It's really a great opportunity."

Though the rosters are still preliminary, Givens will join Orioles outfielder Adam Jones on Team USA. Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado (Puerto Rico), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands) and outfielder Hyun Soo Kim (South Korea) are also on the preliminary lists, though Givens is the only O's pitcher.

Givens, who made his first Opening Day roster last year, went 8-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 74 2⁄3 innings in 66 appearances. He struck out 96 and pitched to a 1.27 WHIP.

Verrett back in a familiar spot
Right-hander Logan Verrett walked into the Ed Smith Stadium training complex Monday morning to discover he had the same locker he did two years ago. It was deja vu in a good sense for Verrett, the Orioles' former Rule 5 Draft pick, as he enters Spring Training as a potential bullpen candidate.

"Honestly it felt like just yesterday that I was here, even though it's been two seasons," said Verrett, who was reacquired Nov. 30 in a trade from the Mets. "That's crazy. But it feels good. I've always told everybody that when I was here I really enjoyed my time here and thought it was a first-class organization. I told a lot of my teammates that I'd welcome the opportunity to come back if I ever had it, and so when I got the call, I was pretty excited."

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Verrett will prepare as a starter, like he always does, though the club's decision to non-tender Vance Worley leaves the long-relief spot up for grabs.

Asked if he thought there was an opportunity to fill a need for Baltimore, Verrett said yes.

"I think I can help this team," he said. "This team has a lot of heart, and that's something I noticed a couple years ago. I know it's not the exact same players, but the core group of guys are still here. They're guys who play with heart and play the game the right way. I think that's where I fit in. I think I can help in a couple different ways, whether it's starting or relieving -- long relief, short relief. Whatever [manager] Buck [Showalter] wants me to do, take the ball and go do it."

Verrett was selected from the Mets in the offseason before the 2015 season, along with Jason Garcia, in the Rule 5 Draft. The O's were able to keep Garcia, but not Verrett, but the two have been reunited as teammates at minicamp.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.