SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – Yefry Ramirez has been chosen to start Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against Minnesota at Ed Smith Stadium.
“I feel great, very excited when I was told about the news,” Ramirez said through a translator.
Ramirez had 12 starts for the Orioles last season and was 1-8 with a 5.92 ERA.
Manager Brandon Hyde isn’t making a big deal of the start.
“Kind of where we were from lining guys up,” Hyde said. “We’ll have more stuff in the next couple of days about the first few games, but Yefry is going to start Saturday for us.”
Ramirez, who changed into his full dress uniform for the interview to discuss his start, made no secret that he was pleased to be chosen.
“It makes me feel really good having this opportunity,” Ramirez said, “and I’m looking to take advantage of that…I think it’s very important because there are not a whole lot of opportunities out there, and hopefully things go well.”
What’s happened?— Reliver Josh Osich, who was acquired on waivers from the San Francisco Giants Monday, may not report until Thursday.
A locker next to Josh Lucas has been set aside for Osich.
Catcher Jesus Sucre, who has been held up in Venezuela because of visa issues, could be closer to making it to camp, Hyde said.
Minor league pitcher Dean Kremer, who has been sidelined by an oblique injury, is making progress, Hyde said. Last week, Kremer said he thought he could be sidelined for two more weeks.
What’s up with?–Evan Phillips. Acquired in the trade in which Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day went to Atlanta, Phillips was 0-1 with an 18.56 ERA in five games with the Orioles.
Phillips was used as an “opener” once in September when the team ran short on starting pitchers, but now he’s trying to make the team as a reliever.
He was born in Salisbury, Md., but moved at 2 to North Carolina. Even though Phillips raised there, much of his family remains in Maryland, and he’s a fervent fan of the Maryland Terps basketball team.
“The past couple of seasons, I’ve fallen off just a little bit,” Phillips said of his devotion. “I used to love watching them play back when Gary Williams was coaching.”
His father was friendly with an assistant coach of the Terps, and when they visited Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State, the Phillips got excellent seats behind Maryland’s bench.
“It was really a privilege to get to see those, and I appreciate it even more so now,” Phillips said.
What’s what? If you couldn’t immediately remember who started last year’s Grapefruit League opener, which was also on Feb, 23, you’re not alone.
I had to look up the 2018 starter. It was Mike Wright Jr.
What’s the word? “I think the difference is that this new group is trying to get to know me. They’ve been asking me questions, trying to get [to know] my personality a little bit more, and hopefully we can start building a good relationship.”-Ramirez on how things have changed under Hyde and new pitching coach Doug Brocail.
What’s the number? 20. The Orioles have begun wearing a patch on the right sleeve of their uniform to honor Frank Robinson, who died Feb. 7. The patch, with Robinson’s uniform number, will be worn throughout the Grapefruit League season and the regular season.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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