CLEARWATER, Fla.-What’s happening? –The Orioles play their first of three split-squad doubleheaders today. Alex Cobb will pitch at 1:05 p.m. in Sarasota against the Tampa Bay Rays’ Charlie Morton.
Nate Karns was scheduled to start the 6:35 p.m. game in Tampa against the New York Yankees’ James Paxton, but he’s been scratched.
“He’s got some general arm soreness, which we’re going to be careful with,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ll just push him back a couple of days, maybe throw a side instead Sunday, and then go back on his routine from there. We want to give him a little bit of a blow, especially since he has some history there with not being in a competitive situation and having some arm issues the last few years. We just wanted to be careful with him.”
Karns has not pitched in a major league game since May 2017 because of thoracic outlet syndrome and elbow issues.
John Means will start instead of Karns.
Hyde will manage the home game with third base coach Jose Flores and first base coach Arnie Beyeler. Field coordinator Tim Cossins and Triple-A Norfolk manager Gary Kendall will handle the game against the Yankees. Pitching coach Doug Brocail may go to both games, although Hyde is trying to talk him out of it.
“I will be very interested in what’s happening,” Hyde said. “That’s going to be very weird in not knowing what’s going on in the night game. I’m putting my trust in the guys that are going.”
No one looks forward to playing split-squad games.
“Those day-night, split doubleheaders are a staff killer,” Hyde said. “It’s not that day, it’s the next day.”
The Orioles play the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers on Saturday.
Hyde and many of the Orioles will attend a country music fundraising event at the team’s complex tonight.
What’s happened?— Dylan Bundy made his first start of the spring and allowed a run on four hits in two innings as the Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies played to a 5-5 tie.
“He was really happy with how he threw the ball,” Hyde said. “I haven’t seen his last three or four years of first appearances, but he says they haven’t been pretty.”
Yusniel Diaz was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Joey Rickard was 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Both are hitting .500.
“He hit the ball on the nose four times,” Hyde said about Diaz. “He’s taking really good at-bats.”
Hyde likes that Diaz is not chasing low off-speed pitches. “It’s great to see a young kid able to drive the ball to both sides of the field with confidence.”
It’s too early to consider whether Diaz could make the Orioles.
“Obviously, he’s a huge part of our future, and he’s showing why,” Hyde said. “I’m excited to watch him play. Not only is he doing it at the plate, he’s playing really good defense. I didn’t know he had the arm that he has. He runs well. He’s fitting right in.”
Rickard had a strong spring in 2016, enabling him to make the Orioles as a Rule 5 draft choice. He had a tough spring training last year, but he’s doing well so far.
“Just playing all around well,” Hyde said of Rickard. “Playing really good defense, running the bases outstanding…He’s stealing bases, just being aggressive.”
Diaz and Rickard could challenge for the open right field job.
“There are a lot of good outfielders here in camp, and it’s kind of helping us push each other to be a better baseball player and help the team out,” Rickard said.
What’s up with? John Means. Means starts tonight’s game in Tampa. In his first appearance of the spring, Means allowed three runs on two hits and a walk on Tuesday while retiring just one batter.
“I honestly felt really good that outing,” Means said. “Some unfortunate things happened, soft single, walk. I felt like my fastball [velocity] was up, my slider was going where I wanted it to go. I threw one bad pitch, and it was the changeup up the middle. I really was actually pleased with it. The results weren’t there, but it’s about the process, especially in spring training.”
Means was called up late last season and pitched in one game, allowing five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings at Fenway Park.
What’s what? Kevin Brown will join the Orioles’ broadcast team for about 50 games this season. Brown has been an ESPN broadcaster for football, basketball, hockey and softball as well as the voice of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs.
Brown’s addition helps make up for the retirement of Joe Angel.
Gary Thorne will return as the team’s primary television broadcaster, and Jim Hunter will become the primary radio broadcaster. Jim Palmer will return as the lead analyst on MASN. Mike Bordick, Dave Johnson, Ben McDonald, Gregg Olson and Brian Roberts will also contribute analysis.
As previously reported, Sara Perlman will join the MASN broadcasts as a sideline reporter. Roch Kubatko will have an expanded role on the broadcasts.
Tom Davis will be the weekday host of O’s Xtra while Rob Long joins O’s Xtra as weekend host. Rick Dempsey will return to O’s Xtra.
What’s the word? “You can’t overdo it. You can’t try and go outside your box. You kind of take what you worked on in spring training, just like every other year. You’re not going to impress them Day One, change their entire perspective on you. They know exactly how good you’ve been and how well you’ve pitched over the last few years.”-Means on proving himself to a new Orioles management team.
What’s the number? 4. During Bundy’s career, he’s had four pitching coaches. Rick Adair was the pitching coach when he came up in 2012, Dave Wallace in 2016, Roger McDowell for 2017 and 2018 and Doug Brocail this season.
What’s the record? 3-2-1. The Orioles play split-squad games today. They’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and travel to Tampa to play the New York Yankees at 6:35 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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