PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.-What’s happening? –Mike Wright pitches for the fourth time this spring against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., today. Wright has thrown seven scoreless innings, giving up eight hits, walking two and striking out four. Wright be followed by Yefry Ramirez, Dillon Tate, Miguel Castor, Branden Kline and Josh Osich.
Chris Davis is still out because of a sore left hip flexor.
Manager Brandon Hyde said that right-hander Nate Karns, who threw an inning on Tuesday, would pitch again in a few days. Karns was sidelined by arm soreness, and the Orioles are being cautious with him.
Richard Bleier, who had lat surgery last year, threw live batting practice in Sarasota. Hyde “would like to see him get a handful of appearances at least…The health is the No. 1 thing. They’re not going to push through anything at this point.”
Catcher Austin Wynns will be out for a few days because of a sore oblique.
What’s happened?—Left-hander John Means threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, striking out five and walking two in the Orioles’ 9-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
After allowing three runs and retiring only one batter in his first outing, Means has pitched five scoreless innings, giving up one hit.
“I think I probably felt a little better last outing,” Means said. “This outing is kind of one of those, you see the box score, you see the strikeouts, and you think it was a good outing.
“I just didn’t have as much feel for my curveball. I didn’t really dump that in for a strike. I still felt good. I still feel strong.”
Means, who was drafted in 2014, is in his first major league camp.
“Everybody’s coming in here, trying to leave a good first impression,” Means said. “That was my goal coming into camp, to come in strong, and I feel like I’ve succeeded in that.”
Means isn’t focused on roster openings.
“I try not to think about it,” Means said. “Spring training’s used to get warmed up for the season.”
He’s been pleased by his experience.
“It’s pretty great,” Means said. “Taking a look back at the last four years I’ve been with his organization, I’ve been in minor league camp. I looked up to these guys in camp, and always wanted to be one of them. Now, I’m here, I’m trying to take as many opportunities as I possibly can.”
Hyde liked what he saw from Means.
“I thought John Means threw the ball really well,” Hyde said. “Nice mix of pitches, and he was unpredictable. I liked his offspeed stuff. He kept hitters off balance. He did a great job for three innings.”
Luis Ortiz allowed two runs in an inning.
“I think the results weren’t quite what he was looking for,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, he can have some positive outings for his mindset. I think he’s kind of fallen in some bad luck and gotten some pitches up in tough times that have hurt him.”
Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander and Mike Yastrzemski homered for the Orioles. Richie Martin and Rio Ruiz each had two hits. Yusniel Diaz had a three-run double in the eighth.
What’s up with? Alcides Escobar is in a new position, trying to make the Orioles as a non-roster player after eight years with the Kansas City Royals.
“This is my first time being in this position,” Escobar said. “I’m feeling really good here, and I’m fighting for a job.”
Escobar, who’s hitting .308 (4-for-13) in six games, is fine with being a utility player if he can extend his major league career.
“If the manager wants to put me at third base, put me at second base, put me at any position,” Escobar said.
Escobar’s principal competition might be Martin, the Rule 5 draft pick who’s playing a brilliant shortstop in camp.
“He’s a really good guy,” Escobar said. “He’s playing really good, too. He’s got a lot of talent.”
Escobar has a March 21 opt-out. If the Orioles don’t put him on the 40-man roster by then, he can request to be released.
What’s what? Expect to see Mychal Givens, who’s failed to finish his proscribed inning in his two outings, to pitch in consecutive games in the final 10-to-12 days of spring training.
Hyde said that you’ll see some relievers finish an inning and then go back out to start an inning to replicate regular-season action.
“It’s still a little bit early for that for me,” Hyde said.
What’s the word? “I’m not in a rush to get anybody out there. You want to be healthy when you break, but if you’re not all the way there, I’m not going to rush you to make the 25-man roster at the end of spring. I want guys to be healthy the whole season.”–Hyde on his players’ health.
What’s the number? 450. That’s Richie Martin’s Grapefruit League average. His 2-for-3 game makes him 9-for-20.
What’s the record? 7-4-2. The Orioles face the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park at 1:05 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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