SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? –The Orioles play the Philadelphia Phillies in Sarasota today. Josh Rogers will start for the Orioles. Luis Ortiz, Miguel Castro, Paul Fry and Branden Kline are also scheduled to pitch. Aaron Nola, who will be the Phillies’ Opening Day starter, is scheduled to pitch for Philadelphia.
Dwight Smith Jr., a left-hand hitting outfielder the Orioles acquired on Friday from Toronto, reported Saturday.
“When I heard the news, I was ecstatic to come over here,” Smith said.
Smith is the son of former major league outfielder Dwight Smith Sr., who played 28 games for the Orioles in 1994.
“He was ecstatic about the move. He can’t wait to come up here and see me play,” Smith said.
The elder Smith told his son that Oriole Park is a great place to play.
“He said it’s a lot of history,” Smith said. “’You’ll like it. It’s going to be a great thing for you. Just take it and have fun with it.’”
Dwight Smith Sr. has played a huge part in his son’s career.
“He was everything to me,” Smith said. “He was my coach, my dad, my best friend, everything. I learned everything through him.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said that Smith might play today.
Chris Davis took batting practice, and Hyde said that his strained left hip flexor has improved, and that he should be ready to play after Monday’s off-day. Davis had an MRI as a precaution.
Alex Cobb’s wife had a baby daughter on Friday night, and he won’t pitch for several days. Cobb will pitch a simulated game instead.
Catcher Austin Wynns said his sore left oblique is improving, and Hyde said that he will likely swing a bat next week.
The Orioles signed their 30 players who were not eligible for arbitration to one-year contracts.
They are: right-handed pitchers Pedro Araujo, Cody Carroll, Miguel Castro, Hunter Harvey, David Hess, Branden Kline, Luis Ortiz, Evan Phillips, Yefry Ramirez, Dillon Tate, Mike Wright and Jimmy Yacabonis; left-handers Richard Bleier, Paul Fry, John Means, Josh Rogers and Tanner Scott; catchers Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns; infielders Drew Jackson, Richie Martin, Renato Nunez; and outfielders Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander and DJ Stewart.
Cuts are possible today.
What’s happened?—David Hess allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings as the Orioles lost to the New York Yankees, 6-1, in Sarasota in the second half of a split-squad doubleheader.
“The ultimate goal is to put yourself in the best position to make the club,” Hess said. “Ultimately, I think I am where I want to be right now. We have a lot of talented guys now doing the exact same.”
Hess has allowed four runs on nine hits in 10 1/3 innings this spring.
Richard Bleier allowed three runs, two unearned, while recording two outs in his first Grapefruit League appearance after June lat surgery.
“I was really pumped,” Bleier said. “It honestly felt like my debut in ’16. I was pretty pumped up to get back on the mound. That was fun. After the first pitch, it was like, ‘All right, my arm is still attached to my body. Now, it’s time to get ready for the season.”
Bleier said he feels as if he’s ready to begin the regular season but thinks he needs about eight innings to adequately prepare.
The Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 17-15, in the first half of the split-squad in Port Charlotte.
Dylan Bundy allowed six runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle each had four RBIs. Rio Ruiz drove in three runs. Hays, Mountcastle, Ruiz and Martin Cervenka homered.
What’s up with? Jimmy Yacabonis. He pitched 2 2/3 innings, and allowed his first run in 6 2/3 innings this spring.
“This is the first spring I’ve been getting stretched out,” Yacabonis said.
“Last spring, I came in as a reliever, had a chance to make the team as a reliever, one to two innings. Towards the end, they started to stretch me out. It’s been a little different from that standpoint just like the volume of pitches. Other than that, it’s been pretty close to what I expected.”
A year ago, the Orioles decided to try Yacabonis as a starter in Triple-A. Although Hyde said it’s unlikely that there will be an opportunity for him to start this spring, the team wants to see him in extended innings.
What’s what? Hyde decided to watch some of the first game of the split-squad doubleheader and managed the second.
He said it felt strange to leave a game in progress.
“I was like one of the players with the [equipment] bags on the shoulder walking off the field,” Hyde said. “I felt bad for [home plate umpire] Sam Holbrook. He was mad at me. He had to umpire four more innings in the heat.”
What’s the word? “There’s a lot of guys with good stuff in this camp, guys with a lot of ability and the chance to make a statement at the big league level. I think it’s really conducive to our whole team camaraderie that we have all these young guys competing for spots. It makes everybody else better.”–Yacabonis on competition among Orioles pitchers.
What’s the number? 6. The Orioles won the first game of the split-squad doubleheader despite committing six errors, three by catcher Martin Cervenka.
What’s the record? 9-6-2. The Orioles face the Philadelphia Phillies at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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