SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – Infielder Alcides Escobar invoked his opt-out clause and was granted his release from the Orioles.
“It was unfortunate,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Esky’s a pro. We have a lot of infield depth here, and it just wasn’t going to fit.”
Hyde said that Esobar’s departure doesn’t ensure that Rule 5 draft picks Richie Martin and Drew Jackson make the club. The Orioles also have Hanser Alberto and non-roster infielder Jack Reinheimer still in camp.
The 32-year-old Escobar signed a minor league contract on February 16 and would have made $700,000 had he made the Orioles.
“Ideally, you’d like to have some veteran leadership, but in our situation we’re just trying to acquire and accumulate as much talent as we can in the system,” Hyde said.
It’s not an indication that the Orioles will open the season on March 28 with 13 pitchers and three bench players.
“That didn’t factor into it,” Hyde said. “We still haven’t decided that.”
David Hess will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates today in Bradenton. Hess is scheduled to be followed by Josh Rogers, Mychal Givens and Tanner Scott.
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark met with Orioles players before the game. The Orioles were the 27th team with which Clark has met.
“We’re interested in seeing what they do going forward,” Clark said about the Orioles. “Every offseason, we understand that there are teams that recycle or rebuild…We will be keeping an eye on Baltimore as we do the other 29 teams as well as to what they do in the near term and what their plan is going to be in the longer term to see to what extent further discussions need to be had.”
What’s happened?— Dylan Bundy threw 5 1/3 innings, the longest for any Orioles starter this spring, in a 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Bundy gave up a run on five hits, struck out three and didn’t allow a walk.
“All the pitches tonight, I thought I was executing a lot better,” Bundy said. “Not one in particular.”
Bundy, who might start the final Grapefruit League game on Monday, is satisfied with where he is.
The right-hander is using the Orioles’ analytics and says that they’re not telling him one pitch can be improved.
“Analytics show pretty much every pitch I throw can be better,” Bundy said.
Bundy went to the bullpen to throw additional pitches after he was lifted, and ended up with 80. He’d like to throw 90 in his final start.
“Dylan was outstanding,” Hyde said. “He had a really nice mix. He had a lot of unpredictable pitches in certain counts. He had extra hop on his fastball that he didn’t have early in spring.”
Jimmy Yacabonis allowed four runs, three earned, while retiring two batters in the eighth.
“Just a tough inning for everybody,” Hyde said.
Cedric Mullins had three hits. Mullins and Dwight Smith Jr. homered. Jonathan Villar had a two-run double.
What’s up with? Renato Nunez. Nunez continues to be out because of a sore right biceps. Hyde is hoping he can play today or Friday.
“We’d like to see him play a little more, to be honest with you,” Hyde said.
“He swung the bat well when he was here last year towards the end of the year. That definitely plays a huge factor in the decision-making. I’d love to see him get on the field a little more before we break.”
Nunez and Rio Ruiz are competing for the third base job.
What’s what? Last July at the All-Star Game, Clark complained that MLB hadn’t engaged the players association in dialogue about rule changes. Last week, rule changes agreed to by the players and MLB were announced.
Clark said he was “cautiously optimistic” that an economic system that’s workable for both sides could be achieved about of the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in December 2021.
What’s the word? “I think it was unfortunate that Adam was on the market as long as he was, and that there weren’t teams that weren’t interested in what he brings to the ballpark as a leader on the field and an ambassador off of it.”-Clark on the lack of demand for Adam Jones
What’s the number? .244. Richie Martin’s average after going hitless in four at-bats. Martin had a hot start but has tailed off significantly.
“I’m just trying to get him as many plate appearances as possible,” Hyde said. “He’s going to take stuff from the at-bats and the experience of it.”
What’s the record? 12-12-2. The Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park in Bradenton at 1:05 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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