Hyde picks Shepherd to start Grapefruit League opener; Orioles add game at Navy; Kohl Stewart eyes rotation - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Hyde picks Shepherd to start Grapefruit League opener; Orioles add game at Navy; Kohl Stewart eyes rotation

SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening? Chandler Shepherd will be the Orioles’ starter in their opening game Saturday against the Atlanta Braves in North Port.

“He’s one of the guys we’re stretching out,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It just fell on that day, and see him go a couple of innings.”

Hyde said that Ty Blach will follow Shepherd. Neither is on the 40-man roster.

“We’ll have a couple of starters throw [Sunday],” Hyde said. “We’re stretching out quite a few guys. You’ll see guys go multiple innings, then we’ll continue to ramp them up throughout the Grapefruit League season.”

The Orioles announced an additional exhibition game at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. They’ll play the New York Mets on March 24 at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium.

The Orioles were supposed to play a game at Navy last year, but couldn’t find an opponent.

What’s happened?-Chris Davis was out for a second day because of illness. Pedro Severino, Mychal Givens, Trey Mancini and Hunter Harvey also missed time because of illness.

Infielder Andrew Velazquez, who was claimed on waivers on Wednesday, will arrive in camp either Friday or Saturday.

Hyde moved from field to field, watching live batting practice thrown by Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer and Travis Lakins, all pitchers new to the Orioles.

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“I’m just trying to get a good look at everybody,” Hyde said. “Me getting familiar with them and their stuff, seeing how hitters react to their pitches. It’s still really early.”

What’s up with? Kohl Stewart is one of the many starting candidates. The fourth overall pick by Minnesota in the 2013 season, Stewart was signed as a free agent on December 29.

In 17 games with the Twins over the last two seasons, Stewart was 4-3 with a 4.79 ERA.

“I went through some different offers with my agent,” Stewart said. “I like what the Orioles are doing. They’re making a lot of adjustments, implementing some new things. They provided a plan that they thought would work for me, give me some more success on the field.”

Last year, Stewart pitched in nine games for Minnesota and 20 with Triple-A Rochester.

“When you’re a guy that was going up and down as much as I was, that can be frustrating,” Stewart said. “The goal is to stay here. There are certain things that, yes, can be frustrating, but that’s part of the game.”

What’s what? – The Orioles have a number of utility infielders, and Hyde said that he might play them at multiple positions during games.

“Not right away,” Hyde said “I could see myself having someone playing second base for a couple of innings, move them to short for a few innings, that kind of thing. That will probably happen when our numbers get down a little bit.”

What’s the word? “This is a long season. There’s a lot of different things that can happen. If I get too far ahead of myself, you can kill yourself trying to figure out what’s going to happen.”-Kohl Stewart on the competition for the starting staff.

What’s the number? 145. Shepherd started Game No. 162 for the Orioles at Boston on September 29. One hundred forty-five days later, he’ll start again.

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