SARASOTA, Florida.-What’s happening? Asher Wojciechowski, who compiled a 4-8 record last season with the Orioles, is scheduled to make his first start in a Grapefruit League game against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday.. Sean Newcomb is scheduled to start for the Braves.
Ellicott City’s Bruce Zimmermann was scheduled to start because Wojciechowski developed a blister, but manager Brandon Hyde decided there was no reason to hold back Wojciechowski.
Zimmermann will folow Wojociechowski.
“He’s got good stuff,” Hyde said. “I think the fastball’s got some life. I like the breaking ball. I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a game situation against a different jersey.
“Pitched really well in Double-A, rough outings in his brief Triple-A time, sounds like there was a lot of bad luck.”
Wojociechowski is expected to be back in the starting rotation, joining John Means and Alex Cobb. Hyde believes he has more options for starters this year.
“I have no idea what our rotation is going to look like, that being said,” Hyde said.
What’s happened?- The Orioles lost, 15-2, to the Tampa Bay Rays in Sarasota. Means started and allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings — the runs scoring when Dwight Smith Jr. misplayed a fly ball. Tanner Scott gave up four runs, three unearned, while recording just two outs. Dillon Tate allowed three runs in an inning, and Marcos Díplan gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning.
Chris Davis and Rylan Bannon homered.
In the other half of the split-squad, the Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, 12-4.
Tom Eshelman started and pitched two scoreless innings. Zac Lowther gave up four runs in 1 1/3 innings, and Hunter Cervenka gave up five runs while registering just one out.
What’s up with Taylor Davis? Davis is one of seven catchers in camp.
He signed a minor league contract with the Orioles last month after playing parts of three seasons with the Chicago Cubs.
His familiarity with Hyde and catching coach Tim Cossins persuaded him to sign with the Orioles.
“Knowing them from Chicago, and seeing them rise to those ranks,” Davis said. “Getting to play for Hyder was awesome, and I always felt that he was next in line to do something special on the managerial side. When he came over here, and the front office they’re putting together here, it’s a good place to be. It’ll be fun, and I’m excited to see what to do.”
Davis is best known for preening at any camera when he played for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. There’s a video that went viral to prove it. He knows that in any interview, that subject will come up.
“In 2016, Kris Negron, who was a player for a while, did it, and I thought it was funny, so in 2017 I did it once or twice,” Davis said. “The bullpen thought it was the funniest thing ever, so I just keep going, and it just took off. It was fun, it was a lot of fun.
“I don’t really do it ton. I’ve always been a believer that I want the fans to smile one way or another, whether it’s with me or at me, so whatever I can do to help people have fun at the games, I’m going to do.”
What’s what? –Hyde is in the process of choosing a leadoff hitter.
Austin Hays hit leadoff in the Orioles’ split-squad game with Boston. He’s hit in the top spot in each of the three games he’s played.
“You want a high on-base guy at the top of the order,” Hyde said. “If you can mix in a little bit of speed and some power, that’s great. Austin has all three of those. I think he’s a good candidate to be considered up at the top.”
What’s the word? “We have 69 guys in camp, so we have options. We’ll see who are the best options at the end of camp … I don’t know what we’re going to look like three weeks from now and how they’re going to stack up.”-Hyde on choosing a starting rotation
What’s the number? 27-6. That was the combined score in the two games the Orioles lost.
What’s the record? 1-4. The Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be on MASN.