SARASOTA, Florida.-What’s happening? Tommy Milone will make his Orioles’ debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Hector Noesi in Sarasota on Thursday.
The camp roster remains at 69, and manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t know when cuts will come.
What’s happened?- Asher Wojciechowski allowed a run on two hits in two innings in his first start as the Orioles beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, before 4,041 at Ed Smith Stadium.
Wojciechowski was supposed to throw on a back field because of a blister on his right middle finger, but the blister healed enough for him to make the start.
“I’ve dealt with this throughout my career, so it’s nothing new,” Wojciechowski said. “The finger’s held up good. We’ve been doing good work in the training room.”
Wojciechowski, who started regularly during last season’s second half, will likely be in the starting rotation when the season begins. He doesn’t want to appear as if he’s assured of a spot.
“I don’t want to change my mindset on how I compete or how I prepare,” Wojciechowski said. “I want to go out there and give it everything I have every single day.”
Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, who lives in Woodstock, followed Wojciechowski and pitched two innings, allowing a run on three hits.
On his first pitch, Atlanta’s Travis d’Arnaud homered.
“First pitch in my first game, in my very first spring training game, it was like, ‘All right, move on to the next one,’ put it behind me,” Zimmermann said. “Same thing you do in a normal outing if that happens, you put it behind you and get back to the dugout as quickly as possible.”
Right-handed pitchers Brady Rogers and Kohl Stewart are being brought along slowly because of arm soreness, Hyde said.
Left-hander Alex Wells hasn’t pitched because of a sore oblique.
“From that big group of pitchers we had … when people talked about the big number we had, that wasn’t my concern,” Hyde said.
Mychal Givens and Hunter Harvey, who were slowed by illness, are scheduled to pitch for the first time this weekend.
Outfielder Yusniel Diaz (shoulder) is expected to play this weekend. Outfielder Anthony Santander has been restricted to designated hitter duties because Hyde wants him to rest the sore shoulder that hampered him at the end of last season.
Top draft choice Adley Rutschman is 0-for-4 in three games. On Tuesday, he played four innings at catcher.
“I was really excited to get back there again,” Rutschman said. “It definitely is a lot of information to take in.”
Hyde, a former catcher, likes what he’s seen.
“I really like his presence behind the plate,” Hyde said. “He really sets up well. In his first full year in pro ball, to get some major league camp at-bats and innings behind the plate is really beneficial for him.”
What’s up with Mason McCoy? McCoy, who was the Orioles’ sixth-round draft choice, received a spring training invitation after a solid 2019 season.
He batted. 379 in 27 games for High-A Frederick and .266 with two home runs and 31 RBIs in 105 games for Double-A Bowie.
The 24-year-old infielder has made himself into somewhat of a cult figure. Fans who hadn’t heard of him were taken by his stats with the Keys.
“I don’t pay too much attention to social media,” McCoy said. “It’s more for the people that follow me when I retweet something … I just put my head down and just play.”
McCoy plays second base and shortstop and has some concrete goals.
“I still think there are aspects of the game I have to work on … I need to show I’m better at, one of them being a little bit of power,” McCoy said. “I think I try to hit for contact too much.
“I just try to finesse and get on base, but I think I’m capable of hitting a couple of more home runs, a couple more doubles. Most of that goes into counts. I get into a hitter’s count, and I try to get too big or I try to just put it play instead of taking my best swing. There are definitely things I can improve on that they can see.”
What’s what? –This is the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, and Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, stopped by Orioles camp to talk about the milestone.
“We learn how intricately baseball helped change our country, and the Negro Leagues’ role in leading that, ” Kendrick said.
“This is as much a civil rights story as a baseball story. There’s no doubt that you’re going to walk into the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and you’re going to meet some of the greatest players to ever play this game.
Orioles shortstop Richie Martin’s grandfather, Walter “Bancy” Thomas, played in the Negro Leagues and was a teammate of Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige on the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs.
What’s the word? “Growing up as an Orioles fan, this is everything that I could have dreamed for. This is another step in the process.”-Zimmermann on how his first game in an Orioles uniform felt.
What’s the number? 2.500. That’s Chris Davis’ slugging percentage after two games.
What’s the record? 2-4. The Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium at 1:05 p.m. Thursday. The game will be streamed at Orioles.com/ MLB At Bat.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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