SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening? – John Means will start against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
It will be Means’ second start this spring. He allowed two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings in a 15-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
While Means pitches in Clearwater, Alex Cobb, who felt ill during his start against the Phillies on Monday, will throw a simulated game on a back field of Ed Smith Stadium. Cobb is one of a number of Orioles who have been ill this spring.
“He’s feeling fine,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I just want … to get his pitch count up in a controlled environment, [and] not to worry about game situations. We’ll put him in game situations on the back field.”
Brady Rodgers (sore arm), Kohl Stewart (sore biceps) and Alex Wells (sore oblique) threw on a back field on Saturday. According to Hyde, there’s still enough time for Rodgers, who’s on a minor league contract, and Stewart, who was signed as a major league free agent, to make the team.
“They’ve missed some time now, so that’s obviously not ideal,” Hyde said. “There is still time. We’ve still got a few weeks to go. Hopefully, we can get them ramped up, and we’ll see how it goes. I can’t really forecast anything there.”
Opening Day, March 26, is less than a month away, and Hyde doesn’t think the Orioles will sign another free-agent pitcher in time to start the season.
“It’s getting more challenging as we get closer,” Hyde said. “I think we’re always going to think player-first, what’s best for the player. If we sacrifice some time to make sure they’re right, we’ll always do that.”
What’s happened?—Chris Davis homered for the third time in four games, and the Orioles won their fourth straight, 12-6, over the Miami Marlins before 5,734 at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday.
Keegan Akin started for the first time this spring, allowing a run on two hits with a strikeout.
Akin pitched in relief in his first appearance. He feels better as a starter.
“I’ve started, basically, my whole career,” Akin said. “I’ve had a couple of u bullpen appearances in pro ball. I would like to be able to do both, just so I can do that in the future. It’s a little bit different routine coming out of the bullpen. It’s much easier for me to start. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was 16, 17.
“To get back to starting was good, I thought.”
Davis’ home run was a three-run shot on a 2-0 pitch. He also walked and struck out. He’s batting .714 (5-for-7) this spring with four walks.
“I would like to get off to a good start, especially for peace of mind,” Davis said. “Especially after struggling the last couple of years, having some success on the baseball field feels good.
“It’s still spring training. It’s still early. There are a lot of things that I have to accomplish, a lot of things I still need to work on. At the same time, it feels good.”
He doesn’t think home runs in Grapefruit League games are meaningless.
“Not wasted, not at all,” Davis said. “I’ll take them in exhibitions, spring training, winter ball, whenever.”
Catcher Pedro Severino and infielder Richard Urena also homered for the Orioles.
Non-roster left-hander Rob Zastryzny allowed four runs on six hits in two innings.
Victor Victor Mesa, the Cuban outfielder the Orioles tried to sign in October 2018, played four innings in center field and struck out in his only at-bat.
What’s up with Martin Cervenka? Cervenka, who is from the Czech Republic, is a catcher in his third year in the Orioles organization. He and outfielder Yusniel Diaz are the only players to receive invitations to spring training for the second consecutive season.
“I feel a little more comfortable with everyone in the clubhouse,” Cervenka said. “Coming in, I knew what to expect more than last year. That’s the probably the two biggest differences.”
Cervenka homered on Thursday with his parents and sister watching. He isn’t related to Hunter Cervenka, a left-handed, non-roster reliever. Martin says he’s asked if the Cervenkas are related once or twice a year.
“It was interesting because I knew about Hunter before because I knew he pitched in the big leagues. I never followed him, but a couple of fans asked if we were related. It’s funny that two Cervenkas end up on the same team.”
What’s what? –Hyde said that every position player will make the trip from Sarasota to West Palm Beach and Jupiter for games against the Washington Nationals and Marlins on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But not all will stay for both games. Some position players will play against the Nationals, and then return to Sarasota.
What’s the word? –“I feel like I’m seeing the ball well. I feel like I’m ready to hit every pitch and laying off some pitches that are tough.”-Davis on his hot start.
What’s the number? 36. That’s how many runs the Orioles have scored in the past three games.
What’s the record? 5-4. The Orioles, who have won four straight since losing both ends of a split-squad doubleheader on Tuesday, play the Phillies at Clearwater at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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