SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening? – The Orioles have their only day off this spring on Monday and return to action Tuesday night when they play the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 p.m.
Left-hander Keegan Akin will start against Ian Anderson. Akin has allowed five runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings in three spring appearances.
Starter John Means will pitch a simulated game on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex on Wednesday.
After Monday’s off day, the Orioles have 13 days left in Florida. Manager Brandon Hyde said the rhythm of spring training will change.
“As the camp shrinks roster-wise and we get closer to the season, you’re going to see guys get more at-bats,” Hyde said. “You’re going to see guys play a little deeper in games. You’re going to see guys play back-to-back a lot more often.
“[Anthony] Santander’s going to start playing the outfield. We’re going to start ramping up to more of a regular-season feel the best we can while still protecting guys and getting a good look at others.”
What’s happened?—Kohl Stewart allowed three runs on five hits in three innings in his spring debut as the Orioles and New York Yankees tied, 5-5, before 8,017 at Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday.
Stewart, who had been slowed by biceps soreness, struck out two.
“It’s been a while, to finally get in a game instead of some of these sims that I’ve been doing,” Stewart said.
“My stuff felt really good, especially since it’s been as long as it’s been since I’ve faced live hitters. I felt like I executed the majority of the things I wanted to. I made a few mistakes, and they made me pay for it.”
Stewart was signed as a free agent on December 29 and was expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation.
Stewart thinks there’s time for him to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster.
“Obviously, I’ve got to build up,” he said. “They’re not going to take me up there unless they’re sure that I can go five or six innings, hopefully more.”
Mychal Givens allowed a two-run home run to Thomas Milone in the fourth.
Hunter Harvey, Richard Bleier, Shawn Armstrong, Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott each threw a scoreless inning. Sulser and Scott each struck out the side.
The Orioles claimed right-handed pitcher Hector Velázquez on waivers from the Boston Red Sox. Velázquez, who is 31, was 11-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 89 games, 19 starts, during the last three season with the Red Sox.
The 40-man roster is at 39, and the spring training roster is 55.
What’s up with DJ Stewart? Stewart hasn’t played this spring after ankle surgery last October. He’s showing improvement, Hyde said, but he isn’t sure when Stewart will play.
“I think, at best in game action, late this week,” Hyde said. “He’s doing really well in his running progression. He just did cuts and relays out here, where he was running and looked good. It’s a handful of days and more of that progression.
“He’s taken a ton of at-bats. We’ve had a lot of sim-game stuff on the back fields. He’s got a lot of at-bats from that standpoint, but game situation late next week, if things go well.”
What’s what? The Orioles face a Braves split-squad, their third straight game against an opponent’s’ split-squad. In 33 Grapefruit League games, the Orioles face seven split-squads, four in the last six games.
With 15 teams in Florida and Arizona, there’s a split-squad game on any day with a full schedule. The Orioles played their first split-squad on February 25 and have two left, on March 14 and 21.
What’s the word? “That’s weird. Having not been out there and then to go three. Even in sim games, you can’t simulate going three innings in a real game.”-Stewart on pitching three innings in his first spring game.
What’s the number? 0. That’s the number of autographs that can be signed because of a directive from Major League Baseball regarding the coronavirus.“For the time being, out of an abundance of caution, players will not be signing autographs from fans. Thank you for your understanding.”
What’s the record? 8-6-3. The Orioles face the Atlanta Braves at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota at 6:05 p.m. The game will broadcast on 105.7 The Fan.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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