Akin starts, allows homer, gets optioned; Dwight Smith Jr. battles for a position; Carroll pitches well - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Akin starts, allows homer, gets optioned; Dwight Smith Jr. battles for a position; Carroll pitches well

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening? – Thomas Eshelman will pitch for the Orioles when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin on Wednesday. Eshelman has allowed two runs on four hits in eight innings this spring.

Chase Anderson will pitch for Toronto.

Hector Velázquez, whom the Orioles claimed on waivers from Boston on Sunday, threw a side session.  Orioles manager Brandon Hyde likes his versatility, and he could fit in as a pitcher who could throw multiple innings.

“Long men definitely help, especially early in the year when your starters aren’t built all the way up,”  Hyde said. “A lot of our bullpen guys historically have been one-inning guys, and so to add somebody with some length is really valuable.”

Velázquez threw three hitless innings for Boston earlier this spring, and Hyde isn’t sure when he’ll be ready to pitch again.

Starter John Means will throw a simulated game on Wednesday.

Tommy Milone, who has been slowed by a sore trapezius muscle, threw a side session on Tuesday. Milone will throw a simulated game on Thursday and could be scheduled in a game after that.

Infielder Ramón Urias, slowed by shin splints, participated in infield drills on Tuesday and could play Wednesday or Thursday.

What’s happened?—Keegan Akin allowed three runs on four hits in three innings as the Orioles beat the Atlanta Braves, 6-3, before 5,312 at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday night. The left-handed prospect was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game, leaving 54 players in camp.

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Cristian Pache hit a three-run home run off Akin in the second.

“I felt uncomfortable out of the stretch,” Akin said. “That’s been my whole spring training memo, I guess. One bad pitch. Leadoff walks don’t help.”

Akin allowed eight runs on 13 hits in 9 2/3 innings for a 7.45 ERA this spring with the Orioles.

Cody Carroll continued his fine work this spring, giving up a hit in a scoreless inning. In six innings, Carroll has allowed one run on six hits, striking out eight without walking a batter.

Dillon Tate pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a hit.

After the first 11 Orioles were retired by Ian Anderson and Shane Greene, Anthony Santander homered to right with two outs in the fourth. Santander played right field in his first appearance in the field this spring. It was his first home run.

Hanser Alberto also hit his first home run of the spring in the fifth.

Nick Markakis played in Sarasota for the first time since leaving the Orioles after the 2014 season. Markakis was hitless in three at-bats.

The Gulf Coast Orioles, who won the Gulf Coast League’s Southern Division last season, were honored. Alan Mills is the team’s manager.

What’s up with Dwight Smith Jr? He was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on March 8, 2019. Smith had a hot start, hitting 11 of his 13 home runs and 44 of his 53 RBIs in the season’s first half.

In three plate appearances, Smith was 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for his fifth spring RBI. He’s batting .267 (8-for-30).

With Trey Mancini’s status in question after leaving the team last week to have a non-baseball medical procedure, Smith seems to have a secure spot on the club.

Smith, who has played left field for the Orioles, suffered a concussion in June and played only 29 games in the second half of the season.

“I had a few injuries last year that kind of derailed that,” Smith said. “Really,  my first full season, I learned a lot. I’m coming in this year with a clear head, clean slate, just continue what I did the first couple of months. I think I’m on the right path for that.”

What’s what? Hyde acknowledges that the Orioles’ fundamentals were a weakness last season. He’s predicting better things this season.

“A lot of our guys have gotten an extra year of experience, and the game’s going to slow down for them,” Hyde said. “We practiced fundamentals more than any team I’ve ever seen. It was when the game started that things sped up on us defensively, and that’s experienced-based and confidence-based.”

What’s the word? “People know a lot more than I do higher up. I’m going to follow the regulations that MLB put out for us and just hoping for the best going forward. It’s something that we’re going to stick to right now and follow what they tell us to do.”-Hyde on the measures MLB enacted to thwart the spread of the coronavirus.

What’s the number? 3 That’s the most innings an Orioles starter has worked this spring. It’s happened seven times, including twice by Eshelman, who will try to work in the fourth on Wednesday.

What’s the record? 9-6-3 The Orioles play the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark on Wednesday at 1:07 p.m. The game will be streamed on Orioles.com/MLB At Bat.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Orial

    March 11, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Good morning Rich. Akin appears to be a finesse pitcher something the O’s tend to stockpile. Nibblers are not what this team needs going forward. Hall,Rodriguez,Baumann seem to have that “something” special. Akin does not. We’ll see. Interesting that you brought up fundamentals. The flawed ones–Villar,Wilkerson,Alberto,Smith Jr stand out. Villar is gone,Stevie probably the other two will remain but hopefully tweaked(or smacked in the head). Noonetheless we strive forward. We’re thinking of ya Trey. Question Rich–is Valesquez a lock to make the OD roster and who does he put in jeopardy?

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 11, 2020 at 9:28 am

      Which Velázquez are you referring to, Victor or Hector?

      • Orial

        March 11, 2020 at 11:02 am

        Sorry Rich that would be Herbert

        • Rich Dubroff

          March 11, 2020 at 11:07 am

          I think Velazquez has an excellent chance to make it because of his flexibility and experience. They need a long man, and he’s a logical choicce. But, no one is a lock. His name is Hector.

          • Orial

            March 11, 2020 at 7:24 pm

            I’m getting old Rich. Names are a challenge

  2. Bman

    March 11, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Akin has been a disappointment this spring. Maybe he can work his way into form in AAA. Looks like back to usual placeholders to start the year. That’s okay, no one is expecting a pennant this year. Loss of Mancini is another hurdle. Bullpen is shaping up to be pretty good though.

  3. CalsPals

    March 11, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Eshelman, 2 innings, 9 runs, oops…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      March 11, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      3 HR…ouch…go O’s…

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