Zimmermann gets start instead of Cobb; Eshelman battered in 14-2 loss; Opportunity for Velazquez - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Zimmermann gets start instead of Cobb; Eshelman battered in 14-2 loss; Opportunity for Velazquez

DUNEDIN, Florida.-What’s happening? Bruce Zimmermann will start for the Orioles when they play the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night in Fort Myers.

Zimmermann replaces Alex Cobb, who will throw on the back fields in a simulated game in Sarasota. Cobb has a blister on the middle finger of his right hand, an injury that also affected him in 2018.

Manager Brandon Hyde said that if it were the regular season Cobb would start.

Zimmermann has a allowed four runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings for a 4.70 ERA.

Keegan Akin, who allowed a second-inning three-run homer, was sent to Triple-A Norfolk after Tuesday night’s game.

Hyde said he liked what he saw from Akin.

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“Just continuing to sharpen his stuff,” Hyde said. “The mix is there. I really like the stuff he has now. Now, it’s just having some success getting Triple-A hitters out, really being able to command three pitches. He’s shown flashes. Now, it’s just being a little more consistent with it, and he’s close. It’s exciting for me. He had a really good camp. It was exciting to see him and, hopefully, see him soon.”

What’s happened?- Thomas Eshelman allowed nine runs on nine hits in two innings in the Orioles’ 14-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 5,223 at TD Ballpark on Wednesday.

Eshelman allowed five runs in the first and four in the second. He allowed three home runs, including one to Bo Bichette on his first pitch of the game. Eshelman also gave up four doubles.

“Just left some balls middle, and they got hit,” Eshelman said. “I’m looking forward to my next start to redeem myself. Just kind of flush this one and get to the next one.

“Understand what I did move on from it, not think about it too much. In this game, you think about it a lot and you screw yourself up. I just take the negatives and turn them to a positive on my work days and get better for the next one.”

Eshelman didn’t excuse his poor performance.

“Obviously, they were on everything I was throwing today,” he said.

Randal Grichuk homered against Eshelman and Mychal Givens. Travis Shaw also homered against Eshelman in the first.

“I just felt like they jumped on him early,” Hyde said. “A lot of damage came in the first couple of pitches in the at-bat. A good day to hit. They got some balls up in the air. Just wasn’t his day.”

Hunter Harvey gave up a homer to Santiago Espinal, and Riley Adams hit one against Eric Hanhold. It was the first run either had allowed this spring.

John Means threw five innings of a simulated game on Wednesday morning, throwing 75 pitches. Chandler Shepherd threw four innings.

Hyde said that veteran pitchers can benefit from simulated games.

“They have a pretty good feel and sense for being built up and what it takes for them to get ready,” Hyde said. “We would like them to pitch in games as much as possible, but we can get quality work on the back fields.”

Catcher Chance Sisco hurt his right hand after being hit by a foul ball but should be ready to play soon. He took at-bats in a simulated game on Wednesday.

Utility player Stevie Wilkerson left the game after he fouled a ball off his shin.

What’s up with Hector Velázquez? The right-hander was acquired on waivers from Boston on Sunday.

Velazquez threw a side session on Tuesday and thinks he’ll need another one before he’s ready to pitch.

He had been designated for assignment by Boston, and now he’ll have a chance to make the Orioles.

“This is a scenario that I can take advantage of,” Velázquez said through an interpreter.

His versatility appeals to Hyde.

“As a pitcher you have to be ready in any situation,” Velázquez said. “Before coming here to the States, in Mexico, I was a starter my whole life. Then, I came here, I was used in the bullpen as a long man, as a long reliever. I want to be ready whenever my name is called.”

What’s what? –TD Ballpark, one of the oldest spring training venues, got a makeover, and it’s an improvement. The field has been redone and seats now have flaps.

A new playing surface and party deck have been added, and the park, which is located in a residential neighborhood in Dunedin, is a much more pleasant place to visit than in the past.

It’s the only spring training home the Blue Jays have had since they were established in 1977. 

What’s the word? “It gets windy during the season, too.”-Eshelman, refusing to attribute his bad start to windblown fly balls that turned into home runs. 

What’s the number? 9.90. That’s Eshelman’s ERA after allowing nine runs in two innings. He entered the game with two earned runs in seven innings.

What’s the record? 9-7-3. The Orioles will play the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan.

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