Long getting Oriole hitters ready for season; More on Means' opener; Intrasquad recap - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Long getting Oriole hitters ready for season; More on Means’ opener; Intrasquad recap

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

The calendar for summer training is short. Formal workouts began July 3, and each team is limited to three exhibition games.

“We don’t have the luxury of changing our reality right now,” Orioles hitting coach Don Long said in a video conference call on Friday.

“We work within what we have. We have to have the expectation that we will be ready and we will be ready to perform come Opening Day. Whether I think that’s enough or not is irrelevant. I don’t want to spend any of my time nor do I want any of our hitters to spend any of our time building in an excuse to not be ready.”

The Orioles’ first game is 13 days away, on July 24 at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.

“We plan on being ready, whatever that looks like in the beginning,” Long said.

Long noted that the Orioles’ position players had a variety of ways to prepare during the 3 ½-month wait after spring training shut down on March 12 because of Covid-19. Some faced live pitching, others hit off a machine, and still others were restricted to using batting tees in their garage.

“It’s been to our advantage to start live BP right away,” Long said. “As the days have gone on, and now we’ve gotten a couple of partial intrasqaud games under our belt. We always have room for improvement, but, we’ve had some pretty good at-bats.

“Even during a season, under normal circumstances, the biggest disconnect in hitting from practice to game is finding opportunities to replicate game speed, so you can imagine without that available all over for a 3 ½-month period, that makes it very challenging.”

Long isn’t sure what to expect.


“It could be a little uncomfortable, a little ugly at first,” Long said. “These guys have gotten a ton of plate appearances during the first week of working out.”

Means’ growth: It was an obvious decision for manager Brandon Hyde to choose John Means as the Orioles’ starter for the team’s opener on July 24th against the Red Sox.

Hyde said that in Thursday night’s intrasquad game Means’ fastball was 93-94 mph and that he threw some excellent curves. The manager added some extra left-handed hitters to the team that the left-handed Means faced so that he’d get more experience facing them.

“He’s showing a really nice breaking ball, so his growth with his curveball and his slider last year in the second half could really be a separator for him,” Hyde said.

“The changeup was really good [Thursday] night, and he flashes that good breaking ball. I just think consistency with the breaking ball and a couple of more weapons is going to be really key for him to make adjustments back to the league.”

Hyde thinks that since Means pitched five innings in the intrasquad game he should be ready to pitch extended innings in the opener.

Plan for Rutschman: Hyde said that last year’s overall No. 1 draft choice, catcher Adley Rutschman, was among six players who would join the Orioles’ player pool, bringing the number to 53.

Left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin, right-handers Michael Baumann and Isaac Mattson, catcher Taylor Davis and outfielder Cedric Muliins are the others.

Hyde didn’t spell out specific plans for Rutschman, who spent the early part of spring training with the Orioles.

“Get him here and get him playing,” Hyde said. “[Saturday], he’s going to be part of the workout. We want to see him here, take [batting practice] and catch some of our starters. The bottom line is just to get him playing again.”

Iglesias feels comfortable: The Orioles’ biggest addition in the offseason was the signing of free-agent shortstop José Iglesias to a one-year contract with an option for 2021.

Iglesias missed two days of workouts because of a sore back and seemed to be hobbling when he was removed for a pinch-runner during Thursday night’s intrasquad game. He said he felt better on Friday.

He fit in well with the Orioles during their time in Sarasota.

“I think the team and the coaching staff welcomed me really well,” Iglesias said. “It was very smooth for me to talk to the guys and connect with them. It was fine.”

Iglesias, who’s played for eight seasons, is one of the most experienced players on a young Orioles team.

“I personally just lead by example,” Iglesias said. “Be the first one in, the last one out, make sure I do everything properly where I help my teammates on and off the field any way I can.”

Intrasquad recap: Alex Cobb pitched three scoreless innings in Friday night’s intrasquad game. His third inning ended early when he appeared to reach his pitch count.

His opponent at the start was Rob Zastryzny, who also pitched three scoreless innings.

Richard Bleier, Cody Carroll, Branden Kline and Dillon Tate also worked in the five-inning game.

Richie Martin left the game after he collided with Chris Davis at first. Austin Wynns tried to pick off Martin, but the ball went into right field and Ryan Mountcastle scored.

Rio Ruiz homered to right against Tate in the sixth as the orange jersey Orioles beat the white jersey Orioles, 3-0. After Pat Valaika’s comebacker hit Tate in the right forearm, the game ended in the top of the sixth.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    July 11, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Hate to sound 1/2 empty, not a glowing endorsement from Long on where the hitters are, doesn’t sound like much of a “plan” for Rutschman…oh well, Cobb made it 3 innings…go O’s…

    • OriolesNumber1Fan

      July 11, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      Half empty? You give yourself too much credit!!! You need to work up to 1/2 empty!!! Lol!!!

    • CalsPals

      July 11, 2020 at 9:20 pm

      Ok, Onesy….go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 12, 2020 at 2:43 pm

        Like I told you before, you and Brr make great “Pals”, and make a lovely pair!!! Truely works for you and him. Not interested in all your attention, save it!!! Not to be mean, but I prefer women and soon to be engaged. Good luck with Brr though, you make a great pair of “Pals”!!!

    • CalsPals

      July 12, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Kind of ridiculous that in this day & time you can attack people, using the gay card, you’d think someone on this site would call you out about it…but apparently that’s how u roll, glad you’re finally getting engaged, been happily married 35 yrs, go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm

        Not attacking!!! Truely supporting you and your “Pal”!!! You’re so used to your own sarcasm you don’t know when someone’s supporting. Now I know why it’s in your name.

    • CalsPals

      July 12, 2020 at 3:59 pm

      You’re a jerk…good luck w/engagement, she’ll need, I’m guessing poor thing has no idea what she is REALLY getting…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 12, 2020 at 4:22 pm

        I’m wondering how Onesy’s future wife is going to feel about living in her mother-in-law’s basement?

    • CalsPals

      July 12, 2020 at 5:03 pm

      Onesey, I’m confused as to how we’re giving you all our attention, my original post had NOTHING to do w/you or mentioned you, you high jacked it, make sure you get the basement thing cleared w/momma…go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 12, 2020 at 6:01 pm

        Name calling? And here comes your better half chiming in. You’re really a lovely couple. You “Pals” are really cute.
        Btw, I make more money than you two both combined times 10. I already own two homes and three new cars so keep your basement for yourselfs.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          July 12, 2020 at 7:16 pm

          Awesome comeback #1. How can I compete with a wit like that?

    • CalsPals

      July 12, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      Oh, so your allowed to question people’s sexual preference then, thx Donald…go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 12, 2020 at 6:39 pm

        No, no question. I was being sincere and truly supportive. You got me all wrong. I was trying with the olive branch. If you are truly married for 35 yrs then congratulations to you and God bless. It can’t be easy.
        Anyway, we should both just bury the bad blood thing and move on. Btw, no relation to Donald nor would I want to be.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 11, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Gotta love that orange jersey team.

  3. willmiranda

    July 11, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for the update, Rich. Not to look too far ahead, but will there be any added opportunities for winter ball in the USA or elsewhere? Seems like, health concerns permitting, something that might be profitable in warm weather spots, even with minor leaguers and young major leaguers. Or are winter leagues too long out of fashion?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 11, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      There has been talk of fall and winter leagues, Will.

  4. Chuck in Edgewood

    July 11, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Rich: Mike Elias has usually picked up pitchers when the other teams start making their cuts. I’m sure he’ll continue. But do you think he might also pick up any low cost position players? Don’t see O’s scoring much this year without Mancini and Villar.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 11, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      I think that’s a possibility, Chuck.

  5. OriolesNumber1Fan

    July 11, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    FYI: The Orioles made an offer to free agent Yasiel Puig!!! With Mancini out for the season and Anthony Santander and Dwight Smith Jr out indefinitely, Puig could become a nice trade chip by the trading deadline!

    • Bhoffman1

      July 11, 2020 at 9:11 pm

      Diaz is a younger Puig. We don’t need Puig a outfield of Hays, Williams , Mountcastle DJ and Santlander when he’s well is good enough for 60 games and it could be surprisingly good . Smith jr sjouke be released

    • Bhoffman1

      July 11, 2020 at 9:12 pm


  6. Bhoffman1

    July 11, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Remember Williams and Mountcastle hit over 300 at triple A last year with great power numbers. 60 games with really nothing on the line is a perfect opportunity to see if they could do it here . Williams can also run and field and I know Mountcastle is a major liability in the field but so was Trey.

  7. dlgruber1

    July 11, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Davis hit 12 HRs and had 36 RBIs last season. Those numbers would be very good for 60 games. What does anyone think, any chance of that?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 11, 2020 at 11:41 pm

      Bwaaaahahhhaaaahhhaaaaa. Uhhhhh……..No

    • Bhoffman1

      July 12, 2020 at 7:57 am

      He didn’t get a hit for almost 60
      games last year

    • IrishAl81

      July 12, 2020 at 8:28 am

      If CD stays healty, I think those numbers are attainable. Theu certainly would be welcome.

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