Orioles plan to stretch out Valdez; Zimmermann could be swing man - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles plan to stretch out Valdez; Zimmermann could be swing man

What’s happening? – In the Orioles’ never-ending search for starters, there might be another name to consider. César Valdez, who started six times in 2010 and 2017 for Arizona, Oakland and Toronto, and also started in the Dominican Republic this winter, might get a shot.

“We’re going to stretch him out,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s going to pitch multiple innings this spring. I think he’s a candidate for a number of different things.

“He’s got the ability to start. He pitched the ninth inning for us at the end of the year. He can go long out of the bullpen as well. We’re going to build him up innings-wise and then see where we are toward the end of camp.”

Australian left-hander Alexander Wells was held back by travel restrictions, and because of the intake procedure had a late start, Hyde said.

The position players are scheduled to report Sunday, and the first full-squad workout is Monday.

What’s happened?— In addition to Valdez, Hyde is stretching out pitchers this spring so that they can pitch multiple innings. It could prevent starters and relievers from unnecessary wear and tear.

“I think we’re going to some of our guys throw more this spring than normal,” Hyde said. “I’d like to see them all at least become one-plus [innings], some guys two-plus, maybe even three out of the ‘pen starting the year.”

Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann can be a swing man. He’s been a starter in the minors, and the Orioles will experiment with him this spring.

“I think we’re going to see how he throws in camp,” Hyde said. “We see him as a potential starter. We see him coming in to win a starter, or at least a potential starter, a bulk-inning guy role, and then we’ll go from there. It’s tough to evaluate last season because he had such a short sprint in the big leagues and didn’t have a full Triple-A year, hasn’t had a full Triple-A year, so it’s learning at the major league level.


“We’ll decide at the end if he’s ready to be a starter in the big leagues. We have high hopes for him. We like his stuff, saw his bullpen [Saturday]. He’s got multiple pitches with a really nice arm …i f he’s on the club, he’s going to pitch bulk innings. We’re going to make sure that he gets experience, and he’s going to stay stretched out.” 

What’s up with? Pedro Severino is getting ready for his third season as the Orioles’ primary catcher. With Adley Rutschman lined up as the team’s catcher of the future, this seems like a big year for Severino, who could set himself up as a coveted catcher elsewhere or as Rutschman’s backup.

“Every year is really big for me,” Severino said. “It’s special for me. I just want to be more consistent than last year and help my team and my pitchers and try to do the best on the team.”

What’s what? Even though Félix Hernández isn’t the pitcher he was with the Seattle Mariners, his addition to camp has excited the players.

“I never thought I would catch him behind the plate,” Severino said. “He’s one of those veteran guys that I want to learn [from] and help my other rookie pitchers that are here. I’m excited. I can’t wait.”

What’s the word? “Without a doubt. I think it happens naturally at this point. Being in this organization, going on three years, it’s just different now. You take on that leadership role. Guys start coming to you, asking questions. It’s just one of those things where you know your way around things. You know how things operate so you’re trying to help guys.”Reliever Paul Fry on becoming a leader in the team’s bullpen.

What’s the number? 11.9. Fry averaged a career-high 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

“Consistency within the zone, strike one,” Fry said. “It all starts there. I was attacking guys and using my slider as my weapon and not try to place it into the zone or anything like that. When I’m consistent throwing strikes with my fastball, my slider plays off that, and I can get guys to chase. The more they’re on their toes or on their heels, it’s better for me, especially with my slider.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 21, 2021 at 9:26 am

    So much information to process and so little time!

    So Rich … I was wondering about Jannis and the lack of even a mention of him in todays piece as a starting candidate. Doe he have a chance? I can’t see a knuckball specialist make the team in a relieving role, but I can as a 5th or 6th starter. As far as Valdez goes, I think he’d be better coming off the bench.

    Valdez and Jannis … I’d like to see both them make the team.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 21, 2021 at 10:11 am

      At 33, Jannis has only four starts at Triple-A, so there are many ahead of him in the food chain. Not impossible that he’d get a look this year, but probably not at the start of the year, Ken.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 21, 2021 at 11:08 am

        I’m assuming that by “Not impossible” … “a snowball’s chance” is the actual implication.

        Hey, If Dennis Quaid can do it … here’s to Mickey Jannis following in those footsteps!

  2. mmcmillan1123

    February 21, 2021 at 11:29 am

    I think we will find out this year if we have good pitching depth in our organization or it’s all been a mirage and these guys can’t get it done in the majors. I’m thinking they can but I’m the eternal optimist.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 21, 2021 at 12:00 pm

      I doubt very many of these guys are going to look like stars considering the ball park they pitch in. Their numbers are always going to be inflated because of that 1 or 2 shoulda-been-a-fly-ball outs, that instead, creep over the short fences of OPACY.

      • Orial

        February 21, 2021 at 2:28 pm

        Boog you bring up that forever,solid point– will pitchers ever reach their true excellence pitching at OPACY. How long can we /organization go on under that pretense,? There’ll come a time(if it isn’t already) that “something will have to be done” to alleviate that. Give these up n comers a chance or entice FA pitchers(hopefully that will be a directive again). What can be done?–who knows but something ain’t right.

        • WorldlyView

          February 21, 2021 at 3:16 pm

          Gentlemen: Here’s an out-of-left-field idea to offset the short fences: sign proven pitchers who statistically get a high percentage of opposing batters to hit GROUND BALLS. Disregard this suggestion if you think it would undermine the rebuild plan or if you think we can’t afford battle-tested pitchers.

    • CalsPals

      February 21, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      Agree, many have brought up the dimensions, the day after the last game they need to re-construct the outfield fences so that the new dimension OPACY can be put to use in 2022…go O’s…

    • BarstoolSleeper

      February 21, 2021 at 4:06 pm

      Manfred and his ever changing baseball is supposed to travel 1 or 2 feet shorter this year than the previously tampered with baseball. So at Camden yards, the routine fly ball homeruns that hit the 4th row in left field will be in the 3rd row this year. Buy tickets accordingly.

  3. IrishAl81

    February 21, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    I believe the so-called OPACY effect has very little impact on free agent pitchers desire to come here and any subsequent success. Analytics will account for park-efects in individual stats. And as for the most important stat, wins, the supporting cast is most important. OPACY is the same dimensions for both teams and we all know that half the games are played elsewhere.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 21, 2021 at 10:28 pm

      So basically, you’re saying the extra 10 Home Runs given up per year due to the parks dimensions doesn’t affect a pitchers bargaining position when it’s contract time?

      C’mon man … of course playing 15 to 20 starts a year in this bandbox impacts a free agents desire to wear the black and orange.

      • WorldlyView

        February 22, 2021 at 12:59 am

        I think the desire of most free agents and their agents to pitch in this bandbox would be primarily determined by $$$$$ (yes, that assumes management would be willing to pay top dollar).

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          February 22, 2021 at 7:18 pm

          But all other things being even …

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