What’s happening? –John Means will make his second spring training start for the Orioles against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Field in Bradenton, Florida at 1:05 pm on Sunday. JT Brubaker will start for Pittsburgh. Means allowed a run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings against the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
DJ Stewart hurt his left hamstring against Toronto on Friday and his return is uncertain. Chris Davis remains out because of a lower-back strain. Cody Carroll is one of four pitchers who hasn’t appeared in a game, but manager Brandon Hyde said his health is fine.
Hyde is playing around with his outfield options. Now that Cedric Mullins is hitting strictly left-handed and with Austin Hays batting from the right side, it’s possible he’ll play both in the outfield at the same time while using Ryan Mountcastle as a designated hitter.
“I think I’m going to move all those guys around,” Hyde said. “I think there are a lot of at-bats to be had, and a lot of innings to be played defensively, so I can see a combination of Cedric and Austin in the outfield together. I can see Ryan DHing some days. [Anthony] Santander could use a DH day, also. That’s nice to have, the amount of outfielders we have, and guys we want to get in the lineup. They can be a DH, at least, on a nightly basis.”
Mullins is playing center field and Hays left on Sunday.
What happened? In his first start with the Orioles, Félix Hernández allowed two runs in the second inning in a 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday night. After a scoreless first inning, Hernández allowed two runs on one hit in the second. He walked two and struck out two.
“It was good. I was glad that I had a chance to pitch again after a year off,” Hernández said.
His fastballs were clocked in the mid-80s.
“I don’t pay any attention to that,” Hernández said. “I think it was 88 tops, but it was my first day after a year off.”
Hernández pitched for the Atlanta Braves last spring training and then opted out of the regular season. He threw only one slider and no changeups.
“I felt real quick to the plate,” Hernández said. “I was rushing the ball. I was opening myself. Every day, I keep working on my bullpens and on flat ground, and I’ll be better at the end of the spring.
“I don’t throw that many walks. I attack the strike zone and go after hitters…This was my first outing. I’ll be ready for my second one. It’s going to be better.”
Hyde was satisfied with Hernández.
“I thought he did a nice job of mixing speeds,” he said. “Coming off the mound, healthy and feeling good after not pitching for a year, I thought that was a nice first appearance.”
Jorge López pitched three scoreless innings, allowing a hit, striking out three and hitting a batter.
“I just liked how aggressive he was in the strike zone,” Hyde said. “That’s a big thing for us, to be on the attack from the first pitch of an at-bat, something we’ve talked a little bit about. Jorgie took that right into the game. He really attacked their hitters well, both his two-seamer and his four-seamer, something he’s been working on also as well as throwing some nice offspeed pitches to keep guys off balance.
“Jorgie’s got a really nice arm. He’s got a really, hard tough sinker. To complement that with a good four-seam fastball he showed tonight. I thought it was a great, great outing for him and something to build off of.”
Detroit scored four runs in the eighth, three against minor league left-hander Zach Muckenhirn and another off knuckleballer Mickey Jannis.
The Orioles scored three runs in the eighth on an infield out by Jahmai Jones and a two-run double by Yusniel Diaz. They added two in the ninth on a two-out single by Rylan Bannon.
What’s up with? Isaac Mattson was one of four right-handed pitchers acquired in the trade that sent Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels in December 2019.
“He’s got a really nice arm,” Hyde said. “He’s got a live fastball. I think the slider is a little bit of work in progress, and he’s continuing to try to improve that. I think he’s definitely a candidate to make our club or to be with us sometime this year.”
In his second outing, Mattson pitched a scoreless ninth, allowing a hit and a walk.
What’s what? Saturday night’s game featured the last two overall No. 1 draft choices. Adley Rutschman, who was chosen by the Orioles with the top pick in 2019, was the starting designated hitter, and Spencer Torkelson, the Tigers’ top choice last season, played first base. Rutschman was 1-for-3, and Torkelson was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
What’s the word? “Beyond the safety measures, there’s not a whole lot that’s different. The safety measures do definitely put a spin on things, but as far as the work that we’re getting done and the overall feel and morale right now, it feels about the same. I think everyone’s just excited to be here and playing baseball again.”- Rutschman on the differences between last year’s spring training and this year’s.
What’s the number? 4. That’s the number of pitchers who have yet to appear in a game for the Orioles. Besides Carroll, Konner Wade, who was signed to a minor league contract, hasn’t thrown, and neither have two pitchers new to the 40-man roster, Mike Baumann and Alexander Wells. Wells has been held back by an oblique injury.
What’s the record? 2-4-1. The Orioles face the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 pm. Fans using the MLB.TV app can watch the Pirates television feed or listen to their radio