Orioles make 1st cuts; Means roughed up in 13-1 loss; Hyde criticizes defense, pitching - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles make 1st cuts; Means roughed up in 13-1 loss; Hyde criticizes defense, pitching

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? – The Orioles have the first of two days off this spring on Monday. Manager Brandon Hyde says the only activity will be a few pitchers coming to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota for bullpen sessions.

On Tuesday, the Orioles will play the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers at 1:05 pm. Dean Kremer will start against Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda.

The Orioles made their first cuts of spring training Sunday, reassigning catcher Brett Cumberland, right-handed pitcher Marcos Diplán, infielder Mason McCoy and left-handed pitchers Zach Muckenhirn and Josh Rogers to the Twin Lake camp.

The camp roster is 68, though outfielder Heston Kjerstad has yet to report.

Yusniel Diaz, who is not expected to begin the season with the Orioles, is likely to get his first crack at Triple-A ball. Diaz probably would have been called up by the Orioles late last season had he played in Triple-A, but he was at the alternate site at Bowie because the minor league season was canceled.

“I took advantage of the opportunity and improved my hitting, my defense and my baserunning, also,” Diaz said through a translator. “I think it was a great opportunity to improve. I thought I made all the necessary adjustments to be called up. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but I still wanted to take advantage of that camp and advantage of all the resources that were available for me to improve as a player overall.”

What happened? John Means allowed four runs in two innings in the Orioles’ 13-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park on Sunday.

“I felt like the command was there early in the count,” Means said. “Just wasn’t putting people away. I was taking some long at-bats.”

Means threw his changeup extensively, with mixed results.

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“I was just trying to work on it,” he said. “I got some swings and misses but also left some up. Trying to get that down. I think it will be there. I’m just not carrying it well.”

Means isn’t concerned, even though he’s allowed five runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in two spring starts.

“I feel like my pitches are breaking well, just not executing as well I’d like, especially with two strikes,” Means said. “That’s the name of game. You can get two strikes all you like, but you’ve got to get them out. I like where I’m at. I like where my pitches are. It’s just executing. That’s the last step.”

Evan Phillips allowed a run in the third, and Fernando Abad gave up five runs, four unearned, in the third inning. Pittsburgh scored three runs against Dillon Tate in the seventh.

Shortstop Ramón Urias made two errors.

“We’ve got to start playing better defense,” Hyde said. “The work in the back fields in the morning is great. It’s been fantastic, actually, as good as I’ve seen it. From the standpoint of the work that we’re getting in, we’re just not translating it into the games. We need to play better defense and help our pitchers out a little more.

“On the mound, we’ve got to throw some more strikes and get earlier contact and not having the long innings. It’s a little bit of a combination of we’ve got to throw more strikes and we’ve got to catch the ball better.”

Cedric Mullins had two hits for the Orioles.

A group of players from the Twin Lakes minor league complex played a ‘B’ game with Pittsburgh at Pirate City. Diplán, Cody Carroll and Dusten Knight pitched for the Orioles.

What’s up with? Jordan Westburg was the 30th overall pick in last June’s draft, and the 22-year-old shortstop has gotten into the late innings of two Grapefruit League games. He nearly had a three-run home run in Saturday night’s game, but it went foul.

“He’s physical. He’s a big kid [6 feet 3],” Tony Mansolino, the Orioles’ infield and third base coach said. “Him and Gunnar Henderson. They’re younger guys. Gunnar’s a little younger (19) than Westy. They’re just physical infielders. As you watch them, I think when you see a bigger kid, you dream of these kids.

“You want to compare him to the kid in L.A. [Corey] Seager, that type of a middle infielder body. As you watch these guys, you see traits of that. I saw Seager when he was in Low-A with the Dodgers in Great Lakes for the whole year. Both of these guys remind of that.

“Westburg, being a college signing, it’s a little bit different for him, but they’re both big, physical middle infielders, and it’s exciting. When they get big, you worry about movement and agility, things like that, quickness in the infield, and they have it. The quickness, the agility, the body and the ability to swing the bat.It’s a really exciting couple of players for us in our organization.”

What’s what? Saturday night’s game was the first night game of the spring. Just one of the first 16 Orioles games are night games, but beginning March 17, seven of the final 12 are night games, including four straight from March 24-27.

“I like that we have more night games this year,” Hyde said. “It prepares you for the season, how many night games we play. I think it’s a little bit of an adjustment, first time you get under the lights. That’s why you want some evening workouts before Opening Day because we play so many day games in spring training.”

What’s the word? “I’m going to leave that decision up to God. In reality, I really feel pretty close [to] being in the big leagues, so, hopefully, soon.”-Diaz on how close he feels to being a major leaguer.

What’s the number? 20. When play resumes on Tuesday, it will mark roughly the halfway point of spring training. Twenty days from Tuesday is the final Grapefruit League game, March 29.

What’s the record?  2-5-1. The Orioles will play at the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday at 1:05 pm.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    March 8, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Defense shaky, so give them two days off, WTH…go O’s…

  2. Bman

    March 8, 2021 at 7:32 am

    Westburg has actually played a little better than Rutschman so far I think. Small sample though. The future is looking brighter. They may need to draft a pitcher with the number five pick this year.

  3. Phil770

    March 8, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Rich, what is the situation with Hjerstad? The health situation must be more serious than has been revealed. Will be ever be able to play again?

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 8, 2021 at 8:24 am

      Phil, we should have a better answer on it this week.

  4. Orial

    March 8, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Thank God it was against the lowly Pirates or it could’ve gotten really ugly(sarcasm alert). Talk about pandemics–how long has this pitching “pandemic” been going on in Baltimire? AND–with no vaccine. Is that Cavalry still coming? Other than the OF this has been a scary team to observe this spring. Rich-maybe things aren’t as tedious as we once thought.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 8, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Rich … Question for this week.

    Why are the names Ramón Urias and Crush Davis still showing on our Baltimore Orioles Roster?

    • CalsPals

      March 8, 2021 at 9:46 am

      Lol…go O’s…

    • Birdman

      March 8, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Boog … with respect to Crush I think its purely a financial calculation by ownership. If the 2022 season is shortened due to a labor dispute (which is a possibility), the Orioles stand to save millions on Crush’s salary. However, if he is released now, I believe they would be obligated to pay his full 2022 salary, even if the season is shortened.

      So, unless he decides to accept a buyout and call it quits, looks like we are stuck with Crush on the roster.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 8, 2021 at 12:36 pm

        Thanks for clearing that up for me Birdman.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 8, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      When will putting the best team on the field like other clubs try to do be more important then saving money on a wasted players contact . Give me a break

    • CalsPals

      March 8, 2021 at 8:12 pm

      Agree Bhoff, been saying that for a while, at least act like a major league franchise…go O’s…

  6. dlgruber1

    March 8, 2021 at 10:01 am

    “I like where I’m at. I like where my pitches are. It’s just executing. That’s the last step.”
    Let’s see, 5 runs on 8 hits in 3.2 innings. That last step is a doozy, John.

  7. Hallbe62

    March 8, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Heston Kjerstad ???

    High draft pick with health issues ?

  8. Bancells Moustache

    March 8, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    Kjerstad does play baseball, doesn’t he?

    Austin Martin, Nick Gonzalez, Emerson Hancock, Max Meyer and Asa Lacy appear to be present and accounted for at their respective camps.

    • ClayDal

      March 8, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Kjerstad suffered from myocarditis , which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. Since it involves the heart, the Orioles are to use a cliche “erring on the side of caution”. As far as the other draft choices from last year being in camp, no big deal. None will be in the majors this year except maybe in September. When Kjerstad is healthy, he’ll be here. No different than Mancini last year

      • Hallbe62

        March 8, 2021 at 4:28 pm

        Bummer. Hoping he recovers soon. Thanks for the update.

    • dlgruber1

      March 8, 2021 at 3:10 pm

      Obviously his myocarditis is worse than originally thought. We O’s fans may have to face a grim realization that hell never play. I know it’s early but his life is far more important than playing baseball.

      • Hallbe62

        March 8, 2021 at 4:30 pm

        Yes, agree completely

      • Arkyoriole

        March 8, 2021 at 10:09 pm

        He’ll be fine. Just be patient.

  9. willmiranda

    March 8, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    At least the W-L numbers are in mid-season form.

  10. Baltimore Castaway

    March 8, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Looking like things are slightly uncollected in Camp. Not really an issue given that this team at the start of the Season will bear little resemblance to the team that will be trying to compete, say in 2023/24.

    We will have a better look though at guys who will be part of that team; Mountcastle (still officially a Rookie this year), Diaz, Kremer, Akin, Santander, Bauman, Lowther and others.

    Don’t despair…there will be a full season, this team will play with heart. Looking at a top three pick in 2022’s Amateur Draft..always a good thing.

    Final thoughts;
    – you sound a bit ominous about Kjerstad’s heath status….have to think it will be a long recovery, not a career-changer
    – brace yourselves for a Mancini and/or Santander trade this Season
    – time for Yusniel Diaz to get his head straight and focus on being the great talent that he is—he’s been counting all his Bonus Money from the Dodgers for the last three years…
    – hoping that #19 Chris Davis won’t be too upset with playing less and less frequently
    – will King Felix make the Starting Rotation? It would be fun.

  11. WorldlyView

    March 8, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Re Hyde’s comment that “On the mound, we’ve got to throw some more strikes and get earlier contact…” I think his concept of the pitchers throwing some more strikes is brilliant, original, and bolsters his credentials as a big league manager. I would never have thought of that!
    As to the idea of getting earlier contact, I haven’t a clue what that means. Better contact of pitched balls with the catcher’s glove?

  12. mlbbirdfan

    March 9, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    2021 is going to be a horrible year! Some days that is very depressing. I am 73 and I hope to be active for at least 10 more years before I have to give up going to Camden yards. But, for fans my age, this “rebuild“ tends to be tedious and obnoxious! I have written to Mike Elias, saying “extend Mancini and Santander” which would give us something to look forward to! Our season-ticket representative was very interested in my comments. But the Orioles are candid: they flat out told me “Elias will never see your letter”.
    Allow me to interpret:
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    Season ticket holders? Best Orioles fans?
    … who cares!
    Someone tell me why this interpretation is not 100% accurate. I dare you … lol. It is!

    • CalsPals

      March 9, 2021 at 5:45 pm

      If you wrote a letter to him it should go to him, wouldn’t that be against the law…hmmm, sounds Astro-like…go O’s…

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