Davis remains out with back injury; Opening Day capacity unclear; Orioles' pitching solid - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Davis remains out with back injury; Opening Day capacity unclear; Orioles’ pitching solid

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? – Keegan Akin will get his first start of the spring when the Orioles play the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 pm on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

In a game that Matt Harvey started, Akin allowed a run on two hits in two innings, walking two and striking out two against the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Friday.

Chris Davis, who played only in the Orioles’ first game on February 28th, remains out because of a sore back. Manager Brandon Hyde said that Davis was seeing “other doctors” about the injury.

DJ Stewart, who left Friday’s game because of a right hamstring injury, might be able to play sometime next week. Hyde said he thinks Stewart will be ready for Opening Day.

Richie Martin, who had surgery to remove a hamate bone from his left hand, is working out at the Ed Smith complex and could play this weekend.

Wade LeBlanc, who hasn’t pitched since throwing two scoreless innings against Atlanta on March 3rd, threw three simulated innings on Monday. Ashton Goudeau, who threw two hitless innings in the same game, also threw in the simulated game.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that effective Friday, large public venues could open at 50 percent capacity. While Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott hasn’t yet commented, it could mean that there will be fans at the Orioles’ home opener on April 8th.

What happened? Dean Kremer and Bruce Zimmermann combined to throw six shutout innings as the Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins, 1-0, in seven innings in Fort Myers, Florida on Tuesday.

Kremer allowed a hit, a walk and struck out three. Zimmermann gave up no hits, walked one and struck out two. Minnesota scored its only run in the seventh against minor league right-hander Conner Greene.

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“I thought both guys pounded the strike zone, which is what we’ve been talking about,” Hyde said. “They both had really good fastballs, both up to 95, 96, averaging around 94, really good life to it.”

In his first start on March 4th against Boston, Kremer allowed three runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out one.

“Mentally was probably the difference-maker,” Kremer said. “I was definitely more locked in today and being more intentional with every pitch as opposed to last time when I dug myself into a hole and didn’t get out.”

Kremer isn’t focusing on the batters.

“For me, specifically, I like to get my stuff going first and then proceed into hitters,” Kremer said.

It appears Kremer will begin the season in the starting rotation, but he’s not thinking that way.

“My main focus is just going out there and pitching my game,” he said. “I don’t want to think about that stuff until that time rolls around.”

After the Orioles’ last game, a 13-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, Hyde criticized the Orioles’ defense. He complimented it on Tuesday.

“I thought we played really well defensively,” Hyde said. “Tough conditions, wind was blowing hard from right to left.”

Cedric Mullins, the Orioles’ centerfielder who had a double in three at-bats, was pleased the defense responded.

“It helps our pitchers out, for sure, when they’re working their butts off to throw strikes and get us out of the inning to get our offense going,” he said. “It’s really nice to have one of those days.”

Mullins watched leftfielder Ryan Mountcastle make a jumping catch in the left field corner against the Twins’ Mitch Garver.

“I gave Ryan credit when I was out there,” Mullins said. “That was a very tough play. The wind was pushing in every direction possible. He was able to call me off a couple of balls due to the wind pushing his way, too. I like the range he showed today.”

What’s up with? Ryan McKenna was at the Orioles’ alternate site last year and part of their taxi squad but was never activated. The 24-year-old outfielder, who was put on the 40-man roster in November 2019, has yet to play in Triple-A.

“Disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to play a full year last year because I feel like he is making improvements,” Hyde said. “I know the guys were happy with some swing adjustments he made last year at the Bowie site.

“I think he’s come in here and played well. Ryan’s got a lot of tools, runs well. He throws very well. He can play center field. He can play both corner spots. He adds some versatility to our outfield. I think you’re going to see him play a little bit more in the next couple of weeks, just to give him a little longer look and some starts, give him some ABs against potentially major league pitching.

“He played in the ‘B’ game in Bradenton the other day, swung the bat pretty well. I have seen Ryan improve. He’s still a young player that’s still learning, but he’s making some nice adjustments.”

McKenna is 2-for-4 with five walks in Grapefruit League games.

What’s what? While the Orioles might not be able to count on half-capacity, about 23,000 for Opening Day, it seems that fans will return for games. The Orioles haven’t made an announcement about ticketing. They must consult with leaders from the state and city government as well as Major League Baseball before settling on a policy.

In recent days, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco have announced they would allow fans in their stadiums on Opening Day.

Washington is not allowing fans for the April 1st opener at Nationals Park.

What’s the word? “These guys are coming in with their ‘A’ game. They’re showing what they’ve got. They’re coming in with something to prove and they’re doing an amazing job out there, throwing strikes, locating their offspeed, getting guys out.”­Mullins on the Orioles’ young starters

What’s the number? 45,971. That’s the listed capacity of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and it will be interesting to see if the decision will be made to allow 50 percent capacity as Hogan is permitting–or much lower.

What’s the record?  2-6-1. The Orioles host the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 pm.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Orial

    March 10, 2021 at 7:48 am

    First up again. 50% is an impressive kick-start. All the red tape they have to go through will eventually lead to 50% I’m sure. Think the Nats might wanna rethink their opener? Can they? Is Stewart gonna be a chronic injury plagued OFer? Sure looks that way. Davis and his injuries should quiet the “no way he can go north” crowd. He’ll be on the IL 75% anyway. No big deal. Getting to the point where Mullins/Hays are gonna have to both be fulltimers in the OF. Love the tandem. Seems that Hyde is giving out auditions for 3B(every time I check someone other than Ruiz is at 3rd). Sorry Rio–you’re wearing out your welcome.

    • CalsPals

      March 10, 2021 at 8:24 am

      Again, Blame it on Rio…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 10, 2021 at 9:17 am

        You’re not getting it Orial.

        The fact that Davis may head north on an injury is no different than if he were heading back 100% healthy, and it sure as dickens isn’t going to quiet the “no way he can go north” crowd.

        This is a gut check on the ownership and specifically, the GM of our team. It’s time for this absolutely, Punch and Judy – Mickey Mouse – third rate organization to put on their big boys pants. Cutting ties with Crush is a the only 1st logical step that can be taken in that direction..

        Screw the creative book keeping … I don’t want to hear about the $$ anymore.

        • B.C. Bird

          March 10, 2021 at 9:30 am

          Amen to Boog
          Keep the faith

        • willmiranda

          March 10, 2021 at 10:23 am

          I empathize, Boog, with your frustration about Davis and the organization, and I won’t mention the money. But the only other consideration is a roster spot, and there’s no one who makes me scream that we gotta dump Davis for him. Like it or not, this is a rebuilding –that is, not ready for prime time– team and the bottom ten players, including Davis, are place holders. Except for him, they are all cheap by design. But that gets us back to the “m” word.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            March 10, 2021 at 1:45 pm

            Absolutely it’s about the roster spot. Awesome piece by Rich just last week demonstrated just how valued they are in today’s game. It’s ALL about taking up space where and when Chris Davis is concerned.

          • WorldlyView

            March 10, 2021 at 8:12 pm

            I agree with you, Will, about having to suffer the minimum wage, bottom of the roster players (though the real number is probably closer to 15). What infuriates me, and hopefully someone can explain, is what long-time Orioles fans did to deserve a management group that apparently couldn’t care less about how many losses are in store for this team this year and probably next. Nearly all owners of big league sports teams are sufficiently wealthy that their prime motivation for buying in is prestige, ego, and influence. They treasure having a winning team that enhances their pubic image (and sells tickets). Correct me if I am wrong, but there don’t seem to be a lot of major league baseball, football, or basketball team owners who are in it to maximize short-term profits. Big league team ownership is not a traditional business where the bottom line rules. The Orioles and other major league teams are a quasi-public good: an entity that provides to the public at large entertainment, enjoyment, and a respite from everyday worries. I consider the infinite fan patience that some link to the long-term build from within strategy to be a smokescreen. If it is true that the Angelos family’s net worth is in the billions, they could afford some short-term free agents that would lift the team above the looming embarrassment. I assume Will’s ‘m’ word is mediocre, which may be too generous. And so I don’t buy the argument of some that ownership should pinch pennies until the O’s are on the threshold of competitiveness–at which time the purse would magically open wide and tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars would flow to free agents. Ironically, the latter may not be necessary if enough of our accumulated prospects eventually emerge as first-rate players. Somebody please tell me why I should be a happy camper.

        • Orial

          March 10, 2021 at 10:29 am

          Boog I can’t argue any of that.

    • CalsPals

      March 10, 2021 at 11:45 am

      I would put the batboy on the active roster over CD…go O’s…

  2. Bj42170

    March 10, 2021 at 8:13 am

    I’ve been contacted by my Ticket Rep and we are scheduled to sit in our regular seats at Camden Yards for our 29 game plan.

  3. Tony Paparella

    March 10, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Rich, do the Orioles have to pay players that end up on an extended DL or do they carry some sort of insurance on them? Let’s say Davis has a chronic back injury and does not even play this year,seems like a team would protect themselves from something like that, especially with a 22 mil a year salary.

    • Shamus

      March 10, 2021 at 8:49 am

      The money is lost ….. Os need to move on. Bench him or disable him.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 10, 2021 at 9:14 am

      Tony, teams often have insurance for long-term injuries as they did in the case of Albert Belle many years ago, but I’m not sure if it’s still allowed.

  4. Bman

    March 10, 2021 at 9:22 am

    If Ruiz doesn’t start hitting, there’s a chance he’s sent down or let go. Bannon and Nevin waiting in the wings.

  5. Baltimore Castaway

    March 10, 2021 at 11:13 am

    This Chis Davis fiasco will end when the 2022 season ends–if there is a season in 2022.

    We may as well get used to it. This albatross of a contract lays entirely at Peter Angelos feet.

    It was a perfect storm of the owner’s ego, poor relations between the Owner and then GM, poor communications (signing Mark Trumbo to his deal to believing that Davis was a goner) and lastly extremely poor judgement thinking that Davis was worth that kind of money.

    It does seem that Davis won’t be around the team with all his injuries. So at least they won’t have him around as a distraction.

    • CalsPals

      March 10, 2021 at 11:47 am

      As long as they have the right “other doctors”…go O’s…

  6. Birdman

    March 10, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    If,and when,there is a collective bargaining agreement that ensures a full 162 game season in 2022, ownership will finally let Elias cut Crush loose … but not before then.

  7. millboy

    March 10, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Always easier to give away someone else’s money

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 10, 2021 at 9:24 pm

      Milboy … how many commercials on MSN have you watched over the years?

      This isn’t “somebody else’s money”, when you really think about it is?

  8. Bhoffman1

    March 11, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    Anyone that feels the O’s will hold on to Davis because next year might be a work stoppage and ownership will save money or he will be on the DL or his roster spot doesn’t mean much is not a fan in my book. I have to comment again how to you like our 077 average clean up hitter. Yes it’s spring training but something is wrong with Hyde’s head batting him fourth or playing Wilkerson everyday

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