Oriole bats break out in 12-3 win; Ruiz ignores Franco chatter; Matt Harvey getting stronger - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Oriole bats break out in 12-3 win; Ruiz ignores Franco chatter; Matt Harvey getting stronger

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? –Félix Hernández will make his third start of the spring on Tuesday when the Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida at 1:05 pm. Ryan Yarbrough will start for Tampa Bay.

In his first two starts, Hernández has a 9.64 ERA. He’s allowed five earned runs on his six hits in 4 2/3 innings while walking two and striking out three. His velocity has been in the mid-80s.

Richie Martin, who hasn’t play this spring after surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left hand, is scheduled to play for the first time. He played in a simulated game in Sarasota on Monday morning.

Reliever Hunter Harvey remains out because of a strained oblique muscle. There’s no timetable for his return.

“The oblique is super sore,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re going to have to give it time and see how it goes.”

Third baseman Rio Ruiz, who hadn’t played since March 6th because of illness, will be the designated hitter against the Rays.

“I had all the stuff going on, symptoms [for Covid-19] … luckily, we dodged a bullet there,” Ruiz said. “I definitely worried about it, especially being out for the whole week that I was. I didn’t know how long I was going to be out … luckily, we did everything we needed to do and took all the tests I needed to take and was able to get back today.”

The Orioles are working on an agreement with free-agent third baseman Maikel Franco. The signing is expected to be made official this week.

Ruiz said he’s not concerned.


“I just worry about the things that I can control,” he said. “I don’t make decisions around here. Nobody in the clubhouse does. As long as you play your game and worry about yourself, everything will be fine.”

What happened? The Orioles scored eight runs in the seventh inning in a 12-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

Jahmai Jones hit a three-run home run, and Gunnar Henderson had a two-run single to key the inning.

Austin Hays and Freddy Galvis had back-to-back home runs in the second. Ruiz, Tyler Nevin and Anthony Santander each had two of the Orioles’ 15 hits.

“I thought we had good at-bats all day long, up and down the order,” Hyde said. “I thought we did a lot of good things offensively, and I’m even more pleased with our defense. I thought we played very, very well defensively for the second game in a row, something we hadn’t been doing so far this spring.”

Ruiz had two doubles.

“He made a great play defensively on a diving play to his left,” Hyde said. “And was competitive at the plate, going left-on-left with a ground-rule double. It was a nice first day back for him.”

Hyde isn’t ready to designate a starting third baseman.

“Nothing’s set in stone right now,” Hyde said.

Matt Harvey pitched four innings, allowing two runs on five hits, including Ke’Bryan Hayes’ home run. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.

“I left a bad curveball hanging in the first inning and then they kind of chipped away at a run in the third,” Harvey said. “Overall, I was happy about pounding the zone and not walking anybody. Couple of hits here and there are going to happen, but I thought I was able to limit the damage pretty well.”

Harvey allowed three runs on four hits against Toronto in Dunedin on March 5th.

“Giving up runs and hits is not ideal, but as far as mechanically through the outing, I think there was maybe one or two hiccups I could feel,” Harvey said. “Other than that, everything was pretty solid.”

Keegan Akin pitched the last three innings, allowing a run on three hits, striking out five without walking a batter.

What’s up with? Fernando Abad retired the two batters he faced. Abad is a non-roster left-hander. In four games, Abad has allowed five runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

In nine major league seasons with six teams, Abad is 8-29 with a 3.67 ERA.

What’s what It doesn’t bother César Valdez that so many young pitchers throw hard and he doesn’t. The veteran right-hander, who turns 36 on Wednesday, is outstanding at changing speeds.

“It’s fun to watch those young guys,” Valdez said through a translator. “It’s incredible to be here in camp, watching so many young guys, so many hard throwers. I can’t do that. My thing is my breaking ball, my off[speed] pitches, trying to get as many out with the best pitches that I have.

“Once I’m there, I’m really enjoying all those young guys compete.”

What’s the word? “Playing against him when he was with the Phillies and then playing with him last year, the guy’s got some serious pop and can do some damage, for sure. Having him at third … he definitely has an unbelievable arm and plays a good third base. He can swing it. From the short season I spent with him last season, he was a great teammate.Harvey on Franco, with whom he played last season in Kansas City.

What’s the number? 12. The Orioles scored 12 runs on Monday after scoring 12 in their previous six games.

What’s the record?  4-10-1. The Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 pm on Tuesday. The game is on MLB.TV, on the Rays’ TV network. It’s also available on the Rays’ Radio Network.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




  1. Orial

    March 16, 2021 at 8:24 am

    Finally a nice game to comment on,a breather. Hays staying tuned in,Galvis showing pop,Jones/Gunnar contributing,M. Harvey showing that maybe he can contribute. Ruiz getting 2 hits brings a strange thought–Franco comes,Rio gets cut/optioned,Rio goes elsewhere,Rio becomes a solid ML player(borderline all-star). We’ve seen it with pitchers–can it happen here? Good luck today King Felix I hope that 83 mph fastball fools more Rays’ hitters than it did Pirates’ hitters.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 16, 2021 at 8:47 am

    Gunnar Henderson .. is Elias teasing us with this kid?

  3. Tony Paparella

    March 16, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Good to see the bats lighting up a bit. Especially with the nucleus of a starting team in that lineup yesterday. Hoping they can continue making contact and making noise. Harvey did not do too bad from the stats though being unable to view the games leaves us all with a more minimal perspective.I think the Franco signing ( if it ever becomes official) will be a plus for the team as far as a veteran power bat. He may have fun in Camden Yards if he has an up year in his up and down career at this time. Should also help to get Ruiz to button down a bit more but I can see a DH third base combo possibility there. I do think Franco signing may be tied to being an everyday player which may include starting at third base for the most part. Certainly cannot make those kind of guarantees but I believe that is what Franco looking for from a team. I think Akin is going to be a decent pitcher for the Birds and I also hope that Valdez sticks around because he seems to bewilder batters with his mixture slow stuff and brings a great mix to the array of arms in camp and in baseball in general for that matter.As long as his pitches continue to move around he will have success,but he has been around a long time without really making much of an impact in this league. Jones went yard yesterday which was good to see but looks like he may be sent down from the amount of time he has played so far. Tyler Nevin seems to be having a decent spring when he has been in the lineup but you don’t hear much about him. A lot of talent on this team and I hope it starts coming out on a more consistent basis than it has so far. Opening day is right around the corner now so it is time to man up.

  4. Bhoffman1

    March 16, 2021 at 10:09 am

    I like Harvey’s attitude this year. I’m thinking he might surprise everyone and return to the Dark Night. I like what he said about Franco . Everyone is saying his defense is so so nice to hear he has a great arm. Maybe he can return too and if he does I hope he’s not just a placement holder here. I realize Hyde is trying to instill confidence in Severino as Sisco looks like he doesn’t have much to offer but continually putting him in the four slot. That’s utterly ridiculous. Even if he was hitting he’s not a four spot even in the minors

    • BrooksPJs

      March 16, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      Four spot starts during 2020 season with team record:
      Mountcastle, 8 starts, 2-6
      Nunez, 20, 7-13
      Ruiz, 10, 6-4
      Santander, 3, 2-1
      Severino, 15, 8-7
      Smith, 2, 0-2
      Stewart, 2, 0-2

      Franco started 17 games at the four spot for KC in 2020, KC was 9-8 in those games.

      Random, possibly meaningless stats for Tuesday 3/16!

    • CalsPals

      March 16, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      Put someone in a spot & keep them there, that seems to be part of the problem, I hesitate to say this, but look at most lineups, the guys don’t move around too much in the order…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      March 16, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      And Severino another 0 for 3 today batting 053. Your last season stats mean hardly anything sorry. This man even if he starts hitting is not a clean up guy on any team in the majors or even triple A

  5. Orioleschatter

    March 16, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Ok, so the sun shinned on the Orioles yesterday….gonna be a once a week thing. Put um down for 45 wins this year. While they have some good young position players now, you can’t expect much with this bush league, patchwork, joke of a pitching staff.

    • Orial

      March 16, 2021 at 11:40 am

      I can see you’re gonna be fun to read this year.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 16, 2021 at 12:18 pm

      Maybe the O’s will surprise you this year?
      Means and Kremer are pretty decent pitchers IMO.
      Hopefully Akin will improve and become give the O’s stats closer to Bundy’s than Hess’.
      Zimmermann is having an awesome spring and Lopez is having a pretty good spring too.
      Hopefully the O’s can get some good starts out of M. Harvey, Hernandez, Eshelman, or LeBlanc during the regular season. Lots of promising starters in the minors too.

      If the O’s are following the Astro’s rebuild map, they are in year 3 of the rebuild, not counting the year of the record collapse as a rebuild year. Astro’s won 70 games in year 3 of the rebuild and made the playoffs the following year. Hoping for the best for the O’s!

    • CalsPals

      March 16, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Mentioning Bundy, opening day starter for Angels…go O’s…

  6. Old Bird fan

    March 16, 2021 at 11:55 am

    I have been an Oriole fan since they came here from St. Louis so I have seen a lot of good and bad. It seems like this is going to be another minor league team. Where do they get these players? I could be wrong but only time will tell.

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