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.