Orioles will examine Hernández's elbow; Can Franco and Ruiz coexist?; Rule 5 picks making pitch - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles will examine Hernández’s elbow; Can Franco and Ruiz coexist?; Rule 5 picks making pitch

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? –Veteran pitcher Félix Hernández will have his right elbow examined on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte because of what the team described as discomfort.

Hernández pitched just one inning, and was pulled by manager Brandon Hyde.

“Taking a little bit more time between pitches,” Hyde said. “The way he came off the mound after the inning just looked different. You kind of read pitchers. You’ve got a feeling that something’s not right.”

Veterans Hernández, Matt Harvey and Wade LeBlanc are trying to make te Orioles’ starting rotation. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias wouldn’t rule out searching for pitching help.

“We’re always looking, and we’ll see what happens,” Elias said.

Elias said pitchers could opt out of other camps or they could be placed on waivers.

“We’re seeing some encouraging stuff here,” Elias said. “We’ve got a good competition going on. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

John Means will start against the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 pm on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. He’ll be opposed by Charlie Morton.

Third baseman Maikel Franco, who signed with the Orioles on Tuesday, will be on the field on Wednesday, Hyde said.

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Hunter Harvey, who has a strained left oblique muscle, was placed on the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster for Franco.

The Orioles’ other third baseman, Rio Ruiz, will stay with the Orioles, Elias said. Franco is a right-handed hitter, and Ruiz bats left-handed.

“He’s played well for us for a couple of years,” Elias said of Ruiz. “He will continue to do that. I think that we’re going to need more options, more right-handed options. We’re going to need more depth.

“We thought this was a good opportunity, seeing a player of his caliber still unsigned,” Elias said of Franco. “It’s definitely more competition for the guys that are already on the roster, but there’s still a lot of opportunity for all of these guys.”

Shortstop Richie Martin could play his first game on Friday after recovering from surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left hand. Outfielder DJ Stewart remains out because of a left hamstring injury.

What happened? After Hernández left the game, Tampa Bay scored seven runs in the second inning, six against Eric Hanhold, in the Orioles’ 7-1 loss. Marcos Díplan allowed the seventh run.

Jorge López pitched three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk, and striking out five.

“I thought Lopie’s last [two] innings were really good,” Hyde said. “His first inning, he was feeling for it a little bit. He wasn’t as aggressive as he had been his previous couple of outings. Then, he picked it up that second inning. The last [two] innings, he was very aggressive, forcing contact, good tempo on the mound. Good job, escaped trouble one time.

“It’s aggressiveness with Lopie. That’s what we’re going to continue to hound him on — being aggressive in the strike zone because his stuff really plays.”

The Orioles trimmed the camp roster to 58 by optioning infielders Rylan Bannon and Tyler Nevin, outfielders Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna, and right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau to Triple-A Norfolk.

“The guys had good camps,” Elias said. “They’re knocking on the door and on our radar screen this year. I think we might see any or all of them debut. All those guys showed well, but we’re at the point in camp where we’re starting to pare down.”

Catcher Taylor Davis was reassigned to minor league camp.

What’s up with? Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells. Elias said that the Rule 5 draft choices have a chance to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster.

“They’re still competing,” Elias said. “They’re both interesting. Their stuff has been very good. Obviously, the results have been a little uneven, but that’s to be expected for some of these guys in general and also coming off the layoff they both had.

“We’re using as much time and opportunity to evaluate those guys. The stuff and the velocity have been as good as advertised and what we were hoping to get.”

What’s what? Since Franco might not be ready to start the season, Ruiz could be the Opening Day third baseman for the third straight year. If the Orioles keep 14 pitchers and three bench players, it seems unlikely that Franco and Ruiz could coexist since neither plays shortstop.

Keeping both would probably mean a 13-man staff, and four bench players.

What’s the word? “I think it makes our whole team stronger and our mix stronger, and we’re hopeful he’ll make the most of this opportunity. He wanted to play for the Orioles. He wants to be a part of this group.”-Elias on Franco’s addition

What’s the number? 0. Last November, the Orioles added six players from their organization to the 40-man roster — Bannon, Diaz and pitchers Mike Baumann, Zac Lowther, Isaac Mattson and Alexander Wells. All have been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

What’s the record?  4-11-1. The Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 pm on Wednesday.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. ClyOs

    March 17, 2021 at 7:53 am

    I think the minute Franco signed, the clock started ticking for Ruiz!

  2. Orial

    March 17, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Agree Rio’s clock is ticking. Can’t see them carying both. Not enough flexibility between them. If Elias looks elsewhere for pitching help I know 2 pitchers he WON’T consider— Cole Hamels or Rick Porcello and I think we all know why. Interesting how Felix pitched his best baseball of the spring(striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced) while in pain. A couple of observations(from afar) on 2 players sent down yesterday: Bannon couldn’t heed the moment,3rd base was open for the taking/Diaz showed occasional pop but OH those strikeouts. Hope they pick it up a notch at Norfolk. Lopez–as Hyde said,be aggressive and maybe you can be the 4-5 starter.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 17, 2021 at 8:47 am

    My hope is that neither of these guys are starting at 3rd, or on the team for that matter, by the all star break.. I’m hoping Bannon or Nevin show enough at Norfolk to warrant a look see in Bal’more.

  4. CalsPals

    March 17, 2021 at 9:11 am

    KC not ruling out Witt Jr making the team, despite him being 20 & never playing above A-ball, maybe the KC model is the way to go, they won as many WS as the Astros in the last few yrs…hmmm…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 17, 2021 at 12:31 pm

      My gosh CPs …. those folks in KC must be out of their minds!!! Somebody that can catch a ground ball before 26? That’s just crazy talk!

      • NormOs

        March 17, 2021 at 1:27 pm

        I agree! What’s going to happen when our 20 year olds leave? Will we run out of 20 year olds? Are they going to stop making 20 year olds If I know my Elias’, he ain’t gonna play any 20 year olds while the waiver wire still exists. Ruiz is gone, he’s not going to pay this new guy 800Gs and pay Ruiz too. It ain’t gonna happen! See, it’s the same thing with Mancini and Davis, only DIFFERENT

    • CalsPals

      March 17, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      :)…go O’s…

  5. Bman

    March 17, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Pitching decisions will be interesting for sure. Scerlorer will be next ax to fall maybe.

  6. Tony Paparella

    March 17, 2021 at 9:33 am

    I’m thinking Franco was so cheap that it is a no brainer for the most part.He can add some excitement to this team, and if he gets going and picks up where he left off last year he could be a great way to get another decent prospect down the line.Ruiz was sick just last week, hasn’t really dominated at the position, and has a couple options left. Agree with Boog as to Bannon or Nevin who both seem promising.I thought Bannon might steal the job away in spring training but it did not happen. Nevin looked pretty good to me. So many people in the picture is going to make decisions more difficult later on but it is a good problem to have. I was pulling for Hernandez myself so kind of disappointed in the injury, just hoping for the best there.It seems like Martin has become a forgotten man so will be interesting to see how he performs though he could possibly be way behind at this point.would have been nice if we could have seen more tv action this spring. Too many changes that I don’t like as far as TV and announcers,pregame etc.

  7. willmiranda

    March 17, 2021 at 10:57 am

    I’m glad that Franco really wants to be a part of this group. That’s why he wanted a pro-trade rather than
    a no-trade clause in his contract. As for “competition” in spring training, the past couple years we’ve heard a lot of talk, but whether guys are kept, dropped, or sent down doesn’t always seem based on spring training performance. It seems pretty much pre-ordained.

    • CalsPals

      March 17, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      Totally agree, if my memory serves me well this might’ve been the start in Siscos decline, I vaguely remember him having a great spring training 3-4 yrs ago & being sent down, hasn’t been like he was that spring since then…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 17, 2021 at 12:33 pm

        Don’t give up on Sisco yet. He’ll be a pro baller for many more years.

      • BrooksPJs

        March 17, 2021 at 12:35 pm

        Random, possibly meaningless Cisco stats for 2017 and 2018…

        2017 Spring Training 24 AB, 0.870 OPS
        2017 Called up to Os in Sep, only 22 PAs but outstanding 1.232 OPS
        2018 Spring Training 35 AB, 1.274 OPS
        2018 Made the Os out of Spring Training but struggled with a 0.557 OPS over 184 PAs

        Spring Training stats from mlb dot com, regular seasons stats from baseball reference

    • CalsPals

      March 17, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      Again, think Sisco can do it, again if I recall in 2018 he had spotty starts, I think he’s the kinda player that needs to play on a regular basis…go O’s…

    • BarstoolSleeper

      March 17, 2021 at 1:05 pm

      Agreed CP, I’m all for playing Sisco over Severino. Severino isn’t the future. They should at least see what Sisco can do when he plays 70-80% of the time behind the plate for a season.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 17, 2021 at 1:37 pm

      Hyde bats Severino fourth a joke . Severino has no upside potential. Sisco might if he was playing daily. He needs to build confidence. If it fails Adley is in the wings anyway.

      • Phil770

        March 17, 2021 at 3:38 pm

        Sisco is a sub-par MLB catcher, when he has caught regularly, ERAs are up and his own BA deteriorates. Severino has gotten off to very solid starts that last two seasons (and then fades). Ideally, Severino gets off to another first half solid start and is traded then replaced by Adley.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 17, 2021 at 4:01 pm

      Severino is batting around 050 this spring. So it looks like his fade has continued. Sisco has never been given a chance to play regularly and his defense improved last year while Severino who is supposed to be a defensive specialist deteriorated

  8. Birdman

    March 17, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    True, Severino is having a lousy spring training offensively … but its not like Sisco is tearing it up in spring training – 15 ABs, 3 hits and 6 strikeouts. This pretty much mirrors Sisco’s career MLB stats – low BA and a high strikeout ratio.

    • CalsPals

      March 17, 2021 at 4:01 pm

      Let him play regularly the 1st half of the season, if he shows he’s not ready bring up Rutschman, Severino just doesn’t cut it for me…go O’s…

    • BarstoolSleeper

      March 17, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      The most games he’s ever played in a MLB season is 63. That’s hardly enough to get into a rhythm and play “regularly”. He was a victim of the Norfolk shuttle going back and forth. I think some of us just want to see what we have in him if you let him play regularly over the course of an entire year.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 17, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      Agree 100 per cent Cal and Bar, Severino doesn’t cut it either for me and so far Hyde has ruined Sisco by not giving him a chance to play regularly. If Sisco fails my mid season being Adley up .

    • CalsPals

      March 17, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      Sisco seems like the perfect candidate (Yaz) to go somewhere else & turn out pretty good as a player…go O’s…

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