What’s happening? – The Orioles are off on Thursday, their second and final day off of spring training.
Dean Kremer will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida at 6:05 p.m. Steven Brault will pitch for the Pirates.
Third baseman Maikel Franco joined the Orioles for workouts on Wednesday. Franco, shortstop Richie Martin and outfielder DJ Stewart took at-bats on the back fields at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Martin hasn’t played because of surgery to remove the hamate bone from his left hand. Stewart is recovering from a hamstring injury.
Franco impressed manager Brandon Hyde when he was a prospect in the Philadelphia organization.
“A guy that had big power,” Hyde said. “Great arm from third base, and a good hitter that made contact. He’s just got a lot of tools. He was a big-time threat with his arm. He showcased it when he needed it. He was a pretty exciting player. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but I really liked him as a younger player in Philadelphia.”
Orioles shortstop Freddy Galvis and Franco were teammates with the Phillies.
“The Orioles are getting a really good player,” Galvis said. “Overall, he has a pretty good arm. He can hit [with] some pop. He can hit for average, too, and he can play defense.”
What happened? Starting pitcher John Means allowed a run on two hits in four innings as the Orioles beat the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, in Sarasota on Wednesday night.
Means retired the first 10 hitters before Ozzie Albies homered. Means struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.
“I thought the fastball, changeup combination was good,” Means said. “I thought I was getting ahead, attacking the zone. Kind of felt in rhythm.”
After four Grapefruit League starts with two more before the season starts, Means likes where he is.
“I think my body’s recovering well,” he said. “My arm feels good. Everything is working for the most part. Still probably need to throw a little bit more breaking balls. Other than that, I feel really good.”
Means should start on March 22nd and 27th.
“I’m not up there just lollygagging,” Means said. “I’m up there trying to compete. I’m up there trying to make it as much like a real in-season game as possible. I may not throw a certain pitch in a certain count because I’m trying to work on something.”
Galvis was impressed with Means.
“Today, he was really good,” he said. “He has command of his pitches. His fastball was good, his changeup was really good, too., The main thing, he threw strikes and when you have the repertoire, you have a really good chance to win the game. That’s what he did today, and that’s the result right there.”
Tanner Scott followed Means and threw a scoreless inning, allowing a hit and a walk with two strikeouts. Paul Fry had his first scoreless outing of the spring. He didn’t allow a hit in 1 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out one. Travis Lakins gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings, and Cole Sulser pitched a scoreless ninth.
Outfielder Austin Hays was 3-for-3, and his two-run double keyed a four-run sixth that broke a 1-1 tie.
What’s up with? Trey Mancini was 1-for-4. He struck out three times and committed a throwing error as he continues his comeback after having colon cancer surgery last year. His spring average is .292.
“Trey’s definitely meeting my expectations,” Hyde said. “My expectations for Trey are that I hope he feels good every day, and right now, he does. He’s in a great place, physically and mentally, so it’s just a day-to-day conversation between me and him if he’s ready to go the next day, and every day, I’ve asked, he is. That’s going to continue for the rest of the season.”
What’s what? Means hasn’t been named the Opening Day pitcher, but he’s been lined up for that since the start of exhibition games. Hyde will announce his Opening Day pitcher on Friday.
Means will face Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez at Fenway Park on April 1st. Red Sox manager Alex Cora named Rodriguez, who missed last season because of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), on Wednesday.
Means was supposed to start last July’s opener at Fenway but was held back because of arm fatigue.
What’s the word? “I never really look at spring training numbers. Spring training’s for working on the whole repertoire, and just really staying healthy and recovering well. Obviously, it helps when you do well and you go out there and throw up zeroes. At the end of the day ,when you’re recovering well, that’s all that matters.”-Means on spring training statistics
What’s the number? .045. That’s catcher Pedro Severino’s spring training average. Severino is 1-for-22 after going hitless in three at-bats in Tuesday’s game at Tampa Bay.
“The box score shows 0-for-3,” Hyde said. “I saw him stay on one, hit a ground ball to the right side. Then I saw him hit a line drive to right, then a deep, deep fly out up against the wall in right-center, which shows that he’s staying on the ball and letting the ball travel. I feel like he’s a click early the first 20 at-bats, coming around the ball early a little bit. He’s taking good passes at the baseball. He’s just been a hair early, and [Tuesday] really backed the ball up and smoked two balls the other way.
“When Sevy does that, it means he’s in a good spot because he has so much power the other way. He really can cover out over the plate. Really a nice piece of hitting twice from him yesterday, and talking with him this afternoon, he was really encouraged by that … he felt a lot better after [Tuesday’s] game because he had been a little bit jumpy and yesterday, slowed the game down a little bit.”
What’s the record? 5-11-1. The Orioles face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday at 6:05 p.m. The game will be available on MLB.TV on the Pirates’ television and radio feeds.