What’s happening? – Matt Harvey will start against the New York Yankees on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. Harvey has allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings in two Grapefruit League starts. He’ll be opposed by Michael King.
Félix Hernández, who left Tuesday’s game with Tampa Bay after an inning because of discomfort in his right elbow told the Orioles he is feeling better, but he won’t make his next scheduled start.
Manager Brandon Hyde said there will be an intrasquad game featuring players from the Twin Lakes minor league camp and players recently sent down from major league camp on Saturday.
What happened? Trey Mancini hit his first home run of the spring as the Orioles beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 11-9, at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida on Friday night.
Mancini’s rocket shot to left field came in his 10th game of the spring. He missed the 2020 season because of colon cancer surgery.
“It felt really good,” Mancini said. “It’s no different than a lot of spring trainings. It takes me a while to get going and start driving the ball, and it always seems to come here, at LECOM Park, when I break through power-wise. It did feel really good to connect with one there. It had been a long time since I had that feeling, for sure.”
Hyde was excited to see the shot.
“I know that felt good for him, and he blasted it into the wind,” Hyde said. “A 4-iron that went a long way. It was good to see him barrel a baseball and stay behind it. He’d been waiting for one of those.”
Mancini is confident that he’ll be able to play a full major league season a year after the surgery and five months of chemotherapy.
“No, I have no doubt at all,” Mancini said. “I wouldn’t be here if I did. I feel ready to play, and I’m excited to be out there every day.”
Mancini wasn’t thinking about home runs.
“I’ve driven some balls to the outfield that have been caught,” Mancini said. “I felt pretty good, but I just happened to not have an extra-base hit before tonight, but it wasn’t anything I was thinking about or bothering me at all.”
There haven’t been any surprises for Mancini this spring.
“It’s about on par with what I expected,” Mancini said. “I knew that there would be some at-bats where I felt like I never left, and some at-bats where I just felt overmatched for whatever reason. It’s been like that pretty consistently for the most part.
“Even with the same game, one at-bat will feel great, and then I’ll strike out the next two, and I’ll be like, ‘What is going on?’ I will have that thought some time, but that’s the way I am every spring.”
Hyde checks in daily with Mancini.
“After everything that I’ve gone through, there’s going to be some concern with how I’m feeling, physically, if I’m tired, and things like that,” Mancini said. “It’s about what I expected, for sure, and I really appreciate him doing that. I’m not lying when I tell him, I feel good and ready to go.”
Starter Dean Kremer allowed five runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
“I thought Dean had good stuff,” Hyde said. “The first couple of innings, he threw the ball well. The command left him the last couple of innings, a lot of deep counts. Got his pitch count way up. It’s about strikes for Dean. It’s about being able to attack hitters because his stuff plays. He’s got multiple pitches he can get guys out with.
“When he’s aggressive in the strike zone, he has success. It’s about commanding the ball better throughout his outing, but I thought he had good stuff again.”
Kremer admired Mancini’s home run from the dugout.
“That was a nuke,” Kremer said. “That was hit pretty far. Everybody was with their jaw on the floor because of how far it was hit. Everybody loved it. It’s good to see him back to what he was in previous years.”
Ryan Mountcastle and Cedric Mullins each had two-run home runs. Mountcastle drove in three runs. Austin Hays had two RBIs and two hits. Anthony Santander had two hits.
The Orioles made five errors, the Pirates committed four.
Wade LeBlanc allowed an unearned run in three hitless innings, walking two and striking out three. Fernando Abad allowed three runs, two unearned, while retiring two batters.
Shawn Armstrong and Eric Hanhold each threw a scoreless inning.
Bruce Zimmermann pitched five innings in a ‘B’ game against Pittsburgh on Friday. Richie Martin, who has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game after surgery to remove the hamate bone from his left hand, played in the ‘B’ game.
What’s up with? Chance Sisco is optimistic about the young pitchers the Orioles have been grooming.
“I think they’re going to be really good,” Sisco said. “They all have a shot to be really good. Each one is a little bit different, but they all have good stuff, and they did well when they came up last month, Very encouraging to see the young guys come up and pitch well right away, Definitely exciting to continue that relationship and build on that and just see how far they can go.”
Sisco is 3-for-18 (.167) in nine exhibition games.
What’s what With John Means starting on Opening Day, Kremer would be on track to start the season’s second game in Boston on April 3rd, and Harvey on April 4th, if Hyde keeps them in turn.
Keegan Akin has an excellent chance to join the rotation to begin the season, and LeBlanc, Zimmermann and Jorge López have the best shots for the fifth spot if Hernández isn’t ready to begin the season.
What’s the word? “On the offensive side of the ball, I feel good, but at first base, I still have some things to work on. I’m shaking off some rust out there and I haven’t shown … as well as I think I could, so I’m really trying to focus being back at first base.”-Mancini on what he needs to work on in the final days of spring training.
What’s the number? .387, .1119 are Hays’ batting average and OPS this spring.
What’s the record? 6-11-1. The Orioles play the New York Yankees at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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