Orioles' Martin, Franco set to make spring debuts; Harvey moves closer to starting spot; Stewart out - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles’ Martin, Franco set to make spring debuts; Harvey moves closer to starting spot; Stewart out

What’s happening? –Jorge López will get his second start of the spring on Sunday when the Orioles play the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium.

López has allowed three runs on eight hits in 11 innings in four appearances. He’s scheduled to be followed by Paul Fry, Tanner Scott, Cole Sulser and Eric Hanhold. López will be opposed by J.A. Happ.

Manager Brandon Hyde said that Richie Martin and Maikel Franco will play for the first time on Sunday. Martin, who will start at second base, hasn’t played because of surgery to remove the hamate bone from his left hand. Franco, who signed with the team on Tuesday, will make his Oriole debut at third base.

Both played in an intrasquad game on Saturday as did outfielder DJ Stewart, who has been out since March 6th because of a right hamstring injury.

“I told him to take it easy,” Hyde said. “He swung the bat very well in the game. He’s taken batting practice every game. He’s just not full-go from a sprint standpoint, yet, and with a hamstring, want to be careful with it. I’d like for him to be 100 percent healthy when we throw him into a spring training-type game.

“At this point, we’ll recheck him, see about game action in a couple of days, but we’re not going to push the envelope with him with a hamstring.”

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Keegan Akin and Thomas Eshelman each pitched multiple innings in the intrasquad game.

Chris Davis remains out because of a back injury.

What happened? Matt Harvey worked four innings, allowing a run, as the Orioles beat the New York Yankees, 2-1, in Sarasota on Saturday night.

Harvey allowed just one hit, a home run to Gio Urshela in the second inning. He walked one and struck out two.

“Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect,” Harvey said. “I think mechanically the work we’ve been doing has definitely been paying off. I feel like it’s very close, and each time out, it’s getting more comfortable.

“I’m able to read hitters a little more and get back to what I used to do.”

Harvey, who will have to be added to the 40-man roster, looks as if he’s got a good shot at a rotation spot.

“None of that is my call,” Harvey said. “Just keep working and progressing, and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of doing that. I guess if there’s something I could control, it was me coming in every and working hard and putting myself in a position to make them make a decision. I think, I somewhat did that pretty well, and there’s no settling.

“Whether it’s a decision that they make to have me on the squad or not, my goal is to keep coming in, working hard, and get those mechanics solid, so I can attack hitters and go after people.”

Hyde said Harvey didn’t have a good breaking ball but threw quality changeups.

“Lot of swings and misses on the changeup as well as some bad swings,” Hyde said. “He’s been working on that two-seamer, and the two-seamer had a lot of dive to it. He battled. Didn’t let the home run faze him … competed in the strike zone and left after four really good innings.”

Rule 5 draft choice Mac Sceroler threw two scoreless innings, allowing a hit, and striking out one. The other Rule 5 pick, Tyler Wells, matched him with two more shutout innings. Wells gave up a hit and struck out three.

“Very impressive,” Hyde said. “They were facing some Yankee regulars.

“I thought they worked ahead nicely. I liked Tyler Wells’ competitiveness. All three pitches for strikes that we hadn’t really seen, and he did that tonight as well as a live fastball at the top of the zone. He did a nice job. Sceroler did a really good job, also, facing the meat of the order, forcing contact early. He was up to 95 as well. Both guys did a nice job against some good Yankees hitters.”

Dillon Tate hit a batter then struck out three in the ninth.

Pat Valaika homered in the fifth and doubled in the second. Valaika said he’s not concerned about who he’s competing against for a roster spot.

“I learned this in college. I had a really good mental skills coach,” Valaika said. “His focus was controlling the controllables. That is so far out of my control. All I can do is show up every day and give my best effort and work hard and just let my abilities play. Short answer is: I really don’t look into it and I’m just trying to focus on myself.”

What’s up with? Fernando Abad is trying to make the Orioles as a non-roster left-hander. Abad, who also pitched in Saturday’s intrasquad game, has a 10.38 ERA in five spring games. He’s been undone by shoddy defense during his appearances.

On Friday night, errors were made by shortstop Freddy Galvis and catcher Pedro Severino, allowing two three runs to score.

“That was just a bad luck inning,” Hyde said. “Couldn’t stop the momentum there.”

Hyde said on the ball Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds hit back to the mound: “Abad didn’t help himself out, kind of spiked it to Sevy for the out at the plate. It just wasn’t a good inning for us, and Abad, unfortunately, was on the mound for it. I don’t chalk that up. I just watch his stuff.”

Hyde said Abad threw well in the intrasquad game.

“We know his track record,” Hyde said. “We know he has a really good arm with a good changeup, tough on left-handers. I just chalk [Friday] night up to a bad inning.”

What’s what When Stewart was hurt, Hyde suggested the injury wasn’t considered serious. However, Stewart’s been out for two weeks and with his return date still uncertain, it makes his inclusion on the Opening Day roster in doubt.

If Stewart begins the season on the injured list, it could open a spot for another utility player or for one of the Rule 5 pitchers.

What’s the word? “I’m not throwing 100 anymore, so I don’t quite have the hop and all that stuff like I used to, but I think really digging down and actually pitching is what I’ll have to do.”-Harvey on how he’s changed as a pitcher.

What’s the number? 8. Stewart has just eight spring at-bats. He has two hits, both home runs.

What’s the record?  7-11-1. The Orioles play the Minnesota Twins on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan and the Orioles Radio Network.

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