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

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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.”

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.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




  1. CalsPals

    March 21, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Like the start by Harvey, I’ve been critical of signing him, now cautiously optimistic, rule 5 guys looked good, scary, still think I’d go w/youngens because of all that comes w those guys, glad to see sevy’s defense is mid-season form…go O’s…

  2. Orial

    March 21, 2021 at 8:41 am

    This must have been what it was like to follow baseball in 1920—no TV,no radio,only boxscores and these writeups to keep us posted. Only baseball could go back to the days of Pony Express. Reading about Friday’s game(yes I said we’re a little behind) it seems Galvis and Severino were the main characters in that defensive fiasco. Come on Freddy don’t scare us now. Pedro your clock is ticking. Got my fingers crossed for Harvey– what a shot in the arm he would be. If Franco’s ready to start today there’s no way he WON’T be ready for opening day. Speaking of Harvey–it’s nice to hear somebody compliment the potchiing coaches/process. Good signs. Speaking of pitching is it me but doesn’t it seem the staff responds better to Sisco than Severino(more quality outings)?

    • CalsPals

      March 21, 2021 at 9:18 am

      Agree, I’d have Sisco kid behind the plate as much as possible…go O’s…

      • Phil770

        March 21, 2021 at 10:09 am

        Saw the game, Sisco would have been charged with an error too. Bad throw from the pitcher. Spring training for official scorers too, I guess. The Hays error in RF was more egregious. A fly ball that popped out of his glove, which bobbled around before catching. Replay showed it barely touched the fence. Of course, the Pirates made four errors and lost the lead and the game to the O’s.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 21, 2021 at 11:25 am

      Stats for 2020 and 2019 show the O’s with a better ERA with Severino catching than Sisco (plese note CP’s comments about Sisco being subject to spotty starts and a few bad games skewing stats like ERA). With Sisco catching in 2020, team ERA was 5.87; with Severino catching, 3.89. 2019, ERA with Sisco catching 6.19, Severino 5.53.

      Stats for Spring Training 2021 favor Sisco, team ERA with Sisco catching 5.32, 6.91 with Severino catching. Over their last four starts, the difference is even greater – Sisco 2.33, Severino 7.27.

      • Tony Paparella

        March 21, 2021 at 3:27 pm

        Severino usually in the lineup with more consistency, Sisco here and there without so many back to back reps. That all started with Showalter and I don’t believe Sisco was really ever given a decent look.Sent down, then back up, etc., etc.Sometimes affects your attitude and confidence. Just my opinion.

    • CalsPals

      March 21, 2021 at 3:34 pm

      Totally agree Tony, too much yo-yo…go O’s…

  3. Bman

    March 21, 2021 at 10:20 am

    Wow Os shutdown the Yankees, not bad. Harvey rediscovering some things. Franco takes over 3B today. Martin prob goes AAA. Rules 5’s fighting for that pen spot. Really pleased with how well Hays training has gone. Might be his year, knock on wood. With all the talent that is going to be sent down, the Tides are going to be stacked this year. And Bowie. You can see the strength in the farm system. Os might be better than anticipated as well.

  4. Icterus fan

    March 21, 2021 at 10:49 am

    My first post here, everyone!
    I’ve been lurking and reading for a few months.

    Hyde has some big decisions ahead of him coming up fast.
    I like the new thought processes from Elias, and the staff, and am cautiously optimistic for this year -let’s at least show hustle out there and lose “competitively” if we are going to.

    Does anyone think King Felix can contribute seriously this year?

    • BrooksPJs

      March 21, 2021 at 11:30 am

      Welcome! I am pretty new myself.
      I think Elias will be making roster decisions with a little bit of input Hyde and others. Hoping the O’s will win 70+ this season while we get to see some new/young players getting called up and contributing. I don’t think Felix will contribute this year with his velocity down in the mid 80s but I am pulling for him. Like to see hustle too and like good attitudes as well.

    • CalsPals

      March 21, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Welcome IF, unfortunately don’t see Felix contributing at all, don’t know if he’s healthy, not a fan of losing, but if the effort is there it’s very palatable…go O’s…

  5. Bhoffman1

    March 21, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Funny talking about Sisco as a better handler of pitchers then Severino but what happened to his bat. Hyde will never play Sisco daily until hopefully he would learn how to hit again. He sits him down and the kid loses confidence. I don’t think he has ever started more then two games in a row even that’s a stretch

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 21, 2021 at 1:24 pm

      Bruce, if you look back at Sisco’s game log, you’ll find that he often started three–or even more–games in succession in June and July 2019. Last year, he didn’t play more than two in a row often, but in a 60-game season with a larger roster, they had three catchers.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 21, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    Matt Harvey … blah blah blah. Since we’re ignoring the article’s subject and talking Sisco … who am I to abstain?

    Hyde and Elias have sabotaged Chance Sisco’s career since they’ve been in their positions. Everybody that’s been around here has heard me on this bandbox for way longer than I should have been.

    First off, Elias kept him down in ’18 after he tore up spring training and clearly demonstrated that he could hit big league pitching and was the team’s best catcher, defensive skills not-withstanding. Then after arriving and suffering a cold spell at the plate, they immediately sent him down. Sheeesh … he 1st came up in 2017, and yet he still only has 443 at bats. He should have had that many by the end of 2018. He should be sitting around 1000 at bats right now, and coming into his own while surely improving defensively. But hey … we may have won a few more games if he were, ‘eh Mikey? Couldn’t have that.

    What Elias and Hyde have done to this kid’s development is downright wrong. You might as well count on him bolting to another team 1st chance he gets. And he won’t be the last to do so either. Thank you Mr Elias.

    • CalsPals

      March 21, 2021 at 2:10 pm

      Agree with you Boog, my biggest concern is he leaves & we regret it, maybe like Yaz, at this point, sweet Jesus, just play him all the time, I still don’t understand the love affair Mikey has with severino other than he signed him, unlike Sisco…go O’s…

    • BrooksPJs

      March 21, 2021 at 3:34 pm

      Ummm, 2018? Buck and Dan were in charge.
      Sisco’s OPS and OPS+ by year:
      2018 0.557 / 56
      2019 0.729 / 94
      2020 0.741 / 104
      I am no fan of Elias, but sure he and Hyde will sabotage some other Orioles careers like they did to Sisco…

    • Icterus fan

      March 21, 2021 at 5:56 pm

      Hmmm. Some serious deep state theories here, but it does kinda make sense.
      It’s a shame. I often wondered what the infatuation with Severino was when we had Cisco. Just naively assumed Severino was better, but his bat seems to take vacations.
      Not sure about his pitch calling and rapport with the young arms….

    • dlgruber1

      March 21, 2021 at 6:46 pm

      As much as I hate to even think it I sometimes wonder if ownership has input into the lineup makeup. Severino is being substantially more than Sisco. I’m sure I’m wrong for even thinking that tho, right?

  7. Birdman

    March 21, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Sisco sure hasn’t made much of a case for himself in spring training … he’s been nearly as bad as Severino at the plate – a .143 BA, 3 hits in 21 ABs, and his usual high strikeout rate (9 strikeouts).

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