Orioles say Hernández is improving; Mancini, Franco homer; Valdez gets 3-inning start - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles say Hernández is improving; Mancini, Franco homer; Valdez gets 3-inning start

What’s happening? – Dean Kremer will get his fifth start of the spring against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida at 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday.

Kremer has allowed nine runs on 12 hits in 11 innings for a 7.36 ERA this spring. He’ll be opposed by Nathan Eovaldi.

Félix Hernández, who felt discomfort in his right elbow on March 16th, continues to improve, according to manager Brandon Hyde. He is scheduled to throw a side session on Wednesday, and Hyde won’t rule out Hernández coming north with the team to start the season.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate him every day,” Hyde said. “His elbow is feeling better every day. He’s going to get on the mound for a light side, and we’ll see how he feels.”

Keegan Akin will start on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Matt Harvey is scheduled to throw a side session on Wednesday.

The Orioles announced plans to build a new complex in the Dominican Republic. It’s expected to house more than 100 players, coaches and staff members. The complex they’re using has a capacity of about 60.

What happened? First baseman Trey Mancini and third baseman Maikel Franco each hit two-run home runs in a four-run third inning as the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday.

It was Mancini’s second home run this spring, and Franco’s first. It was Franco’s second game since signing with the Orioles on March 16th.

“I’m seeing the ball really well,” Franco said. “It’s about getting the timing and getting the rhythm. I think my timing and rhythm is there.”


Franco played six innings and had only one ground ball at third. “Everything is going well for me,” he said.

Franco is confident he’ll be ready for the April 1st opener. “No question, man,” he said.

Franco will get five or six at-bats in an intrasquad game on Wednesday, and he’ll be in the lineup on Thursday night.

“He hasn’t done any back-to-backs, and we’ll continue to play him and make a decision about him as we get closer,” Hyde said.

César Valdez allowed a run on three hits in three innings in his first spring start.

“I think I went from not having my best stuff in the very first inning,” Valdez said through a translator. “But as innings went on, I think I was able to make the proper adjustments.”

Valdez says he doesn’t care how he’s used. “I’m comfortable putting him in any role,” Hyde said.

Minor league right-hander Conner Greene pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three. Travis Lakins pitched two spotless innings, striking out three.

What’s up with? Adley Rutschman started at catcher and had a double in three at-bats. Hyde said he would try to play him more often in the final days of exhibition games.

Valdez enjoyed throwing to him.

“I have a really good impression of him,” Valdez said. “He called a really good game. When I was in the bullpen, and I was warming up, we made a plan, and we followed the plan, so I just have the best impression of him.”

What’s the word? “Everyone has seen the importance of baseball coming out of Latin America, all the stars coming out of Latin America and also this kicked off 20, 30 years ago, the complex system down there really getting going in earnest. It’s around the time where buildings are coming of age for new projects. We’re excited to be joining with this run of new complexes. I think it’s going to be one of the best.”-Elias on the Orioles’ planned complex in the Dominican Republic.

What’s what? Hyde isn’t worried about designating a closer.

“I have no idea at this point,” he said. “I think in a normal situation, I’m going to be giving guys opportunity to pitch the back end of our guys, just because we don’t have established closers. We’ve had guys that have had little tastes of it the last couple of years. Nobody has saved a bunch of games in the big leagues or pitched in high-leverage spots.”

Tanner Scott seems like the best bet to get many of the  chances. Last year, Cole Sulser began the season as the closer, but was erratic. Valdez was effective late in the season in that role. Hunter Harvey, who’s on the 60-day injured list because of a strained left oblique, could get a shot at closing when he’s healthy.

“All these guys are going to get opportunities to pitch at the end of games. I’ll probably just go with the hot hand and go with matchups,” Hyde said.

What’s the number? 10. Anthony Santander walked, his 10th in 39 plate appearances. He has nine hits. Santander’s on-base percentage is .487.

What’s the record? 8-13-1. The Orioles play the Boston Red Sox at 6:05 p.m. on Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan and the Orioles Radio Network. Boston’s telecast will be available on MLB.TV.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Orial

    March 24, 2021 at 8:17 am

    Wow Franco hit the floor running. Are we looking at a sneaky good move by getting him? Is Kremer a guarantee to make the opening day roster,can he get thru 3 innings tonight unscathed? Pitching staff is still a crap-shoot. Santander’s walks a good sign–plate discipline. Hope it rubs off. Severino finally figure it out yet? He’s playing very “confused”. Closer by committee.–I think we all expected that. Lastly–King Felix is a nice story but–“if you ain’t got it you ain’t got it”

  2. Bhoffman1

    March 24, 2021 at 8:52 am

    King Felix will get bombed especially by the Yankees. I can see Judge hitting monstrous moon shots off his 85 MPH fastball. If Elias had B’s Adley would be our starting catcher now not later. Franco can get back to his productive years again the way he hung in and slammed that homer was beautiful to watch. He’s not old but he will be traded because of all that rebuilding crap

    • Icterus fan

      March 24, 2021 at 9:41 am

      How exciting to actually watch a game finally.
      I liked Valdez and his edge maybe because he is NOT a fire baller. Moyer-like movement on those pitches. Around the plate, strike one, different arm slots. If he gets the ball up, beware!
      Rutschman is a relational guy; chatting with his pitchers, encouraging them. Sweet looping swing, too. He’s smooth behind the plate, but please no more awkward slides into home!
      We seem to have a lot of hackers at the plate. Love to see some discipline and take some first pitches.
      Gonna be an interesting year.

    • jaygotcha

      March 24, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Contending teams do not want players like Franco. He doesn’t get on base and can’t play defense so he will not be traded. The O’s tried trading Nunez, a similar player to Franco but no team wanted to trade for him. With that said, Franco is indeed an upgrade to Ruiz

  3. willmiranda

    March 24, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Hyde is very realistic in talking about guys “to pitch at the end of games” rather than closers. Too bad opponents are avoiding pitching to Santander. Good for his plate discipline, but not so good for his hitting the ball, and not so much fun for the fans. It looks as if Rutschman is the best catcher in camp, but GM’s don’t get called geniuses for doing the obvious.

  4. BrooksPJs

    March 24, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Rutschman has had 18 PAs this spring against slightly less quality pitchers than Sisco & Severino (per Baseball Reference). In 2019, Rutschman struggled at A Delmarva with an OPS of 0.594. He most likely will start this season at AA. If is he ready for the MLB level, he can prove it at the AA and AAA levels early this season and get a deserved call up later this season.

    • Bhoffman1

      March 24, 2021 at 12:55 pm

      Mr stats no disrespect but he looks much better at the plate then Sisco or Severino this spring and he’s facing the same pitchers. As for the Jaygotta I know nothing about Franco’s defense but our SS who played along side him said he has a cannon arm and if he hits like yesterday a contender will want him

      • BrooksPJs

        March 24, 2021 at 6:47 pm

        Ummm no he’s not facing the same pitchers lol…
        Not sure what the 2nd sentence about Jaygotta is about…

    • CalsPals

      March 24, 2021 at 4:35 pm

      Adley definitely passes the eye test over those guys, quick question, no limits on the timing of bringing him up, who would most people have catching? Hmmm, don’t think it’s that difficult a decision…go O’s…

      • BrooksPJs

        March 24, 2021 at 6:49 pm

        CP BH – exactly how many games have been televised this spring.
        Hmmm, I am going with give Rutschman sometime in AA and AAA to show he is ready. 0.594 OPS in Single A isn’t exactly forcing his way onto the major league roster IMO.

  5. dlgruber1

    March 24, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    I applauded the signings of Hernandez and Harvey if for no other reason than their ability to hopefully mentor all the O’s young pitchers. Well, maybe that will happen but what I didn’t realize is the pitchers have had a teammate all along they should try to emulate. Every pitcher in camp should be made to watch Cesar Valdez pitch. He just pounds the strike zone. I don’t know how many pitches he threw in his 3 innings but I’m guessing it wasn’t much more than 30 and I’m also guessing 75% of them were strikes. In the first inning his pitches were a little up and he paid for it. After that he was unhittable for the next 2 innings. He didn’t walk anyone. Hell, I don’t think he went to a ball 3 count on anyone. He had 3 K’s and I’m sure all 3 of this guys have no idea how. It was a masterful performance and it’s not like it’s the first time he’s done it. Kudos to Elias for finding him and giving him an opportunity. Like Jamie Moyer, I could see him pitching into his mid 40’s.

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