Hays hits home run, triple, double in 10-9 Orioles win; Akin struggles; Rule 5 picks making case - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Hays hits home run, triple, double in 10-9 Orioles win; Akin struggles; Rule 5 picks making case

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

What’s happening? –Jorge López will make his third start for the Orioles against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa at 6:35 p.m. on Friday. López has allowed 10 runs, six earned, in 14 2/3 innings. He’ll be opposed by Gerrit Cole.

Félix Hernández, who pitched one inning on March 16th because of discomfort in his right elbow, threw a bullpen session on Wednesday. Manager Brandon Hyde said it went well.

“He came out feeling good,” Hyde said. “He felt very positive about how it went. I thought he was relieved after, feeling that it can progress from there. All signs were positive.”

Hernández will play catch on Friday and be re-evaluated, Hyde said. “Not sure where we are with him being on the mound from a game standpoint right now,” he said.

Matt Harvey was added to the 40-man roster on Thursday. “Whenever you can give people good news in this business, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Hyde said. “He’s a guy who worked so hard and had a really good camp. He’s done everything right.”

The news wasn’t good for left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who requested and received his release. Hyde said he talked with LeBlanc on Wednesday, but he didn’t disclose what was said.

Harvey, Hernández and LeBlanc signed minor league contracts last month.

It looks as if the Orioles will keep one or both of their Rule 5 picks, Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells. “Maybe, it’s one less guy,” Hyde said. “They’re still in our camp and they’re competing for a job.”

Time is running out on outfielder DJ Stewart, who hasn’t played since March 5 because of a strained right hamstring. It seems seems likely he’ll begin the season on the 10-day injured list.

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“He’s progressing. He’s about 90 percent right now,” Hyde said. “He’s doing well. He’s doing all the stuff on the back field. He’s just not 100 percent and with a hamstring, you want to be 100 percent before you put him in live game action.”

What happened? Austin Hays continued his hot spring with a three-run home run, a triple, double and two outfield assists as the Orioles outlasted the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10-9, on Thursday night at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

Hays is batting .409 with a .1197 OPS this spring.

“I feel healthy,” Hays said. “I feel comfortable at the plate. I feel good at all three outfield spots right now. I’m comfortable on the bases. I just feel like I’m ready and firing on all cylinders and ready to get rolling.”

Hays enjoys collecting assists because they’re rarer than home runs.

“When I do throw someone out, I get more excited than when I hit a home run,” Hays said. “That’s one thing I love, to be able to throw out a runner, especially at the plate.”

Hyde is enjoying what he’s watching.

“He’s doing it all right now, offensively and defensively,” Hyde said. “I love the way he’s driving the ball to all fields. He’s an exciting player. I think there’s a huge upside to Austin’s game just because he’s so talented physically and we’ve got to keep him healthy. He’s got a chance to be a good player.”

Ryan Mountcastle had a three-run home run in a six-run second for the Orioles. Pedro Severino had two hits and two RBIs.

Starter Keegan Akin had a difficult night, allowing six runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. He allowed two walks and struck out three.

”I felt it was one of those days where, no matter what you threw and where you threw it, it got put in play,” Akin said. “You’re going to have those days. You’ve just got to battle through them and try to put yourself in the best possible position, even though you know it’s not really going the way you want it to go.”

His spring ERA is 10.00.

“I guess the positive I take away from it is I’m throwing strikes,” Akin said. “I’m not walking a bunch of guys. I’m not behind in the count as much. It’s a work in progress. It still needs to get better. It feels good.”

Akin hasn’t been guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation and wouldn’t say he deserves one.

“That’s a tough question,” he said. “I can only do so much to put myself in a good position. I feel like my last couple of outings, my back field outing the other day, went pretty well.

“I gave up some hits. I was ahead in the count. I was throwing strikes. I’m comfortable on the mound now … the first couple of outings, I felt uncomfortable, I was out of sync. This has been the main focus now to get that back and get it going.”

Aside from Means, who will start on Opening Day, Hyde hasn’t named his starters.

“He battled into the third inning,” Hyde said. “He was throwing strikes, just gave up some hits. I thought he had some bad luck in the first. I thought he had a strikeout that wasn’t called a strikeout. It was called a foul tip or something. It prolonged an inning, potentially would have put up a zero there in the first inning, kind of steamrolled from there.

“I feel like he is making strides. He’s throwing the ball better than he was early. Saw some decent changeups tonight. I think his work on the back fields has been really good and tonight it was some unfortunate luck.”

Sceroler helped his case with 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Akin. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out one.

What’s up with? Paul Fry had his first spotless outing of the spring, retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth. His spring training ERA is 11.88.

“I’d like for Paul to be a little more consistent against left-handed hitters,” Hyde said. “He has shown really good stuff this spring, like normal. I think he’s had a couple of spring training outings where he’s thrown a ton of strikes and gotten ambushed. That happens in spring training with good pitchers that are throwing strikes. I’d rather see that than walks.

“I want Paul to attack left-handed hitters and get them out within three pitches. He’s got such good stuff, such a good slider that if he can get ahead and stay ahead, he can get some bad swings.”

What’s the word? “Being super aggressive with all pitches that I have instead of feeling super confident with the fastball or the changeup, really letting everything rip and being super aggressive. That’s the next part. That’s the way I was when I was at my best.”-Matt Harvey on what he still needs to work on.

What’s what?  With LeBlanc out of the picture, it would be a surprise if at least one of the Rule 5 pitchers isn’t on the 26-man roster, and it’s possible both will make it.

What’s the number? .263, .785 That’s Adley Rutschman’s batting average and OPS this spring after he went 1-for-4 as the designated hitter. Rutschman is 5-for-19 this spring with an RBI.

What’s the record? 9-14-1. The Orioles play the New York Yankees in Tampa at 6:35 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 The Fan and the Orioles Radio Network.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Bman

    March 26, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Good to see Hays performing so well like we know he can. He’s a potential stud player. Just stay healthy! As far as Akin, I would slot him in relief in the bullpen. I think his stuff may play better in short stints. Put Lopez and Zimmerman in the rotation. That’s wild if both rule 5’s make it. I can see Wells for sure. Sceroler is making a case. May be dependent upon what happens with Felix. Excited to see if Harvey can relive the old glory.

  2. BrooksPJs

    March 26, 2021 at 8:24 am

    Severino, the dud that stinks, last 4 spring training games:
    14 AB, 4 R, 5 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SO, 0.357 AVG, 1.143 OPS.
    But admittedly he doesn’t look as good Rutschman in his Jockeys…

    • BarstoolSleeper

      March 26, 2021 at 9:00 am

      3 of his 5 hits and 3 of his 5 rbi were against the Pirates. The only team with a projected worse record than the Orioles. Don’t get me wrong, you play who’s on the schedule and I’m glad he’s seeing the ball, but these aren’t the pitchers he’s going to see in the East all year long. I hope for the Orioles sake that he has a good year, I’m not rooting for anyone on this team to fail. I’m also not calling for Adley to start in the majors. I’m in the camp that he needs to play in the minors to develop/condition. So if Sevy can get it going at the dish, it’s ultimately a good thing.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 26, 2021 at 10:39 am

      Hey, I’m no Severino fan, but when he’s hot, he’s hot. Let’s not remember that start to last season. Maybe he’s just getting warmed up, but the problem is, his cold spells are like nuclear winter long.

      As far as being a ‘dud’, I don’t know if I’d go that far. BUT … he was once one of those bright prospects in the Nats organization, but has never lived up to the billing. He’s certainly been more of a disappointment than not. There’s a reason the Nats let him go.

  3. Orial

    March 26, 2021 at 8:29 am

    First the bad news–#1 Akin–Norfolk has a rotation spot open for him. #2– LeBlanc would have fit right in the rotation(maybe the #2 starter behind Means). This is a bad REALLY bad rotation(I know a little too negative). Good news–Hays/Mullins/Mountcastle. That’s it folks. Btw is Scelolar really gonna make this team?

  4. TxBirdFan

    March 26, 2021 at 8:58 am

    It’s good to see the O’s put a lot of runs on the board. They’re going to need that often when the hurlers carry such high ERA’s. This rotation is going to be scary.

    • CalsPals

      March 26, 2021 at 8:41 am

      Will need to score runs like a Rec. League slow pitch softball team to stay on games…lol…go O’s…

  5. Birdman

    March 26, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Based on his comments about Akin, was Hyde watching a different game than the one we saw on MASN?

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 26, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Who’s been watching Rutschman? Does he LOOK like he’s NOT ready for the Bigs to you? Other than service time (which I abhor), I see no reason this kid shouldn’t be our starting catcher right now.

    As far as Paul Fry … he’s a keeper. I’m looking for big things from him.

    • CalsPals

      March 26, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      Agree, said that a couple days ago, was asked how many games I’ve seen him play, I know how many I’ve seen severino play, I’d take Rutschman in a second over him…no stats needed…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 26, 2021 at 1:53 pm

        I’ve only seen him play in 2.

  7. willmiranda

    March 26, 2021 at 11:26 am

    If not only one but both of the Rule 5 pitchers taken from other organizations make the team, it raises questions about the vaunted O’s farm system. These are not veteran stop-gap guys but players projected to be part of the future successful O’s. Are they really better than Zimmerman and our other high-ceiling prospects? Or are the O’s just trying to stockpile talent? And, of course, Hays needs a lot more seasoning.

  8. B.C. Bird

    March 26, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Brooks buddy I know you are after me for calling Severino a dud but I stand by my evaluation. Have you ever really watched him behind the plate, he is a disaster, as for his hitting a few good games do not a season make
    Keep the faith

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