Trade for Plutko reflects Orioles' goal to add pitching depth; 2nd base up for grabs; Means tires after getting vaccine -

Spring Training

Trade for Plutko reflects Orioles’ goal to add pitching depth; 2nd base up for grabs; Means tires after getting vaccine

What’s happening? –Matt Harvey, who manager Brandon Hyde has named to start the Orioles’ second game of the season on April 3rd, will pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.

Harvey, who was added to the 40-man roster on Thursday, has a 5.40 ERA in three spring starts. He’ll be opposed by Mitch Keller.

“He’s been a super pro in camp,” Hyde said. “He’s improved every outing. He feels great physically. I know that he’s excited to be here and feels like he has a lot to prove.”

Hyde will reveal his other starters in the near future, he said.

On Saturday, the Orioles revealed their plan to add experienced pitchers to protect their young arms when they acquired right-handed pitcher Adam Plutko from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations. “We want to put ourselves in a position to protect our young starters and not overtax our bullpen and our young relievers,” Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said.

To make room for Plutko on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated second baseman Yolmer Sánchez for assignment. Sánchez, a former Gold Glove winner who was expected to be the Orioles’ starting second baseman, was scratched from Saturday’s lineup against the Atlanta Braves and replaced by Ramón Urias.

Elias said Plutko, 29, could be used in long relief and as a starting pitcher. In 2019, Plutko pitched 109 1/3 innings, going 7-5 with a 4.86 ERA in 21 games, including 20 starts. In the 60-game 2020 season, he pitched primarily out of the bullpen, going 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 10 games, including four starts.

“We’re going to need a lot of innings from a lot of different pitchers,” Elias said. “Always been an admirer of [Plutko] — smooth delivery, mix of pitches, good competitor, somebody that we’re going to put into our mix … He’ll probably start in the bullpen for us, but we think that he can help provide support for this pitching staff, and he’s also somebody that has the opportunity to blossom.”

Elias said that Urias and Pat Valaika are the leading contenders to play second base. “That does not preclude us from looking outside as well,” Elias said. “We’re more than comfortable with either of those guys.”


Rule 5 picks Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, both right-handed pitchers, remain with the team with just two Grapefruit League games left. “They’re still a consideration, still being evaluated and both of them may break with the team as well,” Elias said.

The last three days have been full of unexpected moves. The next several may be as well.

“We’re still working on this roster and seeing where this team is going to head as we get towards Opening Day,” Elias said.

Outfielder Anthony Santander didn’t play for the fourth straight day. He has a sore side, Hyde said. Santander could return to the lineup on Sunday or Monday, according to Hyde.

What happened? John Means allowed four runs in the fourth inning and gave up five in 3 2/3 innings as the Orioles lost to the Atlanta Braves, 8-5, at CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida.

Means gave up four hits, walked two and struck out three in his final start before he opens the season against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday at Fenway Park. Means’ spring ERA is 7.11.

“I had gotten the vaccine today, and I just got a little tired there in the last inning, the long inning,” Means said. “I’ve just got to get through the symptoms, and I’ll be good to go. Other than that, I felt good. I felt like my stuff was pretty crisp. I liked my curveball today more than I had all spring.”

Elias said that the Orioles have received supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine and hopes to have all members of the organization vaccinated.

Because of the Covid-19 safety and health protocols, players aren’t allowed at games where they’re not going to play.

“I haven’t seen a lot of guys pitch,” Means said. “Once the season gets going, I’ll get more of an idea. Obviously, the guys that have been here, I’ve seen and know what they have. I’ve seen enough on the broadcasts. We haven’t broadcast every game, so it’s tough, but I try to watch as much as I can, and I think we’ve got a pretty good squad.”

Travis Lakins allowed two runs in the fifth inning. Tyler Nevin hit a three-run home run in the eighth.

What’s up with? Chris Davis was placed on the 60-day injured list on Friday. He has a lower-back strain and batted just twice, in the first Grapefruit League game, on February 28th.

“He’s been with our medical staff and seen doctors regarding his back, and continuing to do so,” Hyde said. “Hoping for a speedy recovery. I talked to him just a few days ago, and he really wants to rehab this and get to feeling good again—bottom line.

“Anybody that gets hurt, I feel bad for him. His first game, he felt a tweak coming out of the batter’s box, and hoping for the best.”

What’s the word? “It’s going to be all hands on deck. We’re going to have guys who are on the 40-man roster now. Every one of them is going to get pitching action. There are players who are not on the 40-man roster now, but are in the organization. I guarantee they’re going to come up and pitch when they’re called on. We saw guys in the game tonight that are on minor league deals that I fully expect to contribute at various points this year.”-Elias on the importance of collecting pitchers.

What’s what? Elias acknowledged he’s trying to acquire pitchers who can help the team navigate a full season after last season’s pandemic-shortened schedule and a shutdown of the minor leagues.

“We have considerations about our young pitchers,” Elias said. “Some of these guys are unproven. They may not perform. Their pitch counts may run up early. Others may be pitching well but need spells during the year to keep their innings’ totals down.

“We’re going into a long, unknown season.”

What’s the number? 14. Elias said the Orioles could begin the season with 14 pitchers. That would mean just three bench players.

“I think it’s possible with some of the flexibility that our position players have in the infield that we could break to start the season with 14 pitchers. It’s something we’ve been discussing,” he said.

What’s the record? 10-15-1. The Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates 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 28, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Sighhhhhhhh….go O’s…

  2. CalsPals

    March 28, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Out of 30 MLB Opening Day starters, Means ranked 28th, Gausman & Bundy both ranked ahead of him, I’m sure this was done before they traded for Plutko…lol…go O’s…

  3. Orial

    March 28, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Plutko can now be one of a multitude of names thrown into a hat to blindly be picked from. One saving grace(I guess) is that he comes from Cleveland–a factory of quality pitching. Now the “sore spot”–Yolmer Sanchez. A few months ago we had a defensive wiz at SS(Iglesias) and a Gold Glover at 2B(Sanchez),the young pitchers finally had some help. Good defense—finally a good sign. THEN. Iglesias gets shipped out–uh oh(young pitchers start to worry) NOW the Gold Glover gets cut(it’s panic-young pitchers are gonna have to now get “4 outs”). What the hell is going on? Unless Elias has a grand scheme(Jones,sign Dee Gordon)up his sleeve this is once again the proverbial step backwards.

  4. jimcarter

    March 28, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Thanks John Means for making me feel like a real stud. I got my vaccines at 8:30 a.m. and put in an 8 hour work day on both occasions, on my feet the majority of the time. Aside from arm pain 14 hours later, I felt nothing.

    • CalsPals

      March 28, 2021 at 9:16 am

      Ditto…:)….go O’s…

    • BrooksPJs

      March 28, 2021 at 9:42 am

      Kind of cheap shot but decent self-promotion jimc…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 28, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Hopefully he got his shot in is glove arm.

  5. Rob IsraOsFan

    March 28, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Why pitch Means on the same day he received his vaccine shot? Makes no sense at all and he should have been given the day off! No doubt the leftie took the needle in his right shoulder, but unless Means has super powers, that shoulder is gonna be pretty sore for the first 24 hours.

    • ClayDal

      March 28, 2021 at 8:27 am

      Probably to keep him on schedule. He gets his usual 4 days rest so he can pitch on Opening Day. . Needed to get his work in

  6. NormOs

    March 28, 2021 at 9:59 am

    You know me guys, I hate to complain, but Plutko?? The O’s will have to average 6/7 runs per game with him pitching. Another one of Genius1’s massive deals along with LeBlanc who the O’s have fired probably 5 times but keeps showing up, probably because he can’t find another job and you know Genius1 and pitching, they go hand and glove. It seems we can always find a spot for a starter with a 5.00+ ERA. As the head Bird says “Cheep, Cheep, Cheep”. Does anyone have any idea when the REBUILD starts?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

      I’m with you Norm… I too hate to complain.

    • ClayDal

      March 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

      Why did they trade for Plutko? Short answer-to cover innings. With a shortened season last year and no minor leagues, the young pitchers didn’t get to ramp up their innings like they would have liked. So rather than have the Dean Kremer’s and Bruce Zimmerman’s blow out their arms by July, they bring in guys like Plutko so the young guys can pace themselves. That’s why LeBlanc and Harvey are here. That’s why they keep guys like Eric Hanhold and Thomas Eshelman around. It’s to help with the development of the young pitchers so they don’t overextend themselves

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 28, 2021 at 12:33 pm

        I’m with you on this one Clay. I’m tired of reading “Tommy John” on every young pitchers resume. I’m all for taking our time on promoting the pitchers.

      • NormOs

        March 28, 2021 at 1:38 pm

        Really good points……..Thanks

    • CalsPals

      March 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      So plutko can blow out his arm, ahhh, got it…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      March 28, 2021 at 12:12 pm

      Plutko is a veteran. He can better pace himself than a younger pitcher. He’s just a placeholder. Develop the younger guys slowly so they can pitch more next year and beyond

  7. Phil770

    March 28, 2021 at 10:42 am

    NormOs, the rebuild has started, and restarted…which is the problem. Many career fast risers, like Elias, underestimate the complexity of the problems to be solved and overestimate their ability to solve them. Not a good combination for quality results. This decision is pretty disingenuous and undermines the credibility of the entire organization. The arms in camp are at least as good as Plutko. Sanchez was brought in for defense, to help pitchers. An unneeded arm added and defense subtracted. This does not pass the smell test.

  8. Bman

    March 28, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Never liked the Sanchez signing. Looks like they’re going to try Ruiz at 2B. For some reason they refuse to just let him go. More moving parts

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      March 28, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      I’d rather they try Sisco there as has been suggested by some on this site.

  9. Behemoth

    March 28, 2021 at 11:47 am

    I suspect this means the organization considers Jones to be nearly major league ready, and will take over second base by the all star break. Yolmer would have been surplus to requirements at that point, so they may as well go with the utility guys they think will remain part of the team’s needs in the meantime.

  10. B.C. Bird

    March 28, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    This team is starting to remind me of fake news
    Keep the faith

    • Icterus fan

      March 28, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      This huge puzzle does seem quite confusing at times. These rule 5, clear waivers, call up, re-tread, scrap heap stop gap measures are just biding time and filling innings. I understand that we wont attract any decent free agent players until we are competitive……and no one knows when that will be besides “in the future”.
      So in the meantime we realistically endure another season fielding a team that should hustle and play with heart, but won’t possibly be statistically competitive. As long as we are trending in the right direction, Im fine with that. What choice do I have as a fan?
      I don’t know enough of the business of baseball to be bashing Elias all the time – just make improvements and we will hopefully realize some incremental changes. There seems to be a lot of positive things afoot- I mean at least nominally there is a plan of some sort.
      This year should be quite telling, and the next week in particular.
      Go O’s (isn’t that what we’re supposed to say?)

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        March 28, 2021 at 4:56 pm

        Well you’re welcome to bash Elias at least a little bit. 🙂

        And yes … Go O’s!

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