Urias, Diaz homer in Orioles' 3-2 loss to Red Sox; Bullpen delivers; Pérez makes pitch for role - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Urias, Diaz homer in Orioles’ 3-2 loss to Red Sox; Bullpen delivers; Pérez makes pitch for role

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

FORT MYERS, Florida-What’s happening? Keegan Akin will get his first start of the spring against the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. on Monday at Ed Smith Stadium. Tyler Wells, Grayson Rodriguez, Bryan Baker, Joey Krehbiel and Cole Sulser are scheduled to pitch after Akin.

Chi González is scheduled to pitch for Minnesota followed by Caleb Thielbar, Trevor Megill, Ian Hamilton, Chris Vallimont and Drew Strotman.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said that he expects catcher Robinson Chirinos, who signed on March 14th, and second baseman Rougned Odor to get their first starts. The game will not be on television or radio.

Hyde said he’ll be working in Oriole starters this week. The first three games were started by Spenser Watkins, Ryan Hartman and Denyi Reyes.

“You’ll start seeing some of the guys we gave opportunities to the last couple of years,” Hyde said. “Those guys will be in games whether either starting or coming in in bulk [relief] after a starter.”

The Orioles have been in camp for only a week and have played three Grapefruit League games.

“Right now, is when you start to, in a normal spring with a couple of weeks to go, is when you’re trying to get your regulars caught up in any at-bats they might have missed,” Hyde said. “Forming your team. This spring, we haven’t made a cut, yet. Still have a full camp. Some guys haven’t even played it in games yet.”

On Saturday, Hyde played starters Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle and Cedric Mullins.

“I’ve been really happy with our at-bats [on Friday and Saturday],” Hyde said. “We’ve faced some really good pitching. Our swing decisions have been really good. I think the work that we’re doing, that our hitting guys are doing, and the work that’s gone on in the cage, is paying off.

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“Are they ready to play every day in the major leagues right now? No, the answer to that is no. I don’t think some of these guys are ready to play back-to-back games. I need to get guys in soon to really get them game ready. I’m hoping that in the next seven days I can continue to build these guys and for the last 10 days, that the regulars can play quite a bit to get them game shape when we leave for Tampa.”

What’s happened?—Ramón Urias and Yusniel Diaz homered in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox before 7,910 at JetBlue Park on Sunday.

Diaz hit a blast to center. Urías’ home run came in his first at-bat.

“It feels nice to come in the first day and offseason works shows up right away, it feels good,” Urías said.

After Freddy Galvis was injured and then traded, Urías seized the shortstop job and hit .279 with seven home runs, 38 RBIs and a .774 OPS.

Urías appears to be he favorite for the shortstop job. Jorge Mateo and non-roster infielder Chris Owings are challengers.

“Competition is always good. It makes you better,” Urías said. “It makes you work harder. I want that job, but I just have to stay focused on the game and do what I can do.”

Hyde was pleased with what he saw from Urías.

“He got three at-bats, played five innings in the field, came out of the game feeling good,” Hyde said. “I’ll give him the day off [Monday] and then get him back out there. Good work from him today, and nice to see him square up a fastball and hit the ball out the other way.”

Anthony Santander was hitless in three at-bats in his first game.

“I know he’s excited to be out there,” Hyde said. “He’s been itching to play the last couple of days. Got him three at-bats, feels good after the game. It’s nice to him and Urías out there.”

Denyi Reyes, in camp on a minor league contract, allowed three runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings in a start against the team with which he originally signed.

“It’s funny. I was here with the Boston Red Sox for seven years, and they gave me the opportunity to play the sport that I love,” Reyes said. “It’s good to come back here.”

Boston, which reached an agreement on a six-year contract with shortstop Trevor Story on Sunday, had many of their regulars — Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Bobby Dalbec, J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo — in the lineup, but it didn’t unnerve him.

“No, I’m not nervous,” Reyes said. “I was with the big league camp here in 2019 and 2020, so I know Bogaerts, I know J.D. Martinez. They know me, too. It’s just a sport, so we play really good and friendly.”

Paul Fry, Dillon Tate, Cionel Pérez and non-roster pitchers Marcos Diplán and Ofelky Peralta each threw scoreless innings.

“[Fry] gave up a couple of soft singles to start and really came back and threw a ton of strikes after that,” Hyde said. “He did a nice job getting out of the inning. Dillon Tate, good stuff, faced the meat of their order, a ton of guys he might be seeing in the season. He threw the ball well, just giving up a single.”

What’s up with Cionel Pérez? The 25-year-old left-hander, who was claimed on waivers from Cincinnati last November, allowed a hit and struck out a batter in his first game.

“Pérez has got an electric arm,” Hyde said. “I knew that going on. It’s a mid-90s fastball. He threw the ball well.”

The Orioles have veteran left-handed relievers Fry and Tanner Scott, and Hyde won’t rule out keeping a third lefty.

“It’s a competition right now,” Hyde said. “Our bullpen’s a competition. Our rotation’s a competition. I want to believe guys are going out to fight for jobs right now.”

Pérez, a Cuban native, has been in the United States for five years and is learning English.

“It’s hard,” he said through a translator. “New language. Obviously, it’s a new culture, and there’s a lot of things in Cuba where it’s really difficult. Just being in this country means a lot because I know there’s a lot of opportunities in this country to be had.”

Pérez, who lives in Tampa, returned to Cuba in 2018 to visit his grandparents; his wife and children are in the U.S.

What’s what? It’s disappointing that the Orioles are the only major league team that is not sending either its radio or television broadcasters on the road. The guess here is that the team will change its mind by May.

What’s the word? “I knew it was going to be challenging, and it is. We’re going to try to take as good a look as we can [at] everybody we feel like has a chance here these last couple of weeks.”-Hyde on the effects of a shortened spring training.

What’s the number? 86. Game-time temperature at JetBlue Park. It may be late June or July until there’s a game-time temperature that high in Baltimore. 

What’s the record? 0-2-1. The Orioles will play the Minnesota Twins on Monday at 1:05 p.m. in Sarasota.

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