SARASOTA-What’s happening?—Manager Brandon Hyde is a long way from naming his starter for the Orioles’ opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on March 30th. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kyle Gibson gets the assignment.
Gibson, who threw on Tuesday, impressed Hyde, who watched the 35-year-old right-hander throw batting practice to some front-line Orioles from behind home plate in Ed Smith Stadium.
“He looked really good. I talked to him this morning, and he feels really good after his outing, and that’s the most important thing,” Hyde said. “He was pretty sharp. He’s getting used to the clock. We have the pitch clock out there.
“We want guys to understand the tempo of the new rules. I thought he looked really good, and I’m happy with how all our guys threw.”
Gibson is the oldest player in camp, and Hyde likes his experience.
“He’s been fantastic,” Hyde said. “We knew ahead of time what a great clubhouse presence he’s been over the course of his career and his experience in pitching in the postseason with a World Series club is really cool. We have a lot of young starters, young pitchers in camp and to have somebody with that kind of experience, maturity, it’s really going to be beneficial.”
Hyde hasn’t announced his starter for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against Minnesota. Dean Kremer, who will leave camp in early March to play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, will pitch in an early game, and the other starting pitching candidates are set to throw in the third or fourth game of the spring.
Cedric Mullins (Team USA) and Anthony Santander (Team Venezuela) have taken the most at-bats this week because they need to be ready to play in the WBC.
“We’re trying to get them [up to] game speed as quickly as we possibly can,” Hyde said. “Ced looks confident right now. He looks good at the plate. He’s going to take as many at-bats as possible against left-handed pitchers and right now, he’s swinging the bat well.”
This is the first time that Hyde has managed the Orioles in a WBC year, and he’s not sure if pitchers or hitters will get ready too soon.
“You’re always concerned that guys are going to play with this level of intensity this early,” Hyde said. “I don’t know who’s going to be ahead of who. It’s a cool experience for them, and I just want to get them ready.”
What happened? Some of the Orioles took batting practice again in Ed Smith Stadium. Tyler Wells, Grayson Rodriguez, Spenser Watkins, Cionel Pérez, Keegan Akin and Logan Gillaspie were the pitchers.
Hyde said that there are no new injuries to report.
The Orioles have added Brian Roberts (February 27th-March 3rd) and Eddie Murray (March 8th-13th) as guest instructors.
What’s up with? Eduard Bazardo signed with the Orioles as a minor league free agent on December 19th, 2022. A 27-year-old right-handed reliever, Bazardo was 1-0 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 games for Boston last season.
He knows it will be difficult to make the team.
“We have to work doubly [hard] because everybody’s got the talent,” Bazardo said. “You need to compete with everybody here.”
Bazardo allowed a run on two hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles last year.
“When they started the season, everybody didn’t think about the Orioles,” Bazardo said. “They played hard last year. They were a really good team. They were really close to making the playoffs.”
What’s what? The Babe Ruth Museum will hold its annual Babe’s Birthday Bash on Saturday at 216 Emory Street, just a short distance from Oriole Park.
Admission to the museum will be free on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free birthday cake will be offered. Snacks, hot dogs, beer, wine and soda will be for sale and there will be programs at 1 and 2 p.m.
If you’ve never been to the museum, I’d recommend a visit.
What’s the word? “We’ve talked about what potentially we could do and other teams could possibly do as well. Right now, we haven’t come up with anything out of the box where we’re definitely going to try this in spring training. Maybe as we go along. We’ll obviously watch what other teams are doing, too for ideas, possibly. Right now, we’re going to be uniform in how we go about things, but things could change.”-Hyde on if the Orioles are planning any innovations in response to the new rules.
What’s the number? 6. The Orioles have six night games scheduled, all at 6:05 p.m. Five of them are at home (March 3rd-Pittsburgh, March 10th-Minnesota), March 16th (Toronto), March 23rd (Detroit) and March 24th (Yankees). They’ll play Pittsburgh at Bradenton on March 25th.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB