SARASOTA—What’s happening? The Orioles play a Minnesota Twins split-squad in the Grapefruit League opener at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday at 1:05 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on WBAL/98 Rock with Brett Hollander and Steve Melewski.
Rookie left-hander Drew Rom will start for the Orioles. Louie Varland, who was 1-2 with a 3.81 ERA in five starts last year, will start for the Twins. Former Orioles catcher Chance Sisco is listed as the Twins’ designated hitter.
Manager Brandon Hyde said that Adam Frazier, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander will start. Adley Rutschman will be the designated hitter. Rookies Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad and Coby Mayo will see action as well.
“I think we’re ready,” Hyde said. “Guys are itching to get out there. We’ve had a lot of guys who’ve been here quite a while.”
Frazier said he doesn’t think it will take long for players to get used to the new rules. There will be a 15-second pitch clock, 20 seconds with runners on base. Batters must be ready to hit within eight seconds. Pitchers are limited to two unsuccessful pickoff attempts, and the shift is banned; two players must play on each side of second base and can’t be positioned on the outfield grass. Also, the bases are a little larger, both for safety reasons and to encourage attempted steals.
“A few weeks, probably, just like anything,” Frazier said. “Repetition and experience of being in it, you’re going to figure it out at some point, a couple of weeks, a month.”
Dean Kremer will start on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. That will allow Kremer to start twice before he leaves to play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic next month.
What happened? The Orioles finished eight days of workouts. Friday featured meetings to review the new rules, and Cole Irvin and Austin Voth both threw batting practice in the stadium.
Longtime Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick arrived for his stint as a guest instructor.
What’s up with? César Prieto is in his first major league camp. A year ago, the 23-year-old Cuban defector was new to the United States. He hit .273 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 115 games with High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie.
“It’s been really exciting being able to compete with these guys who play at the major league level. I think it’s been a great opportunity for me, and it’s been great so far,” Prieto said though a translator.
Prieto said important lessons have been learned so far.
“I’d say it’s the discipline and how all of these guys have routines and how important it is to them,” Prieto said. “Seeing how they go about their business in that way has been really impressive and really important to see.”
Prieto and his wife live in Bradenton. He said he’s been gradually adjusting to life in the United States.
“You go adapting day-by-day over time. It does get a little bit better and you start getting a little bit more comfortable,” he said.
What’s what: The Orioles removed The Sun’s name from its scoreboard on Thursday. The “H” in The was displayed for a hit and the “E” for an error on close defensive plays.
In the early years of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, fans often remarked about it, and now the team will look for new advertisers to replace The Sun.
The sign for “Dempsey’s Brew Pub” also has been removed from the Warehouse.
What’s the word? “I think tomorrow is going to be little bit of a learning curve for everyone. I don’t think it’s going to be too bad.” pitcher Cole Irvin on the new rules, which will be implemented beginning with Saturday’s game.
What’s the number? $55.3 million. According to the Orioles, the team has accounted for $55.3 million in economic benefits to Florida for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. That number was affected by the last year’s lockout.
The team says they accounted for $45.6 million in benefits to Sarasota County. Since 2015, the team says they’ve accounted for more than $600 million in economic impact.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB