BRADENTON, Florida —What’s happening? Cole Irvin makes his first spring start against the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. He’ll be opposed by Yusei Kukuchi.
Grayson Rodriguez makes his first start on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland. He’ll face Matthew Boyd and Kyle Gibson starts Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez on Friday night.
Cionel Pérez is scheduled for his first appearance on Thursday.
What happened? Gunnar Henderson made two excellent plays at third base and singled in his first at-bat of spring training in the Orioles’ 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates before 3,500 at LECOM Park on Tuesday.
Henderson singled to center and struck out in four innings. He had been held out for a few days because of a sore right wrist. While he may be behind at bat, he was sharp in the field.
“Always want to leave the field dirty. It makes you did something,” Henderson said. “It was pretty fun getting back out there and it was really awesome being able to spend it with those guys.”
Henderson said he took too many swings early in camp contributed to his injury.
“Coming from the offseason, I took a good amount of swings, but getting down here in the heat and your body wearing down a little bit, kept swinging a lot,” Henderson said. That wore it down a little bit, and it got a little sore. Wasn’t really worth keep doing that and going into the season not healthy. I’m over it now, and I’m ready to roll.”
The Orioles spring training clubhouse features players Henderson has played with in both the majors and minors.
“It’s a bunch of great guys, plain and simple,” he said. “We’re all really fierce competitors, but we all love each other and we all want to see the best out of each and every person here so we all try to do whatever we can to help, and that’s ultimately going to win us a championship someday.”
Kyle Bradish pitched two perfect innings, throwing 27 pitches, striking out two.
“Got to work every pitch,” Bradish said. “Threw a lot of good sliders, a lot of good sinkers. Had a really good curveball, too.”
“Any time you go out there and you have five weapons that are working, it makes pitching easier. It is so early. There’s still stuff to work on. I’m not going to read too much into this, but it’s nice to have success early.”
Bradish knows that a rotation spot isn’t guaranteed.
“I got a little bit of it last year. I had a long shot of making the team,” Bradish said. “My mindset was coming in and trying to make a name for myself, put it into the coaches’ hands. I didn’t want to do anything to mess that up and the same thing this year. I’m going to do what I do, and then it’s up to them.”
This year, Bradish says he feels “a little more confident. I know what I need to do.”
Bryan Baker allowed three runs in the third inning in his first spring game. Mike Baumann allowed a run in two innings. Non-roster first baseman Franchy Cordero hit a two-run home run.
What’s up with? Maverick Handley was the Orioles’ sixth-round draft choice in 2019. The catcher played against Adley Rutschman in college and was a teammate of Kyle Stowers at Stanford.
Henderson and Joey Ortiz were also taken in that 2019 draft.
“II’s pretty crazy. I feel like every time we take a little break and get back, a lot of guys keep getting better. “Gunnar’s a prime example of that,” Handley said. “I’ve gotten to see his rise and who he’s turned into, and it’s like, every year, he’s come back, and like, ‘wow, he’s still getting better.’
“Cowser’s back and he’s looking better, Kjerstad, I’ve never seen him play before, and he’s impressed me. It’s been really impressive to see guys continue to improve. No one’s really stagnant.”
Henderson and Rutschman’s success in the major leagues hasn’t surprised him.
“Didn’t surprise me at all. Not even in the slightest. Those guys are really good players,” Handley said. “You can just tell they have tools. Both of them have the mindset to have success. I was not shocked in the slightest.
“It’s cool to the watch the big league game and follow the big league team because you know everybody. You know how guys are doing. You just tune in a little bit more.”
Last season, Handley hit .236 at Double-A Bowie with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs.
What’s what? The Orioles and Pirates played an unofficial bottom of the ninth so that Ofreidy Gomez, an Orioles’ non-roster reliever could get an inning of work. The umpires left after the official end of the game.
What’s the word? “It’s pretty fun every day, to be honest with you.”-Hyde on constructing lineups this spring.
What’s the number? 2:40. The Orioles played their fastest game of the spring.
What’s the record? 2-2. The Orioles play the Toronto Blue Jays in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m.