SARASOTA —What’s happening? Grayson Rodriguez makes his first Grapefruit League start against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Matthew Boyd starts for the Tigers.
“I haven’t seen Grayson pitch that much,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Just the couple innings here last year, some [simulated] games here. I’m really looking forward to watching him compete in this camp. A lot of our minor league guys that have seen him think that he’s really grown and improved. I’m looking forward to watching his stuff. Haven’t seen a ton of him and so it’s going to be fun watching him this month.”
Hyde said that Cedric Mullins will play on Friday night and Sunday at Tropicana Field before he leaves for the World Baseball Classic on Monday. Mullins will play for Team USA, which is based in Phoenix.
Anthony Santander plays Friday night, Sunday and Monday before he leaves to join Team Venezuela in Miami.
Dean Kremer will throw two innings following Kyle Gibson on Friday night. Kremer leaves on Monday for Team Israel, based in Miami.
What happened? The Orioles were no-hit for 8 1/3 innings before Lewin Díaz singled in a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 4,302 at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday.
Diaz, who moved to second a single by Daz Cameron, scored on a single by Heston Kjerstad.
“I was pleased with how we pitched, pitched much better today in the strike zone,” Hyde said. “I thought we did a good job on the mound. It was nice to see more strikes being thrown in the last few days. Just didn’t get anything going offensively. Give those guys credit. They threw the ball well. Not much offense.”
The loss was the Orioles’ third straight.
Cole Irvin started and threw two scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk, striking out one.
“Made some bad pitches, made some good pitches,” Irvin said. “Probably didn’t reflect the bad pitches. First spring training start, not into it too much, think of the positives. Threw some good sliders, threw some good curveballs that we’ve been working on, so can’t complain there and keep marching forward and next start will be three innings—hopefully.”
Irvin, who was acquired from Oakland in a trade on January 28th, tries not to be overly confident about starting the season with the Orioles even though it’s highly likely he will.
“I’m just going to keep my head down and work on what I need to work on and let the spring training results take care of themselves,” Irvin said.
“When we get to season, that’s when the results matter. It’s all about winning as a team. Right now, my job is to get outs and be ready for the season, whether that’s with the big club, and I still have an option left, and I know that.
“I’m very much aware of the talent that we have on the roster, too. We’ve got some guys on the shelf, too. There’s a lot of guys that we have that can be in the rotation. My job is definitely not set over the course of the year.”
Austin Voth allowed a run on three hits in two innings. He’s one of many starting rotation candidates.
“We’re all very talented, and there’s a lot of us,” Voth said. “Who’s ever going to be in the rotation, they’re going to help us out a lot . I think we’ve got a decent amount of starters…It’s going to be fun to see who ends up in the rotation and how the bullpen winds up.”
Hyde knows Voth provides the Orioles with versatility.
“He did a great job out of the rotation last year that second half, so we see him as a starter candidate right now and we’re going to build him as a starter, but he has been in the bullpen in the past,” Hyde said. “There is that option. He is so valuable because he can do several different things. Right now, we’re really going to look at him as a starter and then kind of see where we are roster-wise at the end of camp.”
Voth has prior bullpen experience, and that’s helpful.
“It’s something you think about and talk about. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed at the end of camp and make those decisions then. Right now, you want to build up as many starter candidates as possible because we still have a month to go, and then we’ll figure it out.”
Keegan Akin, Cionel Pérez, Logan Gillaspie and Cole Uvila each threw scoreless innings. Non-roster reliever Kyle Dowdy allowed a run in the eighth.
The game was played in two hours, 20 minutes.
What’s up with? Ofreidy Gómez attracted lots of attention for pitching the unscheduled bottom of the ninth at Bradenton on Tuesday. Gomez is a minor league free agent who signed with the Orioles last December. Last season, Gómez was 1-3 with a 5.19 ERA in 38 games for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“Interesting, something different,” Gómez said about the inning without umpires. He thought: “No umpire here, make it as quick as possible.”
What’s what? It was great to see Adam Jones at the Orioles’ complex for the first time since 2018. Jones was in Sarasota to speak with the Orioles as part of his work with the Baseball Assistance Team, which helps former players in financial need.
What’s the word? “There’s a lot of talent here. My job is never going to be secure. I think the only secure job is really [Kyle Gibson’s], and he’s the vet, and he deserves it. For me, I’m still kind of earning my way in the major leagues. I’ve got to earn the respect of my teammates and earn the respect of the guys who were here before me.” –Irvin on whether he feels he’s competing for a job.
What’s the number? 50. The dean of Baltimore baseball writers, Jim Henneman arrived for his 50th spring training. Henneman who is 87, is in his eighth decade of covering baseball and has witnessed more Orioles games than anyone else.
What’s the record? 2-3. The Orioles play the Detroit Tigers at Lakeland at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB