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SARASOTA—What’s happening? The Orioles host the Atlanta Braves at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday. Tyler Wells gets his first start of the spring against Spencer Strider.
The game will be on WBAL/98 Rock with Geoff Arnold and Ben McDonald.
Mychal Givens, the only one of the Orioles healthy relievers who has yet to appear in a game will appear in a game in the middle of the next week.
No cuts from the 71-man camp roster have yet been discussed, but Dean Kremer and Darwinzon Hernandez, who both pitched Friday night, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander will be leaving for the World Baseball Classic.
Kremer (Team Israel) and Hernandez (Team Venezuela) will leave Monday. Santander, who will play on Sunday and Monday will also leave after the game on Monday is also playing for Team Venezuela. Mullins, playing for Team USA, leaves after he plays in Sunday’s game at Tropicana Field against Tampa Bay.
Manager Brandon Hyde with Mullins and Santander gone, Nomar Mazara, Ryan O’Hearn and Kyle Stowers will get more time in the outfield. Heston Kjerstad will get more spring training at-bats, too.
“With the amount of left-hand/first base combo guys as well as some other outfield guys we wanted to take a look at. It’s going to be easier to play them a little more,” Hyde said.
Austin Hays will get more playing time in center while Kyle Stowers could play some more there, too.
Joey Krehbiel has had a difficult start to the Grapefruit League season, allowing eight runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings in two outings.
“It’s hard to really put a ton of stock into pitchers early in camp,” Hyde said. “ I don’t think his command is quite there right now. It’s not from lack of work. He came to camp in good shape and felt like he was ready. He’s having some tough results right now.
“Kind of a bad luck inning [Thursday], single, then he balks, then he gets a double play ball right after that would have been nobody on, two outs. All of a sudden it completely unraveled on him. Joey had a real good first half for us. I loved how he ended the season the year before. We know what kind of pitcher he can be. I just want to see him improve over the course of the camp.”
Former Orioles outfielders Dave Nicholson and Albie Pearson died late last month. Nicholson played in 1960 and 1962 while Pearson, who became an All-Star with the Los Angeles Angels in 1963, played in 1959 and 1960.
What happened? In his first start with the Orioles, Kyle Gibson allowed a run on three hits in two innings, striking out two as the Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates played to a 1-1 tie before 5.749 at Ed Smith Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s always been important for me to be ahead in the count,” Gibson said. “Use that to my advantage, allow that to dictate the at-bat a little bit. I think I made good pitches even though I was behind in the count in that first inning. I’m going to err on the side of keeping the ball on the ground and letting those guys work because we’ve got a lot of good fielders.”
Gibson enjoyed working with James McCann as his catcher.
“You can tell he’s a good target to throw to,” Gibson said. “He knows the game. He knows these guys, how to attack hitters. A lot of the stuff in talking with him and [Adley Rutschman] is how I like to use my stuff and how they see my stuff play.
“Facing James a lot in the past, he has a good idea of how my stuff plays against righties so it might help him a little bit to have that rapport already.”
Kremer followed Gibson and threw three scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three. It was Kremer’s final appearance before he leaves for the WBC.
“I was excited when the rosters came out and I was excited when I got asked last year this time whether I wanted to play or not,” Kremer said. “Anytime I get asked to represent the country, more than happy to do it.”
Hyde believes Kremer is prepared for the WBC.
“I think as ready as you can be. I thought he had great stuff tonight,” Hyde said. “Mid-90’s fastball, good changeups again, mixing in all his pitches. He looks strong and ready to go.”
Hernandez pitched a perfect eighth.
What’s up with? Cole Uvila was drafted by the Orioles in the Rule 5 minor league draft in December 2021. He’s allowed one run in two innings this spring, but no hits. He’s walked four and struck out one.
Uvila was 2-4 with a 3.48 ERA and 12 saves for Triple-A Norfolk last season.
“I think the thing that stands out is just the character in this org, all these kids, these studs, these big prospects are just such good kids,” Uvila said.
“It makes for a really good environment. I think a lot of times in Triple-A, it can be an older locker room, guys with some [major league] time that might not look like they’re going back to the show any time soon, and a little toxic. Norfolk was the total opposite of that, upbeat, everybody’s ambitious.
“Everybody wants to get up there but support each other. It’s a lot of fun. It was a good year.”
What’s what? Santander, who was called for a strike for not being ready in time in the first Grapefruit League game on Saturday, was rewarded with a walk when Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez took longer than 15 seconds to deliver a pitch on a 3-1 count.
What’s the word? “My most profitable offseason I’ve had. It was a solid three months. It keeps me going on the minor league salary.”–Uvila, a professional poker player when he’s not playing baseball. He hired a new poker coach in the offseason.
What’s the number? 2:18. The fastest of the seven games the Orioles have played in the Grapefruit League.
What’s the record? 2-4-1. The Orioles host the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday in Sarasota.
RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM