Orioles beat Rays 5-2; Mullins on his way to WBC; Bradish, Baumann deliver strong performances - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Orioles beat Rays 5-2; Mullins on his way to WBC; Bradish, Baumann deliver strong performances

Photo Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida —What’s happening? Cole Irvin gets his second start of the spring when the Orioles host the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m.

Irvin allowed one hit in two scoreless innings against Toronto on March 1st. Michael Plassmeyer will pitch for the Phillies.

The game will be shown on MASN with Kevin Brown and Ben McDonald.

Grayson Rodriguez gets his second start on Tuesday against Minnesota in Fort Myers. Kenta Maeda pitches for the Twins. Kyle Gibson faces Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez on Wednesday.

Terrin Vavra was scratched from Saturday’s game with left shoulder discomfort said he’s feeling better.

“I don’t think it’s going to be anything that lingers too long,” Vavra said. “Fortunately, we have some time here to get things calmed down before we get rolling too heavily.

“Fortunately, there’s a lot of camp left. I think there’s going to plenty of opportunity to get the reps that I do miss, but it does stink. I don’t want to have the slightest…to keep you out. A little frustrating, but ultimately I know it’s a long season.

“If I miss March 4th-March 5th, it’s better than missing April, May, June. I’d rather miss the time now and get it where it needs to be so I can be good to go down the road.”

What happened? Cedric Mullins was 1-for-3 in his final game before heading for the World Baseball Classic in the Orioles’ 5-2 win over the Tampe Bay Rays before 4,347 at Tropicana Field on Sunday.

Mullins doubled and scored leading off the game, grounded to second in a 12-pitch at-bat and flied to left. He’ll play for Team USA, which will be based in Phoenix.

“I don’t think it will hit me until I land,” Mullins said. “It’s trying to get out there and make sure all the logistics are in order. I think when I drop my stuff off in the locker room, that’s when it’s like, ‘all right, I’m here.’”

Mullins was the starting centerfielder for the American League in the 2021 All-Star Game.

“An All-Star Game is what it feels like,” Mullins said. “Some of the guys that I’ve played against, it’s an opportunity to play with them and be around them. It’s going to be an amazing experience.”

Manager Brandon Hyde is proud that Mullins was selected for Team USA.

“I know that he is really excited,” Hyde said. “What an honor for him. Well deserved. To watch him represent our country, he’s thrilled about that, and I’m thrilled for him. It should be an awesome experience. To play with those caliber of players on that kind of stage is something he’s never going to forget.”

Kyle Bradish allowed one run on two hits in three innings in his second start.

“This actually felt like a real game,” Bradish said of pitching in Tropicana Field. “They had one of their better lineups that they’re running out there. It definitely helped. I had a little more nerves than I did last week.”

Hyde liked what he saw from Bradish.

“Really good fastball,” Hyde said. “His command wasn’t perfect today, but made one bad pitch in the middle. Besides that, ball was moving all over the place. He threw strikes. He got three innings. We keep building him up. I thought he was really competitive today.”

Mike Baumann gave up a run on two hits in three innings. Reed Garrett and Rule 5 right-hander Andrew Politi each pitched hitless innings.

Nolan Hoffman was imported from minor league camp to pitch the ninth and recorded his second save of the spring.

“I’ve never pitched in a major league stadium before,” Hoffman said. “All day, I’ve been super grateful and saying how cool it is. I stepped on the mound and to have all the lights and everything, it was, ‘this is really cool.’”

Ryan Mountcastle’s two-run triple in the first gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead. The Orioles were hitless until Nomar Mazara’s seventh inning RBI single. Lewin Díaz’s RBI single in the eighth made it 4-2. The fifth run scored on César Prieto’s infield out.

Hyde acknowledged it was unusual to play a game that didn’t count in a major league park. The Rays’ spring training facility in Port Charlotte was damaged by Hurricane Ian.

“It’s a little odd,” Hyde said. “Nice to get out of the sun today. It’s nice for some of these guys to see this park, see the roof, the turf, good experience for a lot of our younger guys that have never been here. Easy drive on Sunday, no traffic. That worked out well. I think guys are pumped to play here.”

What’s up with? Ryan Watson, who was the Orioles’ organizational pitcher of the year in 2022, has yet to pitch because of neck stiffness. Watson, who was 7-5 with a 3.44 ERA and a save in 27 games with Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, says he’s ready to pitch.

He’ll throw in the bullpen this week and hopes to appear in a game.

“I was pretty bummed about it,” Watson said. “I was looking forward to the opportunity and looking forward to getting out there. It’s still early. I’ve got to take care of myself and take care of the body now and be ready to go later down the road.”

What’s what? Dave Wills, a longtime Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster died on Sunday. Wills, who had called Rays games for 18 years, had been scheduled to work Sunday’s broadcast, which was canceled. A moment of silence was observed.

What’s the word? “This is one of those fields where it can sometimes be difficult to hit, and you go out there and you grind. That’s what it felt like today.”-Mullins on playing an exhibition game at Tropicana Field.

What’s the number? 10-for-11. Bradish threw strikes on his first pitch to 10 of the 11 batters he faced.

What’s the record? 3-5-1. The Orioles play the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at 1:05 p.m.

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