SARASOTA—What’s happening? Dean Kremer will make his fourth appearance of the spring on Wednesday when the Orioles play the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida at 1:07 p.m.
Kremer has allowed three runs on five hits in nine innings with six strikeouts and a walk. He also had a start in the World Baseball Classic when he pitched four innings for Team Israel on March 12th.
He’ll be opposed by José Berrios, who will start for the third time this spring. Berrios has allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings.
The game will be broadcast on MLB Network.
Bruce Zimmermann, who started last season’s home opener, was one of five cuts the Orioles made on Monday. Zimmermann gave up five runs on 11 hits in 12 innings. He walked three and struck out eight.
“It’s that time in camp where starters are going longer and narrow down our numbers,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought Zimm showed well and hope that he gets off to a good start in Norfolk. I’m sure we’ll see him at some point this season.”
The competition for the rotation is more intense than it was when Zimmermann made the club in 2021 and 2022.
“I think we’re in the business of trying to win games and we’re going to make the best decisions we can for who we feel like will open the season in the rotation, but that could change quickly as we know,” Hyde said. “You need more than five starters, and we feel good about Zimm being part of that starting group, but he’s just going to start the year in Norfolk.”
Left-handed reliever Nick Vespi, who had a late start this spring because of hernia surgery in January, also was optioned to Norfolk. In three games, he allowed three runs on five hits in three innings.
“He got off to a late start. We feel like he needs more appearances,” Hyde said. “As of right now, he’s going to start off the year in Triple-A and hopefully build off of a great year he had in Norfolk last year. He did well for us when he came up. These are all tough decisions we have to make, and we feel like Nick needs more appearances.”
First baseman Lewin Díaz, who hadn’t played since March 12th because of a left shoulder injury, was assigned to minor league camp.
“Another guy that had his spring cut short by missing the last week because of his shoulder,” Hyde said.
With just six games remaining in Grapefruit League play, Hyde played mostly regulars on Tuesday with the exception of centerfielder Cedric Mullins, who’s still at the World Baseball Classic, and Gunnar Henderson, who started on Monday.
“I think the starters today will play a little longer, come back with a few night games in a row,” Hyde said. “You might see guys play some other positions, also, but trying to give guys as many at-bats this last week as possible.”
What happened? Cole Irvin allowed two runs on six hits in five-plus innings, striking out three while walking none as the Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox, 6-2, before an announced crowd of 5.746 at Ed Smith Stadium.
Irvin allowed Adam Duvall’s fourth home run, his second in four days against the Orioles, in the fourth and back-to-back doubles by Duvall and Daniel Palka to begin the sixth.
“Whenever Cole Irvin’s on the mound, he’s going to be throwing a ton of strikes,” Hyde said. “He did that again today. He’s done that all camp..”
In four outings, Irvin has allowed five runs on 15 hits in 14 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts and one walk.
“Just trying to be ready and prepared. That was today,” Irvin said. “First day of really testing, ‘Am I on time with my pitching? Am I on time getting to the dugout in between innings?’ and I really was. I feel really good. I’m ready to get going.”
Irvin likes the Orioles’ defense.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Irvin said. “I knew we had talent. I knew how good we were, but seeing it first-hand has really opened my eyes about how much I can trust the defense.”
Cionel Pérez, Joey Krehbiel, Eduard Bazardo and Reed Garrett combined for four scoreless innings on one hit and a walk.
Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle homered in the first inning, and Kyle Stowers hit a two-run single in the fourth inning as the Orioles scored six runs on nine hits in five innings against Chris Sale.
Rutschman hit his fourth home run and Mountcastle his third. Rutschman’s home run was the second he has hit batting right-handed. Last season, 12 of his 13 home runs were hit left-handed.
“He’s been swinging the bat well right-handed this whole spring, not just out here, but in the back fields, too,” Hyde said. “That was a point of emphasis for him to work on his right-handed swing this offseason, this spring.”
Mountcastle also doubled and scored in the third. He’s batting .389.
“I feel like this is one of the best springs I’ve had in a while,” Mountcastle said. “I’m a little more locked in this year at the plate. Feeling good. I’m ready to go.”
Mountcastle is excited about how the Orioles look this spring.
“We’re really good. I was looking at some of the averages just in spring, and I think everybody’s hitting .400,” Mountcastle said. “It’s insane. Guys are hitting the ball. Guys are pitching really well, too. I’m really excited for the year.”
Hyde sees differences in Mountcastle this spring.
“A guy growing into his own,” Hyde said. “Confidence. Always had the ability. It’s always been about the control of the strike zone because he can do so much damage. He’s putting great swings on strikes right now.”
What’s up with? Félix Bautista retired the first two batters he faced against Philadelphia on Monday before walking the bases loaded and being removed from the game. It was his third appearance. He pitched perfect innings in his first two outings.
In his third, Bautista said he was tinkering with his delivery.
“Usually, when I threw my fastball and splitter, they tend to come out slightly different, in a slightly different way,” Bautista said through a translator. “Yesterday, I was trying to work with my mechanics to try to get them to look even more similar coming out of my hand when I do throw them.”
Bautista said there’s no issue with his health. Knee and shoulder injuries delayed his first game action until March 14th.
“Thankfully my arm is responding well. My knee is responding well. My body overall is responding really well so I feel really good,” he said.
Bautista said he’ll pitch in two more games before the team leaves Florida next week.
What’s the word? “I’m ready to get the season started. I’m excited.”-Irvin on his spring.
What’s what? The game was played in two hours, six minutes, shortest of the spring. Monday’s game in Clearwater took three hours, 20 minutes, longest this spring.
What’s the number? 13. Anthony Santander was hitless in three at-bats in his return from the World Baseball Classic. Despite his torrid hitting for Team Venezuela, Santander is 0-for-13 in Grapefruit League play.
What’s the record? 13-11-2. The Orioles will play the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida at 1:07 p.m.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB