BALTIMORE—It has been nearly five years since Grayson Rodriguez was the Orioles’ first selection in the 2018 draft, and he’s finally going to pitch at home. The Orioles will commemorate the start by handing out T-shirts to the first 10,000 fans 15-and-over, contributing to the hype.
“Watching prospects make their debuts and going through some firsts is always fun,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
In 2022, Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and DL Hall each made their debut.
“Now Grayson, guys that we’ve been following for a while since my first year here, I’ve been hearing a lot about and watching them progress through the minor leagues, now arriving,” Hyde said. “It’s exciting and special for everybody that’s an Oriole fan. “
Rodriguez allowed two runs on two hits in the first inning in his debut against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas on April 5th. He then pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two additional hits.
“It’s a big night for him. I’m sure he’s going to be nervous like he was in Texas, his first home start, with T-shirts. I hope he relaxes and pitches like he did from that second inning on.
“I think it’s normal and natural to be extremely amped up when you go through something like that for the first time. He had his family there. You saw the emotion after the game, what it meant to him and his family. He’s really talented. He’s going to settle in just fine. I just hope that he’s able to relax enough to be able to pitch to his ability in his first home start.”
Hyde hasn’t discussed Rodriguez’s demotion at the end of spring training.
“Sometimes, there are baseball decisions that are made,” Hyde said. “That’s part of being a player. We want with five different starters at the time and knowing he’s going to be up here at some point because things are going to happen like they happen. I thought he handled it extremely well.
“It’s fun to watch him have fun in the dugout. It’s fun to watch him interact with the players in the clubhouse. He’s a really talented guy, mature, too. I think that he’s handled everything really well.”
Rodriguez replaced Kyle Bradish, who suffered a bruised foot when he was hit by a line drive and is on the 15-day injured list. Bradish will throw a rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie on Friday.
“His side [session] went really well. I just walked past him in the weight room,” Hyde said. “Looks great, feels good. We got lucky there. If we get four or five innings out of him, that will be fantastic.”
Hyde has been asked about using a six-man rotation this spring, and he continues to say that’s not in his plans.
“Things can change fast around here,” Hyde said. “One day you feel set and you have to make a tough decision, and the next day you feel short. We’ll see what happens.”
The Orioles have offdays on April 17th and 20th, and that would make it difficult for a six-man rotation. “You’d have guys who wouldn’t be starting for a while,” Hyde said. “We’re going to take it day-by-day.”