Rutschman on Orioles' pitching depth; Hyde on Means; Nevin's return - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Rutschman on Orioles’ pitching depth; Hyde on Means; Nevin’s return

Photo Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida.-What’s happening?-Catcher Adley Rutschman thinks the Orioles have enough starting pitching depth to overcome the loss of Kyle Bradish and John Means to begin the season. Bradish has a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and Means is behind schedule after experiencing soreness in his left elbow late last season.

“We have a lot of tremendous arms, great coaching staff,” Rutschman said. “Last year, I felt like the MO was guys stepping up to fill in. I feel like that’s a character thing, and that’s going to continue this year. I love Bradish. It’s tough to hear. We’ve always got guys stepping up. I trust in our guys and our coaching staff.”

Rutschman looks forward to molding a relationship with Corbin Burnes, the former National League Cy Young Award winner whom the Orioles obtained in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I got to catch his first bullpen. He seems like a great guy,” Rutschman said. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about him, and I’m excited to be able to work with him and see how we can work with each other.”

The Orioles claimed infielder/outfielder Diego Castillo off waivers from Philadelphia and designated infielder Liván Soto for assignment on Friday.

Castillo hit .206 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs in 96 games for Pittsburgh in 2022 and had a hitless at-bat for Arizona last year. He has played each of the infield positions and right field.

Soto was claimed by the Orioles off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on February 8th.

What’s happened?—Bradish threw from 50 feet, and Means played catch on Friday. Neither will be on the Opening Day roster.

Manager Brandon Hyde reiterated that the Orioles are being cautious with Means.

“He’s just a little bit late with his normal throwing program, progression. ” Hyde said. “He’s about a month behind. Whether that’s going to be if all things work out, sometime in April, I think that’s what we’re planning on. It’s a rough draft right now. That’s a long way away. We expect him to be ready sometime [after] the beginning of the season.”

Hyde won’t put an innings goal on Means, who has thrown just 31 2/3 innings over the past two years after his April 2022 Tommy John surgery.

“We’ll get there and watch it, monitor it closely throughout the season and communicate with everybody,” Hyde said.

 What’s up with?—Jonathan Heasley was acquired from Kansas City on December 18th in a trade for minor league pitcher Cesar Espinal. Heasley started 24 games for the Royals in 2021 and 2022, and has a lifetime record of 5-11 with a 5.45 ERA.

“It was a little bit of a surprise, a shock there at first,” Heasley said. “Once you get over the sentimental part of it, coming up with the organization and building relationships with people and teammates over there. Obviously, it’s hard to leave those guys, but seeing what’s going on over here and the success they had last year, a bunch of young guys, great vibes around the locker room so far. Excited to get to work and hoping for an exciting opportunity here.”

What’s what? Tyler Nevin, who played 64 games with the Orioles in 2021 and 2022, was reacquired from the Detroit Tigers for cash considerations last month.

Nevin can play first or third base, left or right field and was delighted to return to the Orioles.

“I saw what this team was doing from afar last year, and I know the kind of room this team has, and it looked like a lot of fun to be a part of,” Nevin said.

Nevin was with the 2022 team that won 83 games and could see the turnaround.

“All the young guys are kind of the guys now,” Nevin said. “A lot of those young guys have really made their name. They’re big parts of the club now.”

Hyde likes having Nevin on the team.

“Versatility, right-handed bat. Guy that can play four positions,” Hyde said. “Possibly a bench, utility bat, spot start. It’s nice to have your bench players have some major league experience. If something happens, I feel like he can fill in.”

What’s the word? “That’s something that sticks with you for a long time. It’s tough to say, to put a definitive time period on something like that. You’re always thinking about that. You’ve got to put in the work for the next season, though. We’ve got high goals and aspirations for this year. We try to focus on that now. You learn from last year. That’s never not going to sting, so we’re here now. We’re going to be ready to go, so looking to go to that next step. You think about it. It’s not a great memory.”-Rutschman on getting over last season’s loss in the Division Series.

 What’s the number? 3. That’s the number of position players who have yet to report. Anthony Santander and Jorge Mateo are the most prominent not to arrive. Newly acquired outfielder Peyton Burdick hasn’t been seen, either.

“I feel like we’ve already started full-squad [workouts],” Hyde said. “There are so many guys here, and if you came here a week ago, I think we had almost half our camp here already. Our guys seem excited to get this thing going, makes you a little nervous because you’re trying to keep guys healthy throughout the course of this month, but it just shows you that they’re excited for the season to start.”

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