Orioles open Grapefruit League schedule against Red Sox; Rutschman excited about 1st game - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Orioles open Grapefruit League schedule against Red Sox; Rutschman excited about 1st game

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening?-The Orioles will open their Grapefruit League season when they host the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Corbin Burnes will make his first start in an Orioles uniform against Garrett Whitlock.

The game will be on MASN with remote broadcasters and on WBAL/98 Rock with Geoff Arnold and Ben McDonald.

“Quite a few of our regulars will be in there,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Then they’ll be playing every other day.”

Hyde hasn’t announced additional injuries since the first-day news that starting pitchers Kyle Bradish (sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow) and John Means (behind schedule because of last fall’s left elbow soreness), and shortstop/third baseman Gunnar Henderson (left oblique muscle) were hurt. Bradish and Means will start the season on the injured list; Henderson is expected to be fine by Opening Day.

“It’s gone well,” Hyde said. “That’s where we’re really keeping our fingers crossed. It’s one of the things that makes you nervous, and then games start, and you just want to finish camp as healthy as possible, but right now, I think it’s gone pretty well.”

Adley Rutschman is looking forward to catching Burnes, who was obtained from Milwaukee and is expected to be the ace of the staff.

“Absolutely, new experience for both of us and I’m excited for it,” Rutschman said. “It’s nice to get started with games. It means we’re getting closer to the season, which is always a good thing. Got to grind through the first little bit, now games start, so it’s a little more exciting.”

Bradish has been progressing in his throwing program.

“I feel good. No pain, no soreness when I’m throwing,” he said. “Recovery has been good. Feeling pretty normal.”

Bradish is scheduled to throw from 90 feet on Saturday, up from 75 feet.

The Orioles announced that Ben Wagner, who broadcast Toronto Blue Jays games for the past six years, will call select games on television and radio this season.

Geoff Arnold, Kevin Brown, Scott Garceau, Brett Hollander, Rob Long, Ben McDonald, Melanie Newman and Jim Palmer return.

Former Orioles Brad Brach, Mike Devereaux, Dave Johnson and Brian Roberts also will fill in as guest analysts during the season.

What’s happened?— The Orioles had their final day of live batting practice at Ed Smith Stadium. Dean Kremer, Matt Krook, Kaleb Ort and Dillon Tate were among those who pitched. Rutschman, Daniel Johnson, James McCann, Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O’Hearn, Anthony Santander and Ramón Urías hit.

It’s a big spring for Tate, who missed last season with elbow/forearm injuries.

“So far, so good,” he said on Friday. “The movement’s there on all the pitches that I want. At this point, I need to do a better job landing my other pitches for strikes. Some I feel better than others right now, landing the other pitches for strikes.”

Tate isn’t approaching this camp any differently.

“I’d say it’s a regular camp for me,” he said. “Just trying to win a job. It’s the closest sense of normalcy that I’ve had in a little while. That feels good.”

Rutschman is impressed with what he’s seen from Tate.

“He looks great. I’m really excited for him, and he was obviously great for us in ’22. I’m excited to have him back,” Rutschman said.

“It’s always cool to see guys step up. We had a lot of guys step up last year. Obviously, Tate was a tremendous pitcher for us, and we’re excited to have him back.”

Outfielder Peyton Burdick was claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox.

What’s up with?— Albert Suárez is a 34-year-old right-hander who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2017. Suárez, who is no relation to Andrew Suárez, another non-roster pitcher in camp, was 3-8 with a 4.51 ERA in 40 games with San Francisco in 2016 and 2017.

Since then, he’s pitched three seasons in Japan and two in South Korea and signed with the Orioles last September.

“When it comes to facing hitters, I’ve got better knowledge of what’s going on because it’s way different facing a Japanese guy, a Korean guy than facing guys here in the States,” Suárez said.

Suárez said the cultural adjustment to living in Asia wasn’t hard.

“We play a game that we have to adjust,” Suárez said. “We adjust no matter what to any situation and if you go there, you’re going to adjust no matter what.”

Hyde is intrigued by Suárez.

“He’s always been a strike-thrower,” Hyde said. “Really interesting guy, incredible career path up to this point. Had a lot of incredible experiences. We’re always looking for rotation depth and guys that can give us innings out of the ‘pen that are strike-throwers, and he’s been that way throughout his career.

“He has a ton of experience. I think he’s really appreciative of this opportunity. He’s glad to be back over here, and I hope he opens our eyes.”

What’s what? Ed Smith Stadium has been freshly painted, and there’s a new scoreboard in center field. It’s the best spring training facility in Florida, and the scoreboard should make the fan experience a better one.

What’s the word? “It’s elite stuff and his process is extremely good. You can tell he knows exactly what he’s doing. Makes everything easy, easy on my part. I’m just there to listen and absorb.”-Rutschman on catching Burnes

 What’s the number? $72 million. According to Sarasota County, the Orioles generated more than $72 million in economic activity for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 2023.

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