How Teherán could fit in Orioles' pitching plans; Infielder Kolten Wong signed to minor league deal - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

How Teherán could fit in Orioles’ pitching plans; Infielder Kolten Wong signed to minor league deal

Photo Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

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FORT MYERS, Florida—The Orioles signed two veteran major leaguers to minor league contracts on Wednesday — right-handed pitcher Julio Teherán and second baseman Kolten Wong.

Teherán and Wong, both 33, will join the Orioles in spring training, increasing the camp roster to 64. Wong has a career average of .256 in 11 major league seasons with St. Louis, Milwaukee, Seattle and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wong, a two-time Gold Glove winner who bats left-handed and has 38 games of postseason experience, played 63 games for the Mariners last season, where he hit .165, and 20 for the Dodgers, where he hit .300.

From 2021 – 2022, Wong compiled a .337 on-base percentage and .439 slugging percentage for the Brewers. Orioles general manager Mike Elias recently said there’s playing time available for a left-handed hitting second baseman. Wong could compete to break camp with the team, and his chances of making the Opening Day roster would improve if Jackson Holliday begins the season at Triple-A Norfolk.

It’s assumed that Teherán will add rotation depth for the Orioles. Currently, Corbin Burnes, who was a teammate of Teherán in Milwaukee, Dean Kremer, who will start Wednesday against Minnesota, Grayson Rodriguez Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin are the starters.

Wells and Irvin moved into the starting rotation when it was announced that Kyle Bradish, who has a sprained right elbow and John Means, slowed by the sore left elbow that kept him out of October’s Division Series with Texas, wouldn’t be available to start the season.

Behind the five starters, the Orioles have Bruce Zimmermann, who will follow Wells on Friday, Jonathan Heasley, who is scheduled to pitch in relief on Wednesday, as veteran options. They’d prefer that non-roster invitees Justin Armbruester, Chayce McDermott and Cade Povich, all of whom show promise, begin the season in the minor leagues.

Opening Day is a month away, on March 28th, and even if the 33-year-old Teherán has been regularly throwing while he’s been waiting for an opportunity, he’ll still need major league innings. There’s probably not enough time for him to be considered as a starting candidate for early April.

“I think we’re always looking for rotation depth,” manager Brandon Hyde said Wednesday. “We understand how important that is.”

Other than Zimmermann and Heasley, the Orioles don’t have a natural long man for their bullpen, and perhaps Teherán would fit there.

“You never have enough and you can never have enough guys who can give you length out of the bullpen,” Hyde said. “Zimm’s important for us, take a good look at him, and get some of these relievers to give us multiple innings. We’ll figure that out.”

Teherán played for Orioles bench coach Fredi González with the Atlanta Braves and was a teammate of new closer Craig Kimbrel.

In his prime, Teherán was twice an All-Star. He started six consecutive Braves openers from 2014-2019 and has a career record of 81-82 with a 3.93 earned-run average. After leaving the Braves, Teherán pitched for the Los Angeles Angels in 2020, Detroit in 2021 and the Brewers last season.

Notes: Second baseman/outfielder Connor Norby says his side injury has improved and he hopes to play in his first game this weekend. Hyde said he thought it was possible he’d play Sunday or Monday. … Infielder Gunnar Henderson, who has an oblique muscle strain, is nearing a return. “It’s just a matter of giving him a little bit more on the field stuff. “You should see him pretty soon,” Hyde said.

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