Kremer finds groove, Urías, Cowser homer in Orioles' 12-3 win over Twins; Veterans Teheran, Wong add depth - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Kremer finds groove, Urías, Cowser homer in Orioles’ 12-3 win over Twins; Veterans Teheran, Wong add depth

Photo Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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FORT MYERS, Florida-What’s happening?—The Orioles host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. Corbin Burnes, who threw a scoreless inning against Boston last Saturday in the Grapefruit League opener, will start against 21-year-old Paul Skenes, the overall No. 1 draft pick last season.

It’s expected that 20-year-old Jackson Holliday, the top pick in the 2022 draft, will face Skenes on Thursday.

The Orioles signed veteran right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran and second baseman Kolten Wong to minor league contracts on Wednesday. Both are 33.

“I think we’re adding depth,” manager Brandon Hyde said about Teheran. “You can never have enough pitching. To bring in another guy that’s got a lot of major league experience, been a starter in this league for a long time, we’re gong to take a look and hopefully he can help us.”

Hyde said the Orioles could consider him as a starter or reliever.

“We have a lot of openings right now,” Hyde said. “We’re looking to add depth to our team any way you can.”

Hyde said the move for Wong is similar.

“Adding another player that we’re very familiar with. He’s been a major league second baseman for a long time,” he said. “We’re continuing to add talented guys. A veteran presence is important also. We’ll see how Kolten fits. We’re excited to bring both of those guys into camp.”

Last year, the Orioles used left-hand hitting Adam Frazier at second. Wong is also a left-handed hitter, and if the left-hand hitting Holliday, who is playing a lot of second base this spring, doesn’t break camp with the Orioles, Wong would seem to have a shot to make the team.

“It’s adding someone to be in the competition mix and somebody that has experience,” Hyde said.

Outfielder Sam Hilliard has been claimed off waivers by Colorado. The Orioles’ 40-man roster is at 39.

What’s happened?—Starting pitcher Dean Kremer allowed a run on two hits in two innings in his first start of the spring as the Orioles defeated the Minnesota Twins, 12-3, before 5,565 at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday.

Kremer loaded the bases with none out in the first inning on a double, single and walk. Christian Vázquez’s sacrifice fly scored a run for the Twins. Kremer then retired his last six batters.

“It was a quick start there, three pitches and then a walk,” Kremer said. “It happened pretty quickly. I didn’t get my feet under me yet. They’re feeling it out. I’m feeling it out. First time against real competition, juices are flowing a little bit more than normal.”

With starting pitchers Kyle Bradish and John Means out for the start of the season because of injuries, Kremer doesn’t think it will put pressure on the other starters. Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin, both of whom spent time in the rotation last season, are expected to replace Bradish and Means.

“Whoever fills their spots, I’m sure will pick up right where they left off,” Kremer said. “That’s our whole team. Somebody goes down, somebody picks them up. We’re going to have them soon.”

Third baseman Ramón Urías and centerfielder Colton Cowser drove in three runs. Urías had a single and a two-run home run. Cowser had a three-run homer, his second. Catcher Michael Pérez had two RBIs.

Urías is part of the Orioles’ infield depth and isn’t fazed by the number of infielders in camp.

“The younger guys are ready to play in the big leagues, and it’s a good competition,” Urías said. “It makes everybody better.”

Urías is one of the longest tenured Orioles, having been acquired off waivers in February 2020.

“Super different at every level,” Urías said about the Orioles’ improvement. “There’s great depth in the team. We have a lot of first-rounders here. Everybody knows they’re good.”

Jonathan Heasley pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and Albert Suárez retired the six batters he faced.

What’s up with?—Maverick Handley started at catcher,  going 1-for-2. Handley played 69 games at Triple-A Norfolk and four at Double-A Bowie, hitting .238 with five home runs and 33 RBIs. Handley was often with the Orioles in case a catcher was injured, but was never formally recalled.

With Adley Rutschman and James McCann, and five-year major league veteran Michael Pérez a non-roster invite, the path to the big leagues could be difficult for Handley.

“I try not to think about that stuff,” Handley said. “I’m really trying to make myself better and making sure I’m the best version of myself. However it plays out, it plays out. You never know. What’s going to lead to the most success is having [Rutschman and McCann] healthy. They’re both really good players and both really good leaders for this clubhouse. I’m just trying to stay ready. If they need help to run or catch, I’m going to be there.”

Handley, who has spent previous winters living in recreational vehicles, had a fun offseason.

“This year I was a little bit more of a nomad,” he said. “I traveled. I went to New York City, San Diego, Paris, Naples, Florida. I drove a whole bunch. It was great.”

It was his first time in Europe.

“I was a little worried about the language barrier, but it was a lot easier than I was expecting,” Handley said. “The history, the catacombs were a chilling experience. I’m a foodie, so trying all the different cuisines was super exciting.”

What’s what?—Enrique Bradfield Jr. wasn’t on the trip, but the 22-year-old outfielder who was the Orioles’ first-round draft pick in 2023, already has made an impression.

“He’s played some great defense,” Hyde said. “He made two or three really nice running catches, so he showcased his speed in the outfield. Heard that he was a plus-defender, and he’s shown that so far. Made a couple of catches in left and in center. Only a few at-bats. He’s a good looking defender so far.”

What’s the word? “You’re always interested in seeing what top-of-the-draft guys look like. He comes with a lot of ‘pub.’ I’ll be interested in seeing what he looks like.”-Hyde on seeing pitcher Paul Skenes on Thursday

What’s the number? 200. That’s the number of innings Kremer wants to pitch this year. “That’s the goal. I want to do that repeatedly,” said Kremer, who pitched 172 2/3 innings last year while going 13-5. “That many not be where the game is going, but every starter [says] ‘I want 200 innings.’ I want to know what that’s like, getting to 200 because it’s not common anymore.”

What’s the record? 5-1. The Orioles will host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

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