Holliday delivers 3 hits in Orioles' 3-2 win over Phillies; Albert Suárez strikes out 7 in 3 innings - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Holliday delivers 3 hits in Orioles’ 3-2 win over Phillies; Albert Suárez strikes out 7 in 3 innings

Photo Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEARWATER, Florida-What’s happening?— Julio Teheran will make his first start for the Orioles when the Orioles host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium at 6:05 on Wednesday night.

Teheran, 33, who signed as a minor league free agent on February 28th, pitched a spotless inning on Saturday against the New York Yankees.

He’ll be opposed by Mitch Keller. It’s the first of four home night games in Sarasota.

New Orioles ace Corbin Burnes pitched three simulated innings on Tuesday, and Tyler Wells, who’s also targeted for the starting rotation, is supposed to throw on the back field on Wednesday.

“You balance it by not wanting to do it all the time with guys,” Hyde said. “You control the environment of a back-field game … I like it because guys get more at-bats, especially guys who aren’t traveling, but you also want to see them compete in a game setting.”

Reliever Yennier Cano pitched for the first time this spring on Monday, allowing a hit in a scoreless inning.

“I felt super good,” he said through a translator. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in a competitive game out there. I think, overall, everything went well. My pitches felt good. My velocity was good, so everything checked out.”

Cano was told that after pitching into October for the first time, the team would be cautious with him.

“Their plan was to gradually build me up over the course of spring,” Cano said. “I set a career high in innings [72 2/3] last year, so they wanted to make sure I got through camp healthy, I got through camp fresh, so I could get ready for this season.”

Cano said he would pitch every third day at first before pitching on alternate days. He doesn’t have to earn a spot on the team after pitching to a 2.11 earned-run average with eight saves.

“I think it gives me a lot more confidence knowing that,” Cano said. “Last year, over the course of spring, you’re not really sure what’s going on. For this year, it’s given me a lot more confidence, given me the ability to focus in on some things and take my time getting prepared for this upcoming season.”

Last season, Cano was an American League All-Star as a setup man to closer Félix Bautista, who will miss the 2024 season because of Tommy John surgery. Cano wasn’t expecting to be the closer this season and was excited when the team signed veteran Craig Kimbrel.

“I was super happy because we needed a closer,” Cano said. “We don’t have the best closer in the game with us right now in Bautista. I think it was a great signing and when it happened, some people asked me, ‘aren’t you a closer?’ I was like, ‘I just take the seventh, eighth inning, whatever they need out of me.’ I’m not a closer. I was really happy to see that we went out and got him because he’s going to be big for us.”

What’s happened?—Albert Suárez, who was signed to a minor league contract by the Orioles last September, struck out seven in three scoreless innings, allowing two hits as the Orioles defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-2,  before 8,881 at BayCare Ballpark on Tuesday.

Suárez struck out the last four batters to face him — Cal Stevenson, Cam Gallagher, Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner. He struck out Schwarber twice. The 34-year-old right-hander reached 97 mph.

“Even if you’re not looking for strikeouts, it’s always fun when you get a strikeout, you feel good about it,” Suárez said. “I did some adjustments on my mechanics with my hip separation that’s helping me a lot to create more power towards home plate.”

Suárez, who spent five years in Japan and South Korea, went to Sarasota after he signed, and was encouraged to make mechanical adjustments. He tested them in winter ball in Venezuela.

Facing big names such as Schwarber, Turner and J.T. Realmuto was a good gauge.

“It helps a lot,” Suárez said. “It tells you where you’re at. I like the challenge. Facing guys like them is really good for me.”

While Albert Suárez is not related to Andrew Suárez, a left-hander who pitched a spotless fifth, he’d like to pitch against his brother, Robert, who’s with San Diego.

“It would be fun to face him,” Suárez said.

“He really threw the ball extremely well,” Hyde said of Suárez. “I’m really impressed with his strike-throwing ability, big-time life to his fastball. He was throwing his fastball by good major league hitters. He’s got four pitches he throws for strikes, and he’s got command of them. It’s going to be fun to watch him. We didn’t know a whole lot about him, and he’s come in and thrown 97 with good secondary stuff, so really impressed with him today.”

Matt Krook pitched a scoreless inning. Chayce McDermott threw two scoreless. Kaleb Ort and Tucker Davidson each gave up a run.

Jackson Holliday doubled, tripled and singled in four at-bats. After the double, he scored on Colton Cowser’s single in the first inning against Zack Wheeler, who signed a three-year extension, reportedly worth $126 million on Monday.

“We were all pretty excited to go against a guy that has such an unbelievable career in the big leagues,” Holliday said. “A big- time pitcher. A big-game pitcher. Was really cool to face him.”

Holliday was eager to go against an experienced pitcher and experienced players.

“Obviously, you want to compete against the best,” Holliday said. “To be the best you have to beat the best, right? To be able to put together a good at-bat against him and [Atlanta’s Max] Fried and some of these other guys that I’ve been able to compete against is encouraging, especially to hit a double off him.

“It’s really cool to be on the field with him, J.T. (Realmuto) and Trea Turner, some guys I really enjoy watching. Try to model my game after Turner a little bit, so really cool to be out there.”

Hyde and the Orioles have three weeks to make up their mind about Holliday’s ability to play in the majors at age 20.

“He swung the bat really well today,” Hyde said. “I think all three were on offspeed pitches today, the split to center. It was like he was just more relaxed at the plate today and took a bunch of really good swings.”

What’s up with?—Cionel Pérez is beginning his third season with the Orioles. The left-handed relief pitcher is 11-3 with a 2.43 ERA and four saves in the last two seasons.

In three games this spring, Pérez has allowed five runs on six hits in three innings, striking out four.

“It’s been one of the best springs I’ve had in my career. I feel really well prepared this spring,” Pérez said through a translator. “Although my ERA shows something [different], the way I’ve been able to dominate the strike zone paints another picture, and I feel really good overall with the how everything’s working, and I think all the hard work has paid off.”

Pérez is active in the clubhouse, playing lots of ping-pong and pool, and though he usually uses a translator, he was eager to describe his exploits in English.

“I play every sport. I’m an athlete,” he said, smiling. “I’m better at pool. I have a pool [table] in my home, so I’m playing more pool, but I’m good at ping-pong, too. I can crush the ball.”

Pérez said Dean Kremer, who won last year’s Orioles clubhouse ping-pong tournament, should repeat. Could Pérez beat him? “No chance,” he said, laughing.

What’s what?—The Orioles are getting more attention from national baseball writers during this camp, and the biggest question is whether Holliday will begin the season with the Orioles.

Hyde says spring statistics will not factor much into the decision.

“The sample size is so small from a statistical standpoint,” he said. “It’s more about the quality of the at-bat he’s taking.”

Hyde wants to see how Holliday handles the two top-shelf pitchers the Orioles are facing. He did well against Wheeler on Tuesday, and will face the Pirates’ Mitch Keller on Wednesday.

“That’s what I actually want,” Hyde said. “That’s what we see during the season. To be able to evaluate guys against those type of arms, which is what you see on a nightly basis, how he handles those at-bats, how he handles the speed of the game defensively. He’s changed positions [from shortstop to second base], how that adjustment is happening.

“We have other good players, too, how the roster’s going to look, and how he’s going to fit. Whether it’s the start of the season with him or a month or two months into the season. Six years from now, nobody’s probably going to remember that … The timing of when he makes his major league debut. We’re going to see when the right time is for him, and for us.”

What’s the word-We have a lot of guys in the mix for a lot of spots, which is going to make the last 2 1/2, 3 weeks pretty interesting.”-Hyde on the competition in Orioles camp.

What’s the number? .333. That’s Holliday’s Grapefruit League batting average.

What’s the record? 10-2. The Orioles will host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.

Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions this week. Please email yours to: [email protected]

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