Kremer pitches 4, and Mayo drives in 4 in Orioles' 10-3 win over Braves; Westburg works on versatility - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Kremer pitches 4, and Mayo drives in 4 in Orioles’ 10-3 win over Braves; Westburg works on versatility

Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel

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NORTH PORT, Florida-What’s happening?—The Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays will play a pair of split-squad games on Sunday. Corbin Burnes will make his third start against Devereaux Harrison at Ed Smith Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

The game will be broadcast on WBAL/98 Rock with Geoff Arnold and Brett Hollander.

Burnes, former Cy Young Award winner obtained from the Brewers in a trade for infielder Joey Ortiz and  pitcher DL Hall, has allowed three runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Albert Suárez will face Yusei Kikuchi at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida at 1:07 p.m. Bench coach Fredi González will manage the other half of the split squad.

Centerfielder Cedric Mullins, who left Monday’s game with right hamstring soreness, is improving, manager Brandon Hyde said.

“I think at some point next week he’ll be able to play,” Hyde said. There are just over two weeks left before the final Grapefruit League game, and Hyde isn’t any closer to having clarity on the final roster.

“Not much. I think these next couple of weeks are going to say a lot,” Hyde said. “We still don’t have a ton of at-bats for a lot of guys. You spend the first couple of weeks letting them play, and these next couple of weeks, we’re going to be evaluating a little bit harder, have more conversations. We haven’t had much at this point. It’s more of letting these guys play. Now, as we’re getting closer, we’ll start having more discussions about who we’re taking with us. “

What’s happened?— Dean Kremer completed four innings, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out three as the Orioles defeated the Atlanta Braves, 10-3, before 7.017 at CoolToday Park on Saturday.

“I thought that was his best outing,” Hyde said. “I thought he threw outstanding for four innings.”

In three starts, Kremer has allowed five runs on 10 hits in eight innings.

“With every outing, you try to go a little bit deeper and deeper in games,” Kremer said. “it’s a balance of working on things and trying to get guys out, lengthening yourself as a starter. It went well today.”

Kremer said his pitches were “solid. I have enough stuff to get guys out. It’s the big leagues. I have to have decent stuff to get guys out.”

He retired the first six Braves batters, striking out three.

“Feeling good. Not really getting tired yet,” Kremer said. “The volume hasn’t been an issue, yet.”

Left-hander Keegan Akin allowed a hit, his first of the spring, in a scoreless inning. He’s thrown five shutout innings in four outings.

Left-hander Cade Povich, who’ll start the Spring Breakout game on March 14th against the Pirates’ prospects, allowed an unearned run in three innings. Wandisson Charles pitched a scoreless ninth.

Designated hitter Coby Mayo drove in four runs with a two-run double and a long two-run home run down the left-field line.

‘”I knew it was gone. I didn’t know it was going to stay fair,” Mayo said. “Usually when I hit those balls, they hook foul at the last second. I was hoping it was going to stay fair, but it stayed so straight.”

Jordan Westburg had his first start at second base, and struck out twice, walked and scored. Westburg has played third and shortstop but is used to moving around with the Orioles.

“I’m trying to get comfortable at third,” Westburg said. “I feel most comfortable at second. I can play shortstop. It’s about getting reps everywhere, making sure when my name is called and put in the lineup, at any of those three positions, I can be ready.

“I grew up playing every spot in the infield. The game changes, the game speeds up, and with that, you have to make adjustments. As soon as I got into the organization, I was reintroduced to bouncing around. It’s second nature at this point, just to be on your toes, and continue to work at all three spots. If there’s a way to get in the lineup, I want to be in the lineup. Obviously, you have to hit, and that’s another deal.”

Westburg’s Grapefruit League average is .238, and he’s more at ease after more than half a season of big league work.

“From a clubhouse standpoint, much more comfortable. I feel like I can be myself a little bit more,” Westburg said. “I feel like there’s not as much pressure as I’m putting on myself. On the field, I feel I’m doing enough right now. I feel like I’m not getting the job done in the box. On defense, I’m fine, I feel really comfortable on defense. I’m really confident in my abilities to play those three positions.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to hit to be in the lineup, right? Hopefully, I can make strides before Opening Day there.”

Before the game, Hyde said Westburg would play all three infield positions, mostly second and third.

“He’s getting more comfortable at third base. I know he’s very comfortable at second base,” Hyde said. “It’s nice to give him quite a few looks this spring to get him used to the speed of the game at the big league level, probably more reps than he’s had in the past.”

Hyde said he wasn’t concerned about Westburg’s hitting.

“I don’t even know what the stats are, so I don’t have any idea what he’s hitting,” Hyde said. “I’m not really concerned about it except for the quality of his at-bats. Maybe he didn’t get the results today. I think he’s been playing really well.”

Catcher Adley Rutschman played his first road game. Hyde said he’s not likely to catch consecutive games until near the end of spring training.

What’s up with?— Kolten Wong started at third base for the first time since college on Friday night. He’d never played an infield position other than second base in the major leagues.

Wong had two chances and threw out Detroit’s Riley Greene attempting to score in the first inning and wasn’t intimidated by throwing across the field to first.

“It wasn’t as long of a throw as I thought,” Wong said. “That’s the biggest thing.”

Wong, who had been hitless in his first eight at-bats, had an RBI single in the sixth inning. The left-hand hitting 33-year-old signed with the Orioles as an undrafted free agent on February 28th.

“Definitely settled in. Just trying to figure out what my role is going to be this year,” Wong said. “That’s how it’s going to be. I’m trying to show them I have options. I can play other positions. I can do other things. I know everybody sees me only as a second baseman, but I think in the day and age that the game is now, you’ve got to be able to adjust. I’m just trying to do that.”

What’s what? With all the publicity surrounding the Orioles’ top prospect, Jackson Holliday, it’s been fascinating to watch the growth of Mayo and Colton Cowser, who are both having outstanding springs. Cowser is hitting .444 with a 1.509 OPS.

What’s the word? “People want versatility. You either adjust, or you go home. I want to continue to adjust and show people that I can still do it at different positions. Whatever they need, I’ll be able to do it.”­Wong on playing different positions. 

What’s the number? .346, 1.106. Mayo’s batting average and OPS.

“You come into camp, preparing to do everything you can for them to make a tough decision. Whether that’s going back to Triple-A or making the team, I just want to do everything I can to give myself an opportunity,” Mayo said.

What’s the record? 13-2. The Orioles will host the Toronto Blue Jays in a split-squad game in Sarasota at 1:05 p.m., while the other half of the split-squad will play the Blue Jays in Dunedin at 1:07 p.m.

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