Wells breezes through 4 innings, Henderson continues hot hitting as Orioles hammer Rays, 12-8 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Wells breezes through 4 innings, Henderson continues hot hitting as Orioles hammer Rays, 12-8

Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida-What’s happening?-Cole Irvin will make his third start of the spring when the Orioles host the Atlanta Braves at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday night at 6:05.

Irvin has thrown five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking one and striking out three.

Atlanta will start Bryce Elder.

The Orioles have top prospects, including infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby, who have already played well at Norfolk and during Grapefruit League games, but they may not begin the season with the Orioles.

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“The bottom line is that there’s going to be guys going back to Triple-A that had really good years in Triple-A,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s just where we are. That’s a great thing. Maybe not for them, honestly, at the time, but for us as organizational depth, it’s enormous. Those are going to be hard conversations, but that’s the way our roster looks right now.”

What’s happened—Tyler Wells allowed one run on two hits in four innings, as the Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 12-8, before a sellout crowd of 7,524 at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday.

In his second start of the spring, Wells gave up a fourth-inning home run to Randy Arozarena, walked one and struck out one. In two starts, he’s allowed a run on three hits.

“I think he’s been throwing the ball great all spring,” Hyde said. “The command of all of his pitches looked really sharp today. Besides the one homer, he had all his pitches going. It’s great to see from him.”

Arozarena has homered 16 times in 50 games against the Orioles.

“That was one of the big things today — focus on the good, continue to execute and the results will take care of themselves,” Wells said.

Wells threw just 41 pitches and another 20 in the bullpen after his outing.

“I’ll always take that,” Wells said. “Being able to go deeper into games, later in the season, it’s a lot nicer. Obviously, in spring training, having to come and finish in the bullpen is a little bit different. To get that during the season is always the goal, to go out and give a lot of innings and take it off the bullpen’s arms.”

The Orioles scored eight runs in the first two innings — five in the first, three in the second — against Erasmo Ramirez, who was a surprise starter for Tampa Bay instead of their announced starter, Taj Bradley, who was scratched because of right pectoral tightness.

“Watching the guys swing the bat and do really well never gets old,” Wells said. “Especially this time of year, it’s such a good confidence booster.”

Second baseman Jordan Westburg hit a three-run home run in the first. Catcher Adley Rutschman had three hits and two RBIs. First baseman Ryan Mountcastle had two RBIs, and shortstop Gunnar Henderson had two more hits.

“I’ve been feeling really good. I’m feeling I’m in the right spot,” Henderson said. “I feel like I can put myself in the right position to put a good swing on the ball.”

Third baseman Ramón Urías homered in the fifth and non-roster outfielder Daniel Johnson homered in the seventh. The Orioles equaled their spring high with 12 runs.

“Over the last few days, we’ve definitely swung the bat very well,” Hyde said. “I love the at-bats we’re taking. I loved the way we used the whole field today. We took what the pitcher gave us. It’s nice to see us hit with some power. A great day to hit. We did drive the ball a few times. We split the gaps and ran the bases extremely well.”

“It’s awesome. Seeing guys just go out there and hit, seems like we’re hitting a lot throughout spring,” Henderson said. “Looking forward to carrying that into the season.”

Henderson didn’t play until March 4th because of left oblique soreness.

“Doesn’t take many at-bats. It’s just getting your body used to game speed,” Henderson said. “I feel like I’m in that right now.”

Yennier Cano threw a spotless fifth, his third shutout inning of the spring. Minor league reliever Morgan McSweeney gave up four runs in the ninth.

What’s up with?—Austin Hays has always been one of the highest-profile Orioles, but with the addition of Henderson, Rutschman and Jackson Holliday, the 28-year-old outfielder isn’t often in the limelight. But he likes that the team is.

“It’s good for the team. It’s good for the organization,” Hays said. “We’re getting a lot of national media coming into the clubhouse now, national media. You’re turning on pretty much every baseball channel on the TV, and it’s covering the Orioles.

“They’re talking about the Orioles. They’re talking about Adley. They’re talking about Jackson. They’re talking about a couple of the [moves] we made with [Craig] Kimbrel and with Burnes. I think it’s a really good thing.”

What’s what?— Holliday, the 20-year-old shortstop/second baseman who’s the top prospect in baseball, hasn’t shied away from media attention this spring. He’s eagerly answered questions from the national baseball reporters who’ve stopped by Sarasota.

“He’s playing as hard as he can,” Hyde said. “He doesn’t seem as if he’s in awe of the setting, being asked a lot of things because of people getting interviewed growing up [as the son of former major league player Matt Holliday]. I think that’s a huge help, knowing that you’re in the spotlight. You don’t need to be nervous about it or scared about it. It’s part of the day. You can’t tell that he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself. That’s incredibly impressive for someone who just turned 20.”

What’s the word? “Their time is going to come. You’ve got to be patient. That’s when your major league team is healthy and has a lot of depth.” Hyde on top prospects returning to Norfolk.

 What’s the number? .600, 1.425. Those are Henderson’s batting average and OPS after 15 at-bats.

What’s the record?  15-3-1 The Orioles host the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday.

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