Orioles' Mayo, Norby enjoyed Spring Breakout: 'Your heart was pumping a little bit more' - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Orioles’ Mayo, Norby enjoyed Spring Breakout: ‘Your heart was pumping a little bit more’

Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida—Three of the starters in Thursday night’s Spring Breakout game are on the trip for the Orioles’ Friday game in Port Charlotte against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jackson Holliday, Connor Norby and Coby Mayo combined to go 0-for-6 against the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top pitching prospects. Holliday, the No. 1 pick in 2022, struck out against last year’s No. 1 pick, Paul Skenes, and Norby grounded out to third. Skenes, a 6-fot-6, 21-year-old right-hander, pitched only the first inning, his fastball clocking 101 mph.

“He’s pretty good,” Norby said. “He got me on a two-seam [fastball] at my hands. He must have [read] his report well. He obviously has a really good arm, electric stuff.”

The Orioles’ prospects had just one hit, a bunt single by last year’s top pick, outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr., in their 3-1 loss that was on the MLB Network.

“It was cool,” Norby said. “We’re facing their guys. They’re facing our guys. I was getting to play with some of he guys I hadn’t played with since Low-A, High-A, Double-A and some guys I hadn’t even played with. It was a good event they put on, and they should keep doing it every year.”

Each major league team is playing in at least one Spring Breakout game in what is likely to be a recurring event. The attendance for the Orioles-Pirates game that preceded the prospects showcase at LECOM Park in Bradenton was 6,319, and a surprising number of fans stayed one hour, 45 minutes for Spring Breakout.

“It was different. I wouldn’t say it was like a normal spring training game,” Norby said.

Left-hander Cade Povich, who started for the Orioles, challenged a ball call that was overturned, something that last year’s Triple-A players were used to, but hasn’t been used in major league spring training this year.

“It was funny because the fans got all fired up on the challenge,” Norby said. “It was like we did that all year in Triple-A. It was shown on a national stage, and what it can do. I’m a big fan of the challenge system because it gives the players something back where if you feel like a call is wrong, especially in a big spot, you’d want to have the ability to challenge it and see what the call is, actually … Overall, fun night. I enjoyed it.”

Before the game, players sat for autograph sessions with fans. After it, families gathered on the field with players, an atmosphere not generally seen in baseball.

“I think it’s something that’s going to happen for a long time,’ Mayo said. “I think it was a good experience for a lot of the young guys we had playing. To see those pitchers was good. They threw some really good arms at us. I know it wasn’t the result we wanted. It was a fun game and good atmosphere.”

Mayo, 22, and Norby, 23, have now been in Grapefruit League games and were part of Norfolk’s Triple-A championship team in 2023.

“It kind of felt like one of those big playoff games in a way,” Mayo said. “Your heart was pumping a little bit more before that game. It was a big deal to Major League Baseball. The game was televised, and you’re going to be facing some really good arms. You had a little bit extra juice in that game. It felt like a real regular-season game, if not a playoff game, in a way.”

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