Rodriguez improves in Orioles' win over Pirates; Holliday strikes out against Skenes in prospects' showcase -
Spring Training

Rodriguez improves in Orioles’ win over Pirates; Holliday strikes out against Skenes in prospects’ showcase

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


BRADENTON, Florida-What’s happening?- Dean Kremer will start for the fourth time this spring when the Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Kremer has allowed five runs on eight hits in eight inning, striking out eight and walking three.

The Rays will start Naoyuki Uwasawa.


Kyle Bradish, who will begin the season on the injured list with a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, on Wednesday in a bullpen session.

“Felt good. Happy to be back out there,” Bradish said. “It’s been a while.”

Bradish hopes to have another side session in the next few days.

“I’ve been optimistic through this whole rehab,” Bradish said. “It’s just another step in the right direction. We haven’t had any setbacks or anything like that. We’ve [checked] every box.”

Manager Brandon Hyde was impressed with two prospects who were reassigned to minor league camp on Wednesday, 25-year-old right-hander Chayce McDermott and 23-year-old left-hander Cade Povich.

“A phone call away,” Hyde said. “I was really impressed with those guys. They threw the ball great and we have high hopes for them. They just need a little bit more Triple-A experience, but they’re getting really close, and they know it, and how they’ve thrown this spring opened up a lot of eyes on the major league staff.

“We’re really impressed by them as people, but also their stuff. The right thing for them to do is get some more minor league innings at this point, and hopefully they can help us sometime this year.”

The Orioles still have 50 players in camp.

“We’ll make some moves here over the next 10 days sporadically,” Hyde said. “We still have a long way to go. We still have half our camp to cut down. I’m not going to cut 24 guys in one day. I don’t know when those days are going to come, either. We need to get our numbers lower from a working standpoint.”

Three Oriole games have been scheduled for ApplePlus streaming: (Milwaukee at Orioles-April 12th), (Arizona at Orioles-May 10th), (Orioles at Chicago White Sox-May 24th).

What’s happened? Grayson Rodriguez allowed two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings as the Orioles defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2, before 6,913 at LECOM Park on Thursday.

Pittsburgh scored a run in the first when Connor Joe led off with a double and scored on two infield outs. Billy McKinney’s RBI single in the second was the second run against Rodriguez.

Rodriguez retired the side in order in the third, but Jack Suwinski’s fly out to right came on the 11th pitch of the at-bat.

“That felt like a regular-season at-bat right there,” Rodriguez said. “That was a battle. I definitely wasn’t going to give up. He did a good job fouling a bunch of pitches off.”

“He was on the attack,” Hyde said about Rodriguez. “Continuing to throw strikes, trusting his stuff in the strike zone, not nibbling, getting behind in the count. He’s got such good stuff. He’s just got to be able to attack hitters. He’ll put guys away with two strikes and not get into such deep counts all the time and behind in the count all the time.”

Rodriguez walked two and struck out two, throwing 76 pitches.

“I think it got a lot better toward the back end of the outing,” Rodriguez said. “A little sluggish in the first. Bad slider to start off the game, a double to Joe. That’s a pitch we’re still working on, so we’re going to keep working.

In four starts, Rodriguez has a spring ERA of 3.86.

“I was excited about his last two innings,” Hyde said. ‘The tempo was really good. The strike -hrowing ability looked much better. I thought he was feeling for it the first couple of innings.”

Craig Kimbrel allowed a hit and struck out one in his fourth inning of the spring. It was his second consecutive scoreless outing.

“Fastball looked like it had a little bit more life,” Hyde said. “A little bit more every single time. Trending in the right direction.”

Jonathan Heasley threw a scoreless seventh, and Nick Vespi threw two scoreless innings for the save.

Cedric Mullins was hitless in three at-bats. Mullins was playing in his first game since March 4th when he left with right hamstring discomfort.

The Orioles scored in the second on walks to Austin Hays and Ramón Urias and a run-scoring single by Jorge Mateo.

Kyle Stowers hit a three-run home run against Ryan Borucki, his fourth of the spring, all against left-handers, in the seventh.

“That was loud and long,” Hyde said. “Kyle came into camp doing everything right. He’s making the most of the opportunity and swinging the bat well.”

Oriole prospects drop Spring Breakout

Fans who attended the Orioles-Pirates game could stay for the Spring Breakout game between the Orioles and Pirates prospects, and a large percentage of those watching the first game waited the hour, 45 minutes between games.

Prospects from both teams sat for autograph sessions during the break.

The game featured little offense. Enrique Bradfield Jr., the Orioles’ top pick in the 2023 draf,t bunted for a single, the team’s only hit ,as the Pirates won, 3-1.

On February 29th, Paul Skenes, last year’s overall No. 1 pick by the Pirates, retired Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 pick in 2022, on a grounder to second. In the rematch, Skenes, who worked a spotless inning in Sarasota last month, struck out Holliday as he pitched another perfect inning.

“It was a fun at-bat. Good pitches get hitters out sometimes,” Holliday said. “It’s a neat event. I think they’ll be able to run with it and get a little bit more stuff into it as the years go.”

Holliday lined into a double play in the third after Bradfield bunted for Cade Povich, allowed two runs on two hits in three innings. He walked two and struck out four. The Pirates’ second run scored on a balk.

“It didn’t feel like a normal game,” Povich said. “I had to remind myself it was still a spring training game … It had a good real game vibe to it.”

The Orioles scored their run in the second without a hit.

Nineteen-year-old Samuel Basallo, the Orioles’ catcher/first baseman who’s been restricted to designated hitter work because he’s rehabbing a stress fracture in his right elbow, walked to start the second and was removed for Luis Valdez, who stole second and third and scored on Jud Fabian’s sacrifice fly. Valdez stole 71 bases for Single-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen in 2022.

Basallo returned in the fourth and struck out.

“This was the first one, and hopefully there will be many more,” Bradfield said. “It was cool to take the field with guys who’ve been in the org for a little while or at higher levels. It’s getting that experience of playing with guys that are going to be the future of the organization. It was fun.”

What’s up with?—Jacob Webb has allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings this spring. Webb, who doesn’t have any options left, is hoping to secure a spot in the bullpen.

“I might not have gotten the results I’ve wanted,” Webb said. “But I feel like [the way] my pitches are going, I feel like I’m pretty sharp right now…For the most part I feel my pitches are working pretty well.”

Webb knows the competition is intense.

“There are just a lot of good arms on this team. I try not to go too in depth about that. I wish everybody luck. Everyone wants to see everyone else do well as well.”

What’s what?-Spring Breakout featured a challenge on a ball/strike call. In the bottom of the second, Povich challenged a ball call that was reversed. That’s a system that may eventually be featured in the major leagues.

“I got to experience it a little bit in Triple-A,” Povich said. “I don’t think you can get any closer on the edge of that. It worked out.”

What’s the word? “I think he was probably throwing about 110.”-Holliday on Skenes’ fastball.

 What’s the number? 0-for-6. The Orioles’ best-known prospects, Holliday, third baseman Coby Mayo and second baseman Connor Norby were hitless in six at-bats in Spring Breakout. They each left after 4 ½ innings.   

What’s the record?  16-4-1. The Orioles will play the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Friday at 1:05 p.m.

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