Reviewing and looking ahead to the final days of Orioles' spring training - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Reviewing and looking ahead to the final days of Orioles’ spring training

Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida—In eight days, March 25th, the Orioles will play their final Grapefruit League game, and much will happen between now and then.

Spring training started with some jarring news. Starting pitchers Kyle Bradish (sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow) and John Means (recovering from a sore left elbow) would start the season on the injured list. Infielder Gunnar Henderson, the 2023 Rookie of the Year, had a strained left oblique muscle.  The Orioles’ No. 2 prospect, 19-year-old catcher/first baseman Samuel Basallo, was recovering from a stress fracture in his right elbow.

But other than infielder Connor Norby missing tine with a side injury, and the scare centerfielder Cedric Mullins gave everyone when he walked off the field on March 4th with hamstring discomfort, the injury news has mostly been good.

Henderson returned to action on March 4th. Basallo has served as the designated hitter in games, including the Spring Breakout this week. He was reassigned to minor league camp before Saturday’s game.

Bradish and Means both threw side sessions this week, and Mullins returned on Thursday.

On Saturday, first baseman Ryan Mountcastle wasn’t in the lineup because of a stiff neck; Anthony Santander, who started six games at first last season, took his place. Outfielder Austin Hays also sat out because of illness.

“I’m moving these guys around, and Santander played first base for us a little bit last year,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Keeping the option open with him.”

There are 49 players in camp. Closer Félix Bautista is on the 60-day injured list and won’t pitch this season after having Tommy John surgery.

Hyde reiterated that Bradish and Means wouldn’t be with the club at the start of the regular season.

“He’s still a ways away,” Hyde said of Means.

Here’s what’s ahead:

Massive cuts: Excluding Bautista, Bradish and Means, that leaves 46 players, so the Orioles will need to cut 20 players.

The Orioles still have five catchers, three more than they’ll need for the season. With Adley Rutschman and James McCann on hand, there won’t be a place for David Bañuelos, Maverick Handley and Michael Pérez—unless there’s an injury.

Beyond that, the decisions will be difficult. Norby and Coby Mayo have had impressive camps, but barring injuries, there may not be a place on the Opening Day roster.

The most anticipated decision is whether 20-year-old shortstop/second baseman Jackson Holliday will begin the season with the Orioles. Holliday, who wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday, is hitting .294 with an .873 OPS. He has struck out 13 times and walked just once this spring.

Setting the bullpen

Julio Teheran will start Sunday against Detroit at Lakeland. Since the 33-year-old right-hander signed a minor league contract with the Orioles on February 29th, he’s entered the conversation as a possible long man.

He’s one of only three non-roster pitchers still in camp. Left-hander Andrew Suárez, 31, and right-hander Albert Suárez, 34, remain in camp.

Many relievers with major league experience are vying for the final spots: Keegan Akin, Bryan Baker, Jonathan Heasley, Matt Krook, Kaleb Ort, Nick Vespi, Jacob Webb and Bruce Zimmermann are still in the picture.

Strong camps from Mike Baumann and Dillon Tate have boosted their chances of making the Opening Day roster.

RAVENS NEWS from BaltimoreSports.com

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