Henderson glad to be a shortstop this year; Orioles lose to Red Sox; Suárez a nice spring surprise - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Henderson glad to be a shortstop this year; Orioles lose to Red Sox; Suárez a nice spring surprise

Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel USA TODAY Sports


FORT MYERS, Florida-What’s happening?—Corbin Burnes, who will start on Opening Day for the Orioles on March 28th, will make his final spring start on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium at 6:05.

Burnes has allowed 11 runs on 14 hits in 10 2/3 innings for a 9.28 earned-run average in four starts. He’s struck out nine and walked two. He’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller.

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


Manager Brandon Hyde revealed that Burnes will be followed in the starting rotation by Grayson Rodriguez, Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer and Cole Irvin.

He also said that Jorge Mateo, who has played second, short and each of the three outfield positions this spring, has made the team.

With less than a week before the opener, the Orioles are eager to begin regular-season play.

“I think everybody’s kind of ready at this point,” Hyde said. “I feel like our pitchers are ready or close to being ready and our hitters, they can start tomorrow. They’ve had enough at-bats and games played now. Keeping our fingers crossed that we’re going to stay healthy these last few days. A little bit of a tuneup before we break. Everybody’s ready for a regular game.”

In minor league injury news, the Orioles placed right-hander Noah Denoyer on the Triple-A Norfolk full-season injured list, left-hander Jakob Hernandez and right-hander Nathan Webb on the 60-day injured list; right-hander Jean Pinto on the Double-A Bowie full-season injured list, right-hander Conner Loeprich on the 60-day injured list; right-handers Daniel Federman and Reese Sharp on the High-A Aberdeen full-season injured list; right-handers Hugo Beltran, Wyatt Cheney, infielder Adam Crampton, left-hander Andry Mercedes, and right-hander Trey Nordmann on the Single-A Delmarva full-season injured list.

 What’s happened? For the first time this spring, Gunnar Henderson played back-to-back games. Henderson was hitless in three at-bats in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox before 8,528 at JetBlue Park on Thursday night.

Before the game, Hyde said that Henderson would be the Orioles’ primary shortstop this season. Last year, he divided his time between shortstop and third base.

“It was what I was drafted at and what I played my whole life growing up,” Henderson said. “So, I’m looking forward to just getting some consistent playing time there. That’s the position I’m most comfortable … I feel like I can make big strides there.”

Entering spring training, Henderson was told he was going to play shortstop.

“I kind of had an idea, and I came in with the right mindset and was able to take most of my reps there and get really ready to play every day at short.”

Henderson didn’t play his first Grapefruit League game until March 4th because of a strained left oblique muscle, but he’s hit well. His spring average is .419 with a 1.083 OPS.

“I feel really good. I feel good in the box, feel good defensively,” Henderson said.

Albert Suárez pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits. The 34-year-old right-hander walked one and struck out two. His spring ERA is 5.17.

“This is the best spring I’ve had, pitching-wise, mechanics-wise,” Suárez said. “Everything’s in place. What I’ve been doing in the weight room is helping me a lot to get to know my body and how to create that force to home plate. I think that’s the big difference right now.”

Suárez, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since he was with San Francisco in 2017, won’t be in the Orioles’ rotation to begin the season but thinks he can help the team in 2024.

“I think I showed them that I’m ready to pitch in the major leagues,” Suárez said. “I don’t control the decision, obviously, but I did my best to show them I’m ready to pitch in the big leagues.”

Each spring training, the Orioles seem to find players other teams have passed on, but they find useful. Suárez could be the latest.

“I thought he threw the ball extremely well once again,” Hyde said. “That’s a great pickup for us, and we’re excited about it. I didn’t even know who he was coming in. Whatever we do with him, it’s one of those surprise guys that we talked about in the beginning of camp. He’s thrown the ball 96, 97. He knows how to pitch. He’s got a good cutter. He faced the varsity squad there for the Red Sox.”

Suárez was signed by the Orioles last September after five years in Japan and South Korea.

“He’s pitched in a lot of different places, and I know he’s appreciative to be here, and we’re appreciative that we signed him — the coaching staff is,” Hyde said. “They did a great job scouting him.”

Minor league left-hander Trey McGough, an alumnus of Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, allowed two runs in the seventh.

What’s up with?—Adley Rutschman isn’t surprised that the Orioles have an excellent record in Grapefruit League play.

“I think our guys, regardless of whether the games matter or don’t matter, come with the same intent every day,” Rutschman said. “That’s to play as hard as they can. Guys show up to the ballpark and are ready to go. That’s a mindset thing that doesn’t change. It shows how competitive the guys are.”

A year ago, Rutschman was the center of attention in the clubhouse. National baseball writers were eager to interview him. Now, it’s 20-year-old Jackson Holliday who’s the most sought after for interviews.

“It’s always been about playing ball,” Rutschman said. “The attention stuff, for me, should always be on the team. It should always be on what we’re doing as a collective group. I’m glad to see Jackson getting his attention because he deserves it and he’s extremely talented. It was never about one guy on the team, never about me, and we’ve got a lot of special guys in the locker room.”

What’s what- The Orioles and Coca-Cola signed a multi-year agreement to sell Coca-Cola products at Camden Yards. Previously, the Orioles sold Pepsi-Cola products.

What’s the word? “You can’t coach speed. I feel like he’s going to make a difference on the basepath. Wherever he is, he’s going to make a difference, and that’s just the beauty of his ability. He’s a difference-maker, no matter where he is.”-Henderson on what Jorge Mateo brings to the Orioles.

 What’s the number? 19. Suárez leads the Orioles with 19 strikeouts in the Grapefruit League.

 What’s the record? 20-6-2. The Orioles will host the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:05 p.m. on Friday at Ed Smith Stadium.

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