Orioles' roster nearly final as spring training ends with 8-3 win over Twins; Rodriguez finishes strong - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Orioles’ roster nearly final as spring training ends with 8-3 win over Twins; Rodriguez finishes strong

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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FORT MYERS, Florida-What’s happening?—Spring training is over, and it’s on to the regular season. The Orioles begin defense of their American League East title on Thursday when Corbin Burnes faces Patrick Sandoval at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m.

“I think everybody’s ready to go,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s been a great camp. All our guys have gotten plenty of work.”

On Sunday, several moves were made that indicate the roster is nearly set unless there’s a late acquisition from outside the organization before the Thursday deadline for setting the roster.

Outfielder Colton Cowser was told on Sunday he made the team.

Right-handers Bryan Baker and Jonathan Heasley were optioned to minor league camp. Right-hander Julio Teheran and second baseman Kolten Wong, who had opted out of their minor league contracts, were released. Left-hander Andrew Suárez and catcher Maverick Handley were reassigned to minor league camp.

According to a source, infielder Nick Maton and outfielder Ryan McKenna were told they would not make the Opening Day roster. They must pass through waivers if the Orioles decide they’d like to keep them in the organization.

The Orioles have workouts in Sarasota on Monday morning and in Baltimore Tuesday night. Hyde tries not to get too excited about the Orioles’ excellent record this spring.

“I’ve seen really good teams be way under .500 in spring training,” Hyde said. “I’m not going to put any stock into it. I like the way we’ve played. Hopefully, we’ll continue the high level of play we’ve played defensively. I think our at-bats have gotten better over the course of the spring.

“I’ve been pleased with the style of play and how we’ve run the bases and the defense we’ve played. It is a new team. It’s a new year. I think we’re just as talented. We won a lot of games last year. I don’t want to put a number on it.”

What’s happened? Grayson Rodriguez, who’ll begin the season as the Orioles’ second starter, threw three scoreless innings as the Orioles concluded the Grapefruit League season with an 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins before 7,874 at Hammond Stadium on Sunday.

“That was the best he’s looked all spring,” Hyde said.

Rodriguez allowed two hits in three innings, walked one and struck out three, throwing 52 pitches.

“I definitely wanted to pitch up in the zone,” Rodriguez said. “I think we did that pretty well. I wanted to make sure we threw sliders into lefties, and did that, too. Changeup was working, and so was the curveball. Glad we could end this on a good note.’

His spring ERA was 3.07.

“It could always be better,” Rodriguez said of his spring. “Towards the beginning, I don’t think I was striking out enough people, wish that number was a little bit higher. We’re saving those for the season. That’s how we’ll put it.”

A year ago, Rodriguez was a late cut because he had an erratic spring. Things are different now.

“Obviously, you don’t want to be too relaxed in spring training, but just being able to come in here and get work and focus on things I need to make better, not necessarily just making the club, was able to help me out a lot,” Rodriguez said.

Cole Irvin gave up two runs on six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out one, throwing 80 pitches and reduced his ERA from 7.30 to 6.23.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson hit his second Grapefruit League home run, a 451-foot shot in the first inning. Ramón Urías’ second-inning sacrifice fly gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Edouard Julien was thrown out trying to score on Royce Lewis’ double to left in the first. Austin Hays threw to Henderson, who relayed it to McCann.

Ryan O’Hearn’s RBI double in the sixth gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Adley Rutschman hit a three-run homer that traveled 460 feet in the seventh, his third. Jordan Westburg had a two-run double in the eighth.

What’s up with?—Austin Hays was back in the Orioles’ lineup after he left Saturday night’s game with a bruised right shoulder after he was hit by a pitch.

Hays was 0-for-3, finishing the spring with a .138 average.

“I’ve definitely never been hit there by a pitch,” Hays said. “There are definitely worse places. I’m glad it didn’t hit me in the hands, the wrist or anything like that. It’s a pretty meaty area, no bones or anything there. It gave me a bruise. It gave me a dead arm. I felt like I couldn’t throw a ball.That’s whey I came out of the game.”

Hays hasn’t gotten to play as much as he likes his spring.

“It’s been a strange last week-and-a-half,” Hays said. “I had the stomach bug, and it seemed like it was a bad one.”

Hays is looking forward to getting additional at-bats on Monday and Tuesday before Thursday’s opener.

“This spring training has felt a little longer just because it’s been a normal camp for the first time in a while,” Hays said. “I’m ready for Opening Day.”

What’s what-It’s notable that with a young team, the Orioles are likely to have just one rookie, Cowser, on their Opening Day roster, and no players making their major league debut.

What’s the word? “It’s going to be 0-0 after today.”-Hyde on whether the Orioles’ Grapefruit League record matters.

What’s the number? .793. According to MLB.com’s Alex Fast, the Orioles had their highest spring training winning percentage in club history. Their 23 spring wins were not only the most in club history, but the most in the major leagues since 2017 and the highest win percentage in MLB since 2016.

What’s the record? 23-6-2. The Orioles will open the regular season on Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels at 3:05 p.m. at Camden Yards.

RAVENS NEWS from BaltimoreSports.com

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