Elias on Henderson being "flagship aspect" of player development's work with hitters

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The patience that executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias keeps preaching through the rebuild process, from number of wins at the major league level on down to the development of prospects, paused yesterday at Gunnar Henderson.

Henderson doubled yesterday at Double-A Bowie, walked twice, scored two runs and raised his average to .291 with a .988 OPS.

His age also is going to increase. He turns 21 next month.

Just a teenager when the Orioles selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft out of John T. Morgan Academy in Selma, Ala. They grow up so fast.

But there’s only one acceptable pace for the Orioles in player development.

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Watkins leaves early with injury, Orioles win in 11th (updated)

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The Orioles won’t rush a prospect to the majors, in terms of how they dictate the pace, just to fulfill an unexpected and ill-timed need on the major league roster. They’re adamant about it. There’s no gray area in black and orange besides the uniform.

They might need to do something about their rotation after Spenser Watkins threw 13 pitches today and was drilled on the right arm by a 106-mph line drive from Tampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi.

Watkins spun off the mound as third baseman Ramón Urías retrieved the ball, glanced home and threw late to first base. All three batters reached against Watkins, whose ouster forced Joey Krehbiel into a game that the Orioles rallied to tie with two outs in the ninth, just as a storm hit and halted play after three hours, 52 minutes.

It resumed following a 51-minute delay, Cionel Pérez tossed two scoreless innings, leaving the bases loaded in the top of the 11th, and Choi whiffed on Rougned Odor’s chopper to first base that scored automatic runner Adley Rutschman and gave the Orioles a 7-6 victory before an announced crowd of 23,778 to close out the homestand.

Chris Owings laid down a sacrifice bunt before Odor batted, and the Orioles had their third walk-off win in four days. Rutschman had his first major league run, with the play scored a fielder's choice and no error.

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Elias explains Rutschman promotion and more

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Adley Rutschman will have two home games on his major league resume before the Orioles hit the road again, his debut coming last night in front of an enthusiastic crowd that reacted to his every movement.

Rutschman will catch again Monday night in the Bronx after serving as designated hitter today. There was speculation that he might have his contract selected on the trip.

“It was tricky timing-wise,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said this morning while sitting in the dugout. “We wanted to get him up as soon as possible. I think we had hopes that he would break with the team in Sarasota. We had a very ill-timed injury. With it being on his throwing arm and him missing the entirety of spring training, it was not something we could rush. And so there was a very careful rehab process in Sarasota and then an equally careful workload and at-bat buildup in the lower minors, mid-minors, and then eventually Norfolk.

“Luckily, he seemed to hit the ground running from a hitting perspective, didn’t get a lot of indications that his timing was off from anything that he did at any of the three levels, and it was really just more about kind of building up the catching to ultimately checking the box of doing three days in a row, which is something that, if he had a normal spring training, (manager) Brandon Hyde is doing back-to-backs with the catchers, and Adley just missed all that. So, once that box was checked, we figured it was a live ball and then looking at the schedule, Yankee Stadium didn’t seem like a great option for a debut.

“It just seemed like he was ready and this weekend made the most sense. And now he will get the experience of going to play in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, which is cool for him, because that’s life in the AL East, then come back for a nice homestand around Memorial Day. So, I think the timing worked out as well as it could have given that we were constrained by his injury.”

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Rutschman batting fifth today (plus notes)

Rutschman batting fifth today (plus notes)

Adley Rutschman is serving today as the designated hitter and batting fifth in a lineup that the Orioles hope can provide enough runs to give them a series win over the Rays at Camden Yards.

The next eight games are on the road.

Rutschman made his major league debut last night and tripled in the seventh inning.

Trey Mancini is playing right field and Anthony Santander is in left. Austin Hays is out of the lineup.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman.

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Orioles reduced to optioning effective pitchers while shortening staff

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Follow the Orioles long enough and you can begin to compile a list of players who made brief stops, got their major league debuts out of the way and returned to the minors. Some came back later, others disappeared as if walking into a heavy fog or an Iowa cornfield.

There’s more than a kernel of truth to it.

If there must be some shuffling on the pitching staff, the club would prefer to do it based only on the need for fresher arms after a long game, homestand or road trip, not an epic failure. The conversations in the manager’s office are a little easier when they begin with, “It isn’t you, it’s me.”

As a team, you know that you’re trending in a good direction.

But there’s also the other side of it. Shaking hands for a job well done and arranging for travel papers.

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Rutschman triples in major league debut (updated)

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Adley Rutschman walked into the dugout around 6:30 p.m., turned and headed back into the tunnel. Photographers jostling for position on the other side of the railing lowered their arms. Stakeouts apparently come with a pause button.

Rutschman immediately came back, again in his full catching gear, walked up the steps and smiled as fans cheered and yelled his name. He wasn’t animated, but he noticed it.

The top pick in the 2019 draft is known as a big autograph signer, but the starting pitcher needed him in the bullpen.

Another ovation broke out as Rutschman’s name was read over the public address system, and again as he walked back from the bullpen to the dugout. The game hadn’t started and he already was bathed in sweat and showered with affection on a steamy evening at Camden Yards.

The major league debut of baseball’s No. 1 prospect was going to be rated a success just by getting him to Baltimore.

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Hyde: "It was fun to write the lineup out today"

Hyde: "It was fun to write the lineup out today"

Orioles fans arrived early at Camden Yards this afternoon, unable to pass through the gates but hopeful of scoring an autograph from catcher Adley Rutschman near the players’ entrance. Or at least get a glimpse of him.

A sign was hung outside Pickles Pub that read: “You Adley At Hello”

This is Rutschman’s day, for sure, but the Orioles had other business to handle, some of it more pleasant than others.

John Means avoided next Thursday’s arbitration hearing in New York by agreeing to a two-year contract, $5.925 million contract. The file-and-trial approach discarded again in a multi-year deal.

Means remains arbitration eligible in 2024, but his salary is set as he recovers from last month’s Tommy John surgery.

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Rutschman on his promotion, blocking out the noise, and more

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Adley Rutschman sat in Triple-A Norfolk manager Buck Britton’s office late last night and listened to advice about relaxing and just being himself, along with an explanation as to why he wasn’t in the lineup. Nodding his head. Exuding the same calmness that’s allowed him to thrive under enormous expectations. To never feel suffocated by the constant attention.

Then came the sneak attack by teammates - outfielder DJ Stewart reached him first - who knew he was called up to the majors and wanted to share in the moment. To intensify it, get physical with it.

His baseball world has been a blur since it happened, coming with its own spin rate.

Rutschman is batting sixth and catching rookie Kyle Bradish – purely coincidence, manager Brandon Hyde said - as the Orioles resume their series against the Rays at Camden Yards. He’s also going to be used as the designated hitter in certain games, but he won’t play first base.

The Orioles have plenty of other options.

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Rutschman catching and batting sixth

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Adley Rutschman makes his major league debut tonight as the Orioles’ No. 6 hitter in a lineup that looks a lot different with him in it.

Rutschman’s contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk this morning. The Orioles designated catcher Anthony Bemboom for assignment.

Rutschman will be catching Kyle Bradish, the No. 10 prospect in the system per MLBPipeline.com. Bradish, who’s a year older than Rutschman, has posted a 5.06 ERA and 1.359 WHIP in four major league starts.

Bradish has struck out 22 batters in 21 1/3 innings.

Ryan Mountcastle was activated from the injured list, as expected. A big day in Baltimore.

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Orioles promote Rutschman to majors

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The No. 1 prospect in baseball is coming to Baltimore today.

The Orioles are selecting the contract of catcher Adley Rutschman from Triple-A Norfolk, ending a wait that stretched beyond the patience of a fan base wondering when he’d finally debut.

Rutschman will report to Camden Yards this afternoon, wearing No. 35 and settling into a lineup that’s expected to carry him for many years to come.

Catcher Anthony Bemboom has been designated for assignment to create room on the 26 and 40-man rosters.

Rutschman, 24, was the first-overall selection in the 2019 draft, also the first for new executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias. He’s hit .282/.391/.488 in 179 games, with 38 doubles, three triples, 30 home runs and 110 RBIs in 778 plate appearances.

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Nevin producing with steadier playing time (plus Kjerstad update)

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Ryan Mountcastle is coming off the injured list this afternoon, ensuring that the Orioles make at least one roster move before playing the Rays at Camden Yards.

Maybe more with their bullpen on fumes.

Manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to use Bryan Baker last night. He’s had Cionel Pérez warm the last four nights, and the left-hander worked two-thirds of an inning in an 8-6, 13-inning win.

The Orioles are carrying 14 pitchers and could whittle the staff again to accommodate Mountcastle, but then they’re back to having multiple relievers down tonight. Otherwise, a position player is headed out the door.

Whatever. They’ll figure it out.

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Vespi makes victorious debut, Orioles finally solve Rays in 13 (updated)

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While the Orioles were beginning their home series tonight against the Rays, catcher Adley Rutschman sat on the visiting bench at Truist Field in Charlotte. The Triple-A Norfolk lineup card listed him among the reserves. He stood in front of the dugout for the anthem.

Any reported sightings at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport were done in jest.

The debut remains on hold, leaving fans to press for answers, some more aggressively than others, and a team to worry only about its opponent and life inside an unforgiving division.

The Yankees carried baseball’s best record out of Camden Yards, and the Rays walked in after beating the Orioles 18 times in 19 games last season and sweeping them this year in the opening series.

They won 15 in a row against the Orioles, their longest streak against any opponent in franchise history, and their last loss in Baltimore came in 2020.

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Notes on Mountcastle, Rutschman and more

Notes on Mountcastle, Rutschman and more

Ryan Mountcastle took batting practice on the field again today and is expected to be activated from the injured list prior to Saturday night’s game against the Rays.

Mountcastle hasn’t played since the Orioles scratched him from the May 11 lineup in St. Louis with discomfort in his left wrist and forearm. He went on the injured list a few days later.

“If everything goes well (today) and he doesn’t feel anything,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “he should be back in there tomorrow.”

A corresponding roster move must be made to accommodate Mountcastle.

The Orioles didn’t select catcher Adley Rutschman’s contract from Triple-A Norfolk. He apparently remains with the team in Charlotte as the Orioles begin another home series.

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Allen outrighted to Triple-A (plus Orioles lineup and notes)

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Left-hander Logan Allen has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles made the announcement this afternoon.

Allen was claimed on waivers from the Guardians and made three relief appearances before the Orioles designated him for assignment. He allowed two runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings, with two walks and one strikeout.

Tyler Nevin is starting at first base tonight for the series opener against the Rays. Nevin is 5-for-10 with two RBIs in his last three games.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman and Chris Owings is starting at second in another right-handed lineup.

Tyler Wells is making his eighth major league start. He’s registered a 4.18 ERA and 1.250 WHIP in 28 innings, with only four walks and four home runs allowed.

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Three more observations about the Orioles

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Another series is in the books and the Orioles have moved on to the Rays, who arrive at Camden Yards for three games.

Sportswriters are prisoners to lists of five, but three sounds right. So here are three more observations while I wait for the lineup to be posted – and for more questions about possible call-ups.

I swear, I don’t have any inside information on Jacob Nottingham.

* Trey Mancini keeps squaring up baseballs, but now they’re finding grass or the seats.

Mancini entered yesterday slashing .375/.444/.500 in May, the second-highest average in the American League and third-highest on-base percentage. He’s reached base in 13 consecutive games after lining a single into center field in the first inning, and is batting .360 (18-for-50) with two home runs and five RBIs during that span, including his 10-pitch single in the ninth inning that led to Anthony Santander’s walk-off home run.

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Orioles ignore stats and avoid sweep with 9-6 win (updated)

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This wasn’t just the clichéd two teams heading in opposite directions moment in today’s game. The red-hot Yankees, with the best record in baseball, versus an Orioles team with six losses in a row to fall 10 below .500.

The Orioles were 4-20 when their opponent scored first. The Yankees were 19-2, and they jumped Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann for two runs in the opening inning.

If the Orioles were getting on any sort of roll through the weekend, they’d first have to go off script.

The teams were tied four times as they closed out the series at Camden Yards. Three soft singles from the Yankees in the sixth inning appeared to doom the Orioles, but they reclaimed the lead in the bottom half and held it until two outs in the ninth.

DL LeMahieu’s fly ball in front of right fielder Anthony Santander scored Isiah Kiner-Falefa to destroy Jorge López’s bid for a four-out save. Félix Bautista left the bases loaded, and then Santander hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the Orioles’ 9-6 win before an announced crowd of 23,819 that prevented back-to-back series sweeps.

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Notes on Mullins, Mountcastle, Vespi, bullpen and more

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Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins is available to play today, but he’s beginning the game on the bench.

His health is fine.

“Just giving him a little breather,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Long stretch.”

The next day off is a week from today.

Ryan Mountcastle hit in the cage today and did some throwing, and he’s going to take batting practice on the field prior on Friday’s game against the Rays.

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Orioles lineup vs. Yankees

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The Orioles will try to avoid back-to-back sweeps and snap a six-game losing streak this afternoon with Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann on the mound.

Zimmermann has posted a 2.72 ERA and 1.211 WHIP in seven starts, with only three home runs surrendered in 36 1/3 innings. He’s already faced the Yankees twice this season, shutting them out over five innings in Baltimore and allowing three earned runs (four total) and seven hits in 4 1/3 in the Bronx.

Austin Hays was 0-for-18 before doubling twice and singling last night. He’s the leadoff hitter today with Cedric Mullins out of the lineup.

Assuming it’s a rest day, but we’ll check.

Ryan McKenna is playing center field in manager Brandon Hyde’s right-handed lineup. Ramón Urías is the designated hitter and Chris Owings is the second baseman.

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Means finding out again what he means to Orioles

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John Means walked into the Orioles’ clubhouse Tuesday afternoon, about five minutes before it closed to the media, with a long brace on his left arm, a broad smile on his face and his eyes scanning the room.

Searching for teammates who hadn't gone on the field.

Means began to walk toward the doors leading into the dining area, paused and took a sharp left to his locker. The nameplate was back above it. He joked that he was happy to find out he still had one.

The Orioles know that Means won’t pitch for them in 2022, but they want him to stay. To resume his leadership role, set the example, lift them during the down periods that strike a rebuilding club.

Even with one bad arm.

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Orioles trade Fry, Lyles goes long in 3-2 loss (updated)

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Less than a week after the Orioles designated Paul Fry for assignment, they found a trade partner for him and severed ties with their longest tenured pitcher.

Fry was sent to the Diamondbacks tonight for 19-year-old pitcher Luis Osorio, who spent his only professional season in 2021 in the Dominican Summer League.

Osorio, a native of Venezuela, posted a 5.83 ERA and 1.272 WHIP in 15 games, including six starts. He walked 20 batters and struck out 54 in 41 2/3 innings.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias has a fondness for acquiring young talent to stock the DSL rosters, moves he’s orchestrated multiple times at the trade deadline.

Osorio faced the Orioles’ DSL1 team on Sept. 16 and earned the win with four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out eight.

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