Latest on Lowther's recovery from shoulder injury


The annual revealing of the non-roster invites for spring training bring equal parts curiosity over the biggest names and the group of suspicious omissions. The latter can be fueled by prospect status or by previous opportunities in the majors. There's got to be a reason for the exclusion.

The same holds true when the Orioles share their list of extra players brought over from minor league camp for home games or the travel roster.

Zac Lowther was absent from all of it.

Didn’t receive an invitation, didn’t appear at Ed Smith Stadium or on the team bus.

So, what exactly is going on with Lowther, 27, who made his major league debut in 2021, got one relief appearance the following season and seems to have disappeared?

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Orioles can't contain Ohtani at plate in 9-5 loss (updated)


Shohei Ohtani the pitcher didn’t impress tonight at Camden Yards.

Shohei Ohtani the hitter was a destructive force.

The walk and single were tame compared to the 456-foot three-run homer in the fourth inning that further shredded Grayson Rodriguez’s much-hyped start opposite baseball’s two-way terror.

A two-out triple off Logan Gillaspie in the fifth, followed by Hunter Renfroe’s second double of the night, built on the legend of Ohtani. The single in the ninth on a two-strike pitch from Mike Baumann made him the first starting pitcher to reach base at least five times since the Yankees’ Mel Stottlemyer on Sept. 26, 1964 in D.C.

The crowd groaned. It wanted the cycle.

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Hyde on Stowers: "Just want to see him get the confidence going again" (and other notes)

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Orioles manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t know how long outfielder Kyle Stowers will stay down in the minors after the club optioned him following yesterday’s game. Could be more than a quick reset. What’s important is making sure that a different version of Stowers returns.

“Just like to see him get his confidence back a little bit, get some regular at-bats,” Hyde said today during his media session. “He was swinging the bat so well before he came up here. Just want to see him get the confidence going again.”

Stowers struck out four times yesterday against the Pirates, raising his total to 12, and was 2-for-30 before his second demotion.

“Talking to him after the game yesterday, felt it was important for him to get consistent at-bats,” Hyde said. “That’s a tough adjustment up here. It’s very normal to have player struggles or scuffles, but we really believe in him as a hitter and what he’s going to be like. Just want to see him go play.”

Hyde and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias met with Stowers yesterday and explained the reasons behind the move.

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Santander starting at first base tonight

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The Orioles begin a four-game home series against the Angels tonight with Anthony Santander starting at first base and Terrin Vavra playing right field.

Santander hasn’t played first in the majors. He made nine starts in A ball in 2016.

Also in the lineup against Shohei Ohtani are Ryan Mountcastle as the designated hitter and Adam Frazier at second base. Jorge Mateo is back at shortstop after resting yesterday.

The Orioles’ 26 wins are the most through 40 games since 2012. The club record is 28 in 1970, followed by 27 in 1997 and 1969.

All five Orioles with 20 or more RBIs are under 30 years old, tying them with the Rays for the most, according to STATS.

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Orioles option Stowers and recall Gillaspie

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The Orioles have optioned outfielder Kyle Stowers for the second time this season.

They announced the latest move this morning, though Stowers was informed after yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Pirates at Camden Yards.

Reliever Logan Gillaspie is joining the club from Triple-A Norfolk, where Stowers is headed after striking out four times yesterday to raise his season total to 12.

Stowers accounted for four of the team’s 17 strikeouts. He’s 2-for-30 in 14 games, with three walks and one run scored.

The Orioles broke camp with Stowers and sent him down April 9 while reinstating backup catcher James McCann from the injured list. Stowers barely had played, going hitless in four at-bats.

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Rodriguez looking forward to encounter with Ohtani


Grayson Rodriguez’s last swing as a senior at Central Heights High School in Nacogdoches, Tx. resulted in a home run in a game that his team was losing by a huge margin. The opposing pitcher was working on a perfect game. The details remain fresh in his mind.

They also bring a smile years later, as he marvels at Shohei Ohtani’s dominance on the mound and at the plate with the Los Angeles Angels. A two-way All-Star player who intrigues Rodriguez, an accomplished prep hitter whose days holding a bat in his hands are far behind him.

The Orioles are invested in the right arm that could make him a staff ace.

Rodriguez will do more than face Ohtani tonight when the Angels visit Camden Yards. They’re also the game’s starting pitchers.

“That’s going to feel like the big leagues for sure,” Rodriguez said yesterday. “Obviously, seeing somebody like that, of that caliber who’s arguably the face of baseball right now. It’s going to be pretty different to see the guy you’re going against on the mound also step up in the box. I’m pretty ready for that.”

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Orioles shut out for third time and fail to sweep series (updated)

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Former Orioles starter Scott Erickson stood at his locker after a poor outing and offered a simple explanation to reporters for what happened to him, why the opposition kept getting on base. One sentence that said plenty about his pitching and his dour personality.

“I can make them hit it on the ground,” he said flatly, “but I can’t direct where it goes.”

Next question.

Kyle Gibson has a much better rapport with the media, but his luck this afternoon mirrored what Erickson experienced that day.

The seven Pirates hits were singles, with none of the launch angles registering above 14 degrees via Statcast data. A strikeout/wild pitch fueled a rally in the third that included ground balls from Ke’Bryan Hayes and Ji Hwan Bae that found holes on the right side of the infield and accounted for three runs.

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Orioles updates on McKenna, Urías, Givens, Tate and more

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Outfielder Ryan McKenna said he’s available to play this afternoon if the Orioles want to bring him off the bench.

McKenna underwent an MRI on his lower back that didn’t reveal any structural damage. He’s receiving treatment for soreness that began as the Orioles were finishing their trip in Atlanta.

“It seems to be nothing too crazy for concern,” he said. “I’m ready for today if they need me. Just got some sprint work in and it feels pretty good today.”

McKenna hasn’t batted since Monday. He was used as a defensive replacement the next two nights in the ninth inning but hasn’t played against the Pirates.

“I felt it more when I was coming back from that road trip,” he said. “I think I just let my body get a little too tight and it caused some pressure in places that I didn’t really like. Just trying to maintain mobility in some areas and I’ll be good to go.”

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Ortiz recalled, gets start at shortstop

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The Orioles have reduced their pitching staff to 12 this morning by optioning left-handed reliever Nick Vespi and recalling infielder Joey Ortiz from Triple-A Norfolk.

Ortiz arrived yesterday and joined the 24-hour taxi squad because outfielder Ryan McKenna is receiving treatment for a sore back. McKenna has avoided the injured list, but Ortiz maintains a healthy four-man bench.

Jorge Mateo is one of the reserves today, with Ortiz starting at shortstop and batting ninth. Adley Rutschman also is on the bench.

Vespi was the second Orioles pitcher to be recalled last week and fail to appear in a game. Drew Rom spent a couple of days in the bullpen without making his major league debut.

It also happened to Spenser Watkins while the Orioles were in Chicago.

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Urías timetable for return, McCann's surprise achievement, praise for González

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Orioles infielder Ramón Urías is facing a new opponent.

The amount of time spent recovering from a left hamstring strain.

Urías said yesterday that his leg feels “much better.” He didn’t seem to be limping as he walked across the clubhouse to his locker.

The Orioles put Urías on the 10-day injured list Tuesday after he left the previous night’s game against the Rays in the ninth inning. He was running to first base on a single and felt the hamstring grab.

“It was just a little bit,” he said.

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Wells is nearly unhittable and Orioles claim another series (updated)

Wells is nearly unhittable and Orioles claim another series (updated)

The party rages on with the Orioles.

All of the wins, the water games, the loud music and light shows in the clubhouse. Selling tickets at Camden Yards should be replaced by a cover charge.

They’re mashing, they’re splashing, they’re 13 games above .500 for the first time since the final game of the 2016 season.

Mike Elias wasn’t kidding when he said the rebuild was behind them.

Starter Tyler Wells was in a zone that didn’t include water, shutting out the Pirates on one hit in seven innings, Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson homered early, and the Orioles defeated the Pirates 2-0 before an announced crowd of 21,926.  

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Notes on McKenna's sore back and Ortiz's arrival, González's managerial assignment, Watkins' progress and more

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Orioles outfielder Ryan McKenna is dealing with some back soreness, which explains why infielder Joey Ortiz showed up today from Triple-A Norfolk with his bags in hand.

Ortiz is on the 24-hour taxi squad in case McKenna goes on the injured list. Ortiz will return to the Tides on Sunday if he isn’t recalled.

Teams normally are allowed to carry only a catcher on the taxi squad, but a potential IL situation is an exception.

The Orioles started Ortiz at second base against left-handers in three games at Comerica Park in late April before optioning him. The major league debut is out of the way.

McKenna wasn’t used as a defensive replacement last night due to his condition. He received more treatment on the back this afternoon but was walking around the clubhouse.

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Orioles lineup vs. Pirates

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Fredi González is managing the Orioles tonight while Brandon Hyde is at Syracuse University for daughter Aria’s graduation, and their bench coach is hoping to guide the team to its ninth series win in 10 tries.

Joey Ortiz is in the clubhouse today. A new rule allows a non-catcher to join the taxi squad for 24 hours. Ortiz will return to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday if he isn’t placed on the active roster.

Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter tonight. The infield includes Adam Frazier at second base, Gunnar Henderson at third and Jorge Mateo at shortstop.

Cedric Mullins hit for the cycle last night and is slashing .316/.414/.547 (30-for-95) with seven doubles, three triples, three home runs, 23 RBIs, 12 runs scored, 16 walks, and seven stolen bases in 27 games since April 12.

Adley Rutschman leads the American League with 31 walks.

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Logjams forming at multiple levels in Orioles organization

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Colton Cowser led off Thursday night’s game in Jacksonville by homering on the first pitch, the ball clocked at 110.3 mph off the bat and slamming off the back row of bleachers in right field before arcing back onto the warning track. Jumbo Shrimp outfielder Jerar Encarnación was forced to watch and retrieve.

Cowser led off the third inning with another home run, this time to the opposite field. His second left-on-left assault of the night.

He settled for a single into left field in his next at-bat. Going easy on ‘em.

An intentional walk in the seventh put the finishing touches on another monster game for Cowser, the fifth-overall draft pick in 2021. But this isn’t just about Cowser, who singled in his first two at-bats last night and drove in a run, and drew a walk in his next plate appearance. Many fists are rapping on the door that leads inside Camden Yards.

Many decisions are pending for the Orioles, who don’t feel rushed to make them.

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Cedric Mullins hits for cycle in Orioles' wet and wild 6-3 win (updated)


Cedric Mullins lined a triple into right-center field tonight in the fifth inning and the dry spell was over. The Orioles had their third hit, the first for extra bases. The new splash zone in section 86 was activated, with a hose dousing fans thirsting for a run.

They settled for the water.

Mullins would make certain that they got everything they wanted by the eighth inning. Heavy pouring of offense, the massive hydration with throats raw from cheering, a memory to cherish.

The center fielder hit a three-run homer to complete the cycle, just as the dugout urged him to do, in a 6-3 win over the Pirates before an announced crowd of 25,682.

Austin Hays was the last Orioles player to achieve the cycle, on June 22, 2022 against the Nationals. Mullins sent a changeup from Duane Underwood Jr. onto the flag court with two outs after Terrin Vavra, celebrating his 26th birthday, extended the inning with a walk.

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Notes on Urías' hamstring, Givens' knee, Vespi's arrival, Rodriguez's innings and more

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Orioles manager Brandon Hyde saw Ramón Urías in the weight room this afternoon and said the infielder’s left hamstring is improving through rehab sessions.

What hasn’t changed is the anticipated length of Urías’ absence from the active roster. He won’t be back after his 10 days have passed.

“He’s doing well,” Hyde said. “I think the timetable’s still the same. It’s going to be two or three weeks, but he’s progressing extremely well and right now he’s just getting a ton of treatment and doing some exercises in the weight room, but hasn’t done anything besides that.”

Reliever Mychal Givens said his left knee felt good after he pitched Wednesday and Thursday with Double-A Bowie on his rehab assignment. His activation from the injured list is approaching.

“I think he’s pretty close,” Hyde said. “We might try to give him another outing, and then we’re going to continue to monitor from there, go from there.”

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Orioles lineup vs. Pirates

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The Orioles have a third left-hander in their bullpen again after recalling Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk. He replaces Drew Rom, who was optioned after Wednesday’s game.

Vespi underwent sports hernia surgery in January and didn’t break camp with the team. He allowed four runs and struck out 17 batters in 12 2/3 innings with the Tides.

Vespi didn’t allow an earned run with Norfolk last season over 28 2/3 innings. He made 25 appearances with the Orioles and was 5-0 with a 4.10 ERA and 1.405 WHIP in 26 1/3 innings.

Kyle Stowers is in right field tonight and trying to heat up after a 2-for-24 start. He’s batting ninth.

Adam Frazier remains in the fifth spot in the order, followed by Austin Hays and Gunnar Henderson.

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Facing slumping team won't cause Orioles' focus to pass the Bucs (updated)

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The Orioles begin another series tonight against another team that’s above .500. And this is where the similarities slam into a closure.

The Pirates arrive having lost nine of their last 10 games, but they remain atop the National League Central.

Try doing that in the American League East. Go ahead.

Letdown games and series aren’t permissible, and the rebuilt Orioles are in no way inclined to feel the urge.

True that they just got done with the Braves and Rays, going 3-3 against teams with the two best records in baseball and suffering a pair of late one-run losses at Truist Park, but they aren’t judging the Pirates based on a recent streak of ugliness.

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Rom returning to minors


Drew Rom’s major league debut remains on hold.

So close, but unable to capture it.

The Orioles announced that they optioned Rom to Triple-A Norfolk following last night’s 2-1 win over the Rays at Camden Yards. A corresponding move is coming Friday when they begin a three-game series against the Pirates that’s situated in the middle of their homestand.

Rom was summoned on Monday within a flurry of roster moves that included the return of infielder/outfielders Ryan O’Hearn and Terrin Vavra. Keegan Akin was optioned, with Rom replacing him as left-handed long relief.

Infielder Ramón Urías went on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring, and catcher Luis Torrens was designated for assignment. Torrens' situation hasn't been resolved.

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Catching up with Vavra and his newest position

Terrin Vavra dugout

The lead was large and the plan was in place.

Terrin Vavra found out in the top of the seventh inning of an April 29 game in Charlotte that he’d switch from playing third base to catching for the first time as a professional. Take your at-bat, put on the gear and replace starter Maverick Handley with Triple-A Norfolk ahead 16-1.

In a weird coincidence, as so many of them are, Nicholas Padilla nailed Handley with a pitch, bruised the hand and forced him onto the seven-day injured list. Vavra was the next batter, and he doubled with the bases loaded to score two more runs as part of his five-hit day in a 20-1 win.

Vavra was going to catch anyway, but the change wasn’t supposed to be that painful. He handled the last three innings without incident – the Knights had three baserunners, each of them reaching with two outs and none inclined to steal with such a lopsided margin – and an emergency backstop was born.

The idea actually was hatched late in 2022, and the Orioles began working with him in spring training. But the game in Charlotte made it seem more real.

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