Adley Rutschman arrives at Bowie, talks about next steps

Catcher Adley Rutschman’s rise toward his major league debut took another big step last night as he began a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie when the Baysox opened a six-game series at Prince George’s Stadium against Harrisburg.

Rutschman’s chances to make the O’s opening day roster were dashed early in big league spring training by a strained right triceps. But he’s doing much better now and last week at high Single-A Aberdeen he went 6-for-13 with three doubles. He went 4-for-5 on Saturday for the IronBirds.

Several reporters, including those from the "MASN All Access" crew, interviewed Rutschman before Tuesday’s game at Bowie.

“Felt great so far. I think the training staff, all the coaches, they’ve just done a tremendous job so far," Rutschman said of his return to game action. "Helped me feel right at home and get me back in the swing of things. It’s been great.

“Just continue now to keep progressing forward. Just trying to feel good and stay healthy. Get to see guys and keep those relationships up. Last week was a great week. Got to see all the guys and now looking forward to this week.”

All that is keeping Rutschman off the Orioles roster, it seems now, is enough game action to be back as a full-go and productive player. That should take some time but maybe not an extended period.

“I mean, I’m just trying to stay focused, stay on the path and continue to try to feel healthy," Rutschman said. "And results will come as they may. Just focusing on being with this (Bowie) team right now.”

The Baysox lost 6-5 to Harrisburg Tuesday evening as Rutschman went 1-for-4 with a double to right in the fifth. He scored twice. Teammate Gunnar Henderson hit a three-run homer and added an RBI single. He went 3-for-4 and is batting .279 with a .941 OPS.

With the Baysox, Rutschman gets reunited with Henderson, another O’s top 100 prospect. Rutschman and Henderson were the first two O’s draft picks by executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, with the catcher taken No. 1 overall and Henderson 42nd in the 2019 draft.

“I’m looking forward to it (playing with Henderson),” Rutschman said pregame. “He was my first roommate down in Florida, when we first got drafted. And we’ve just had these fortunate opportunities to be together at the alt site and whatnot. So, first time we’ll be in the lineup together, I think. Looking forward to it and it’s going to be fun.”

Last week Rutschman was with an Aberdeen club that is now 16-5 and has the best record of the O’s four full-season affiliates.

“They’ve got a lot of good team chemistry going on,” Rutschman said of the IronBirds. “I love the way they approach every single day. They bring energy and are exciting to be there playing. That speaks volumes to, obviously, their record so far. They have a chance to get better and they just bring it every day.

“I just love the way that whole team is approaching their business on a day-to-day basis there. You know, they definitely have baseball minds and are just open to learning all the new things that the Orioles have to offer as far as the pitching structure and attack plans go. I think they have great minds for it and have great stuff, as I saw last week. Great people as well, and fortunate also they have electric stuff.”

And they pitched well last night as Jean Pinto went four innings and Ignacio Feliz the last five to combine on a three-hit, 3-1 win over Brooklyn. Aberdeen's latest win came as the duo needed just 105 combined pitches and the game took just an hour and 48 minutes.

Meanwhile, back at Bowie, Rutschman was asked about eventually joining the Orioles and catching pitchers that have been better than expected so far in 2022.

“The ultimate goal is to be in the big leagues and so, obviously, there is a part of you that wants to be there. And wants that to be as soon as possible," he said before heading off to batting practice. "But you have to stay present and enjoy where you are at at the moment, and enjoy the moments leading up to where you go. Just fortunate now to be here, be healthy and be playing."

Still looking for offense: The Orioles have lost the first two games of their series with first-place Minnesota after Tuesday's 7-2 loss. Last night marked the 14th time this season that they've scored fewer than three runs in a game, and the fourth time in the last five games.

The Birds have scored just three runs on 11 hits this series.

"It is the way it goes, but we've got to make a little bit more contact as a club," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "We're just not taking enough good at-bats to win games against good clubs and good pitching staffs. You've got to be able to put the ball in play, you've got to be able to put pressure, you've got to be able to not be afraid to hit with two strikes, etc.

"I think we have some guys that are just swinging a lot of times. They're seeing their numbers on the scoreboard and they're unhappy, so they're trying to get them up in one at-bat. You've got to have a pitch-by-pitch approach, try to win every pitch, and I think a lot of guys are just chasing numbers right now."


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