With much to gain in Toronto, Mountcastle won't leave O's shorthanded

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TORONTO - Much like the American League wild card standings entering Monday night, the glove on Ryan Mountcastle’s left hand tonight will be tight. Perhaps uncomfortably so.

But with so much riding on the Orioles’ three-game series in Toronto, the 25-year-old will “jam” the mitt on and get back on the field. 

The Orioles kept Mountcastle out of Sunday’s lineup in St. Petersburg, Fla., opting for fellow righty Tyler Nevin. The day off made a massive difference, said Brandon Hyde.

“I think that the entire day (Sunday) of getting some rest on that hand was beneficial,” Hyde said in the visitors dugout before batting practice. “He spent the majority of the day getting treatment on it yesterday and then today as well. He responded pretty well and is feeling a lot better, so he’s back in there.”

Mountcastle was frustrated he had to miss the series finale against Tampa Bay. But with the Blue Jays in control of the top wild card berth and the Orioles just 1 ½ games out of the final spot, he’s playing through some pain in the hopes of helping the team gain some ground.

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Nationals reinstate Clippard and activate McGee

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The Washington Nationals announced the following roster moves on Friday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Returned from rehabilitation assignment and reinstated right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard from the 15-day Injured List:

  • Activated left-handed pitcher Jake McGee
  • Optioned right-handed pitcher Andres Machado to Triple-A Rochester
  • Optioned right-handed pitcher Mason Thompson to Triple-A Rochester (on Wednesday)

Clippard, 37, appeared in one game for the Nationals before being placed on the Injured List with a groin strain on July 22. He tossed 2.0 innings of one-hit, shutout relief on July 14 vs. Atlanta. Clippard appeared in three rehab games with Triple-A Rochester, tossing 4.0 innings of scoreless relief across the three outings.

McGee, 36, was claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 9. He appeared in 30 games between San Francisco and Milwaukee in 2022, going 1-2 with three saves and a 7.00 ERA along the way. A veteran of 13 Major League seasons, McGee has pitched to a 3.67 ERA with 79 saves in 638 career games. He recorded a career-high 31 saves with San Francisco in 2021.

Machado, 29, is 1-0 with a 4.57 ERA in 38 games for the Nationals this season.

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Defense backs bullpen in impressive 2-1 win (updated)

Defense backs bullpen in impressive 2-1 win (updated)

There’s nothing dads love more than fundamentals. They preach it in Little League. They drill it on empty fields on Saturday afternoons. 

There were probably plenty of beaming fathers in the Baltimore area pointing at their televisions Sunday, turning to their sons or daughters, and saying, “See? Fundamentals.”

The Orioles (30-38) played a clean, fundamental game and turned several phenomenal defensive plays to help Brandon Hyde navigate an unwelcome bullpen game and beat the Rays 2-1 on Father’s Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

It started in the top of the second inning, when a picture-perfect relay from right fielder Ryan McKenna to second baseman Rougned Odor to catcher Adley Rutschman turned a Vidal Bruján single into an inning-ending tag play. The Orioles, already leading 1-0 on a first-inning home run by Anthony Santander, kept the Rays off the scoreboard.

It continued in the sixth, when Odor scooped a Taylor Walls grounder from the dirt and underhand lobbed it to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle to get Mike Baumann out of a jam. Another scoreless frame, and a 2-1 lead preserved.

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Lyles out with stomach virus, O's going with bullpen game

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The Orioles’ innings eater won’t be eating much today.

Jordan Lyles was scratched from his scheduled start against the Rays this afternoon due to a stomach virus, manager Brandon Hyde told the media before Sunday’s game. Reliever Austin Voth will start in Lyles’ stead, but isn’t expected to go more than a couple innings.

“We found out at about 7:30, 8 o’clock this morning,” said Hyde. “With the off-day tomorrow, that’s the one positive thing of this is that we do have a day off tomorrow, so I can use a lot of bullpen guys today and give them a day off tomorrow.”

Lyles hasn’t missed a turn in the rotation yet this season, making 13 starts and compiling a 5.10 ERA as Hyde’s veteran workhorse.

Voth, who was claimed off waivers from the Nationals on June 7, has pitched only 3 ⅓ innings with the Orioles, all in relief, surrendering two runs and striking out three. The 29-year-old righty started 22 games over five seasons in Washington.

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O's score 10, leave Kansas City with series split (updated)

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KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander rocked back on his left foot, pausing to admire his work.

When you hit a ball 455 feet into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium, you’re allowed a little time to bask.

Santander’s solo splashdown in the first inning of Sunday’s game was the first of three home runs for the Orioles and set the tone for the team’s marathon 10-7 win over the Royals (20-39).

The Orioles (26-35) hit 850 more feet worth of homers in the second, getting back-to-back shots from Ryan Mountcastle and Rougned Odor to open the inning and push the lead to 3-0. But the barrage didn’t end there, as the O’s scored two more in the inning on RBI singles from Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays off Kansas City starter Brad Keller.

“We swung the bat good all day," said manager Brandon Hyde after the win. "We had 15 hits, had really good at-bats, started early, which is great to see. We haven’t done that a ton.”

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Kyle Stowers to join Orioles taxi squad on road trip

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KANSAS CITY - A shock of bright blonde hair shone in the Orioles clubhouse this morning. 

Kyle Stowers is hard to miss.

The Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, will join the taxi squad when the team heads north of the border to play the Blue Jays this week.

“He’s having a good year at Triple-A,” manager Brandon Hyde said in Kauffman Stadium’s away dugout before Sunday's game. “It’s a loose, left-handed swing. He’s got huge power. I like the way he plays defense, he can play three defensive spots in the outfield, left-handed bat."

A 2019 second-round pick out of Stanford University, Stowers is hitting .253 with 12 home runs and a .901 OPS in 49 games with Triple-A Norfolk this year. The 24-year-old led all Orioles minor leaguers with 27 homers in 2021.

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O's bats reheat in 6-4 win over Royals (updated)

McKenna Mullins Hays five orange away

KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander appeared almost reluctant to don the Orioles’ home run chain Friday night.

After sneaking a meaningless solo home run inside Kauffman Stadium’s right field foul pole in the ninth inning of an 8-1 loss, Santander accepted the plastic chain with all the gravitas of a weathered monarch.

Tyler Nevin showed no such hesitancy Saturday. In fact, he welcomed it, beckoning Austin Hays to bestow the chain upon him after crushing a three-run, go-ahead homer to dead center field in the sixth inning of a 6-4 win over the Royals.

The honor was richly deserved.

Nevin’s 425-foot longball gave the Orioles their first lead since the third inning of Thursday’s series opener. Before the homer, the O’s had been outscored 18-7 in the first two-and-a-half games of their four-game series in Kansas City. 

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Richie Martin back in bigs as Ramón Urías heads to IL

Ramon Urias throws black away

KANSAS CITY – One infielder to the injured list, another recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. 

Too many times in his young career, Richie Martin has been on the wrong end of these sort of transactions. 

Martin has missed significant time with injury since he was selected by the Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Rule 5 draft, including a fractured right wrist, a broken hamate bone in his left hand and a non-displaced left wrist fracture.

But in 2022, the 27-year-old has been both healthy and productive for Norfolk and has earned a call-up to the bigs as Ramón Urías heads to the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain, retroactive to Friday.

Martin will start at second base for the first time in his big league career Saturday afternoon against the Royals.

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Zimmermann struggles again, O's muster one run in loss (updated)

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KANSAS CITY - A light rain began to fall at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night as the bottom of the sixth inning got underway.

But the deluge had already transpired.

The Royals (20-37) poured runs on Bruce Zimmermann in the lefty’s most dismal outing in what has been a string of them. Zimmermann (2-5) allowed a career-high seven runs on 10 hits in just 4 2/3innings in an 8-1 loss in Kansas City.

The Orioles (24-35) have dropped the first two games of their four-game series, surrendering 15 runs in 18 innings.

Zimmermann’s rough night stood in stark contrast to that of Royals starter Jonathan Heasley (1-3), who allowed just one hit - an Anthony Santander single in the first inning - and no walks to go with seven strikeouts over seven innings of scoreless baseball. 

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Hyde hoping Zimmermann rediscovers changeup vs. Royals

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KANSAS CITY - For the first month of the season, Bruce Zimmermann was unstoppable, thanks to an unstoppable new changeup. 

Zimmermann’s ERA has gone from 2.72 on May 14 to 4.87 coming into Friday’s start. The last two starts have been particularly unkind, as the lefty has surrendered 11 combined earned runs over his last 9.2 innings. 

The changeup that fooled hitters for the first several starts isn’t nearly as effective. 

What changed?

“I’m not really sure,” manager Brandon Hyde said to the media gathered in the dugout at Kauffman Stadium. “To me, early in the year he was getting a lot of swing-and-miss on the changeup. In the dugout it has looked a little different his last few outings. Just not having the same kind of depth and swing-and-miss that he was getting on it with right-handed hitters. 

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Lyles halts O's momentum in 7-5 loss to Royals (updated)

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KANSAS CITY – With each swing, Carlos Santana was getting closer. A 277-foot flyout in the second inning, a 354-foot flyout in the third. 

Santana had seen 14 pitches from Jordan Lyles. None were sinkers. But the 15th was.

Lyles left a 90 mph sinker over the heart of the plate with one on and no out in the bottom of the fifth inning of Thursday’s game. Santana deposited it over the right-field wall for a two-run go-ahead shot. After the Orioles had battled back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game in the top half of the inning, the Royals reclaimed the lead, this time for good.

Kansas City (19-37) got the best of Lyles and Baltimore (24-34) in a 7-5 win in the series opener in front of 15,594 fans at Kauffman Stadium. 

"Just a front-hip sinker that I thought we could get one by him, get a quick punchout," said Lyles after the start. "But it started on the plate and covered way too much of the plate, and it was just a bad pitch."

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Hyde hoping young pitchers learn from Lyles' durability

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KANSAS CITY – Pitchers like Jordan Lyles are a dying breed.

Organizations are more cognizant of pitch counts than ever, and inning-eaters like the 31-year-old Lyles are increasingly hard to find.

But manager Brandon Hyde isn’t eager to assist in their extinction.

“I love the fact that he does not want to come out of the game,” Hyde said while speaking to the media in Kauffman Stadium’s away dugout. “I love the fact that he feels like it’s his game. He wants to win it or lose it."

Lyles’ throwback style is more pronounced on the Orioles’ largely inexperienced starting staff, as young hurlers like Tyler Wells, Kyle Bradish and Bruce Zimmermann are still learning how to go deeper into games.

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Daschbach hoping to supplement power with well-rounded approach

Daschbach hoping to supplement power with well-rounded approach
Mark Daschbach didn't miss a single game of his son's junior season at Stanford. As Andrew Daschbach tore through the Pac-12 in 2019, smashing 17 home runs for the second consecutive year, Mark was there to witness it all. "I think he lives vicariously through me," Andrew said. Mark, a Stanford graduate himself, even made the trip east from Atherton, Calif., several times later that year to see Andrew begin his pro career with the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. "He's loved...
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Unassuming shortstop Joey Ortiz fits right in with fellow 2019 draftees

Unassuming shortstop Joey Ortiz fits right in with fellow 2019 draftees
A sizable contingent of Baltimore sports media descended upon Ripken Stadium on July 29, 2019 for Adley Rutschman's debut with the Aberdeen IronBirds. A crowd of 4,403, some already donning Rutschman jerseys, packed in to see the No. 1 overall pick play pro ball in the state of Maryland for the first time. Rutschman, who had recently recovered from a bout of mononucleosis, struggled. The 21-year-old went hitless in five plate appearances. Seven spots lower in the batting order, shortstop Joey...
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Reviewing the results of the All-Camden Yards Draft

Reviewing the results of the All-Camden Yards Draft
In search of a way to fill the void generated by an especially slow offseason, the "MASN All Access Podcast" had to get creative. Joined by Connor Newcomb of the "Locked On Orioles Podcast," Brendan Mortensen and I created the All-Camden Yards Draft with the simple goal of drafting three teams whose rosters are filled with the greatest Orioles players to have ever played at "the ballpark that forever changed baseball." And who better to judge the results than Orioles fans? These were the...
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From afar, Sig Mejdal propelled development from top prospects

From afar, Sig Mejdal propelled development from top prospects
Sig Mejdal hasn't seen a baseball game in person in months. The Orioles were careful to limit the number of non-uniformed personnel at both Camden Yards and the alternate site in Bowie this summer, so Mejdal worked from home, like most Americans. But Mejdal stayed in the loop, thanks in part to the latest gadgets in the game - body sensors, bat trackers, force pads and more. A bit more advanced than Zoom. "Beyond the fact that there were fewer games, no minor league games in the parks, ... we...
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Vavra learning on the fly in new position

Vavra learning on the fly in new position
Terrin Vavra is an infielder. His father was an infielder. His brother was an infielder. His other brother was an infielder. But when the Orioles approached him about adding center field to a resume that had previously listed only second base and shortstop, Vavra jumped at the opportunity. "It's a new experience for me but something that I think I can attack and succeed with," he said in a recent Zoom interview with "MASN All Access." The applicant certainly has skills that fit the job...
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Austin Hays on the Orioles' lack of offense

Austin Hays on the Orioles' lack of offense
Austin Hays was 2-for-3 on Tuesday night, but was one of just two Orioles with hits in the game.
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Brandon Hyde after the O's snap a three-game win streak

Brandon Hyde after the O's snap a three-game win streak
The Orioles fell to the Marlins 4-0 on Tuesday night.
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John Means after bounce-back start against the Marlins

John Means after bounce-back start against the Marlins
John Means allowed just one run in the 4.2 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Marlins.
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