Bradish: "No pain, no soreness when I'm throwing"

Bradish: "No pain, no soreness when I'm throwing"

SARASOTA, Fla. – Kyle Bradish will extend his flat-ground throwing to 90 feet on Saturday in the latest tweak to his progression.

Bradish played catch Tuesday from 75 feet in the stadium outfield, with media in the press box trying to calculate the distance, and hasn’t experienced any discomfort in his right elbow.

“I feel good,” he said this morning. “No pain, no soreness when I’m throwing. Recovery has been good. So yeah, feeling pretty normal.”

Exactly what the Orioles want to hear, even a week into spring training.

Bradish became one of the bigger camp stories after his platelet-rich plasma injection last month and confirmation from executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias that last year’s Game 1 starter in the Division Series would go on the injured list.

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Post-surgery Vespi dedicated winter to more strenuous workouts

Nick Vespi

SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles reliever Nick Vespi was eager to plunge into a normal offseason workout program. To be full-go over the winter rather than shut down or slowed by pain that led to a surgical procedure in January 2023.

Vespi began making the short drive to TBT Training in Boca Raton, Fla., joining teammate Coby Mayo for sessions with Tom Flynn, the facility’s director of strength and conditioning.

“Mayo has been working out with him in the past and it’s two exits down the road,” Vespi said this week, “so I figured I’d try it out and everything was great.”

Hernia surgery a year ago forced Vespi into a less aggressive routine. He vied for a job in camp and made nine appearances with the club, the first resulting in three scoreless innings on June 30 against the Twins. His last outing in the majors was Aug. 20 in Oakland.

Vespi is trying again to make the Opening Day roster. It may not happen, but his body is geared for it.

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Burnes on starting spring opener, live batting practice details, plans for Kjerstad

kjerstad debut v TB

SARASOTA, Fla. – The honor of pitching the first exhibition game doesn’t really resonate with Corbin Burnes, owner of a Cy Young Award and two Opening Day assignments. He's fried bigger fish.

Stepping on the mound Saturday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium is more about preparation and bonding as the Orioles’ new staff ace.

“It’s exciting to get games going,” he said this afternoon following the latest workout, “and getting the first one gives me a chance to get an extra outing this camp just to get to know these guys and better prepare for the season.”

Burnes wasn’t the Brewers’ first starter last spring but he pitched on that day. It sort of counts, but not entirely.

“It was just like an extended live BP on a back field,” he said.

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Burnes starting first exhibition games; updates on Henderson, Bradish and Webb

henderson alds 2023

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles starter in exhibition openers usually isn’t projected to make the club, or isn’t cast as a likely inclusion in the rotation. We’re warned against reading too much into the choice.

Read plenty in Corbin Burnes.

The new ace is starting Saturday against the Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. And he’s starting Opening Day against the Angels on March 28 at Camden Yards.

Manager Brandon Hyde only confirmed this weekend’s assignment and offered an explanation.

“Just because it’s lining up to the beginning of the year and we’re just kind of putting guys in places,” Hyde said. “He’s on turn, bottom line.”

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Webb on arbitration experience and chance to break camp with Orioles

Jacob Webb white jersey

SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles reliever Jacob Webb earned his first win about seven weeks before Opening Day.

Webb was victorious in his arbitration hearing in Arizona, setting his 2024 salary at $1 million instead of the $925,000 filed by the club.

No hard feelings on either side. From Webb for having to go through the process or the Orioles for paying the extra $75,000.

“It was just business,” he said. “Just worrying about stuff I can control on the field. All that stuff, I let my agents take care of that side. I like to just focus on what I’m doing here and making sure I’m ready to go.

“You kind of have to be there for the hearing, and it was an interesting process. It was good to get a little win right there, but either way, I know the team’s not trying to do anything harmful or anything. I think it’s just part of the business and how it goes.”

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Rodriguez and Kimbrel highlighted today's Orioles live batting practice (plus other notes)

rodriguez alds

SARASOTA, Fla. – Grayson Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel pitched today in the same live batting practice session on the stadium field. The starter with ace stuff, and the closer with a Hall of Fame resume.

The pairing could be replayed many times over the 2024 season.

Rodriguez got two “ups” this afternoon, with a shortened first inning that featured Anthony Santander’s line drive to right-center field, Ramón Urías’ strikeout and Ryan O’Hearn’s ground ball to the right side of the infield.

Asked what he could take away from his appearance, Rodriguez said, “Practice, I guess is really all you could say about it.”

There was more.

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Slimmer Irvin hopes to put up stronger early numbers for Orioles

Cole Irvin orange jersey

SARASOTA, Fla. – Cole Irvin wants to eat more innings this season.

They’re on his new diet.

Irvin said he’s shed at least a dozen pounds after weighing 223 in his first year with the Orioles. He wants to pitch better in the early weeks of the season. He wants to feel better.

He's already got proof of the second one.

“I think it was a lot of eating habits, but I also did a lot of core work, which is where a lot of my problems were,” said Irvin, who was optioned in 2023 after only three starts. “I felt like I had a weak core last year. I was throwing harder, but I think it was a lot of upper body. I just made some adjustments to the arm path and all that and focused on my eating this offseason, and it just came off naturally with my training.”

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Mullins muscles up in Orioles' latest live batting practice (Castillo clears waivers)

mullins hr @HOU

SARASOTA, Fla. – Cedric Mullins is healthy. Let’s start there. And he’s putting the barrel on the baseball, which figures to keep happening if he isn’t put on the injured list again.

Mullins was the standout in today’s live batting practice on the Ed Smith Stadium field. He lined a Cole Irvin pitch up the middle in his first trip, nailing the bottom of the screen, squared up another Irvin offering and lined to the shortstop area, and introduced himself to prospect Justin Armbruester with a shot off the top of the scoreboard in right-center field.

That one was epic. He almost cleared it.

Teammates roared in the dugout as Mullins made contact. Mullins began walking toward the bench but turned to check out the flight of the ball and get confirmation on its landing spot.

“I knew that one was gone off the bat,” he said. “Threw me some good pitches, left one hanging, I was able to take advantage of it.

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Mateo prepared for positional moves in 2024

mateo throws white

SARASOTA, Fla. – Jorge Mateo is ready for anything that the Orioles throw at him.

He’s also prepared to catch it.

Mateo won a Fielding Bible Award at shortstop in 2022 and was a notable snub in Gold Glove Award voting. He made 95 starts at the position last season compared to 142 the previous summer, a prolonged slump and the emergence of Gunnar Henderson cutting deep into his time.

Jackson Holliday will break camp with the team or debut shortly after, giving Mateo another shove. But the at-bats should be available to him.

The Orioles gave Mateo two starts in center field last season and will give him plenty of work in camp. He wants it.

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Tate offers important addition from within to Orioles bullpen

Dillion Tate

SARASOTA, Fla. – “It’s a normal spring training at this point.”

Dillon Tate says these words in the most casual manner, without a hint of emotion in his voice or anything close to an expression. This is his usual delivery. Also quite normal for him.

The media and his Orioles teammates can make a bigger deal over Tate’s return from last year’s elbow and forearm injuries that kept him away from the active roster for the entire season.

About three weeks ago, Tate told the assembled media at Bowlero in Timonium, one of the last stops in the Birdland Caravan, that he reported early to camp and was ready to go. He smiled as he said it. An entire organization felt the same way.

Tate also described last season as a “whirlwind,” a kinder and gentler description than he could have provided. But he isn’t holding back during workouts, unleashing throws in warmups, popping the mitt in bullpen sessions and throwing live batting practice yesterday on the stadium mound.

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Ort joins Orioles in latest roster move

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles won’t sit still.

They made another roster move early this evening, acquiring right-hander Kaleb Ort from the Phillies in another cash considerations deal.

Ort, who turned 32 earlier this month, made 21 appearances with the Red Sox last year and posted a 6.26 ERA and 1.565 WHIP in 23 innings. He allowed 16 earned runs (19 total) and 27 hits with 24 strikeouts.

The Mariners selected Ort off waivers in October, the Marlins claimed him in December and the Phillies claimed him six days ago.

Now he’s an Oriole and the latest bullpen candidate after making 47 relief appearances over the past three seasons – all with the Red Sox - and his only two major league starts in 2023.

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Reviewing highlights and Hyde from Day 5 of Orioles spring workouts

Tyler-Wells-and-Adley-Rutschman-spring

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles whittled their daily workout today, the fifth since pitchers and catchers reported, mostly to live batting practice sessions on the main and back fields.

Tyler Wells stood out among the chosen arms inside Ed Smith Stadium.

He induced a ground ball to the right side from Anthony Santander, who jokingly warned against throwing that many fastballs in a row after leaning back to avoid inside heat. Ramón Urías and Jorge Mateo struck out, Jordan Westburg hit a sharp grounder to the left side and Ryan Mountcastle lined a “double” down the left field line.

Mountcastle was having himself a day. Nothing for Wells to take personally.

The Orioles’ first baseman drove a Mike Baumann pitch off the scoreboard in right-center, sending the ball back onto the field. Hard to tell initially whether it hit the fence or the bottom of the board, which led me to his locker for confirmation.

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Santander: “I think we’re in a great position to compete and go further this postseason”

Anthony Santander

SARASOTA, Fla. – Anthony Santander was on his own for this morning’s media scrum.

The team interpreter was in a meeting. Santander can handle an interview solo but enjoys having his friend close, just in case he gets crossed up.

You’ve seen him at his locker postgame with his arm around Brandon Quinones’ shoulder. Always smiling. Rarely in need of any assistance.  

“I’ll do my best,” he said.

Santander had spent the last few months in Venezuela and joked that he was out of practice speaking English. But he came through again in the clutch.

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Daniel Johnson reunited with Kyle Bradish in Orioles camp

Daniel Johnson Cleveland jersey

SARASOTA, Fla. – Daniel Johnson remembers Kyle Bradish being really good at New Mexico State.

Bradish was a freshman pitcher in 2016 who hadn’t seen anyone quite like the junior outfielder and future friend.

Johnson is in Orioles’ camp as a non-roster invite and the only outfielder on the original list submitted by the Orioles. Bradish, of course, is the 2023 ace and fourth-place finisher in American League Cy Young voting who’s beginning this season on the injured list.  

Their paths split as professionals, but they’re back inside the same clubhouse in spring training. One of them with a job waiting as long as he recovers from his sprained ulnar collateral ligament and avoids surgery.

“We’ve talked a little bit over the years," Bradish said. "He’s in Arizona, so I’ve seen him a little bit. It’s nice to have a familiar face around here again. It’s cool to see him.”

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Orioles acquire Krook from Yankees

matt krook yankees

SARASOTA, Fla. – The camp roster churn continued today. Another infielder gone, this time replaced by a pitcher.

The Orioles have acquired left-hander Matt Krook from the Yankees for cash considerations. Diego Castillo has been designated for assignment to create space on the 40-man roster.

Castillo was claimed off waivers from the Phillies on Friday, with shortstop Livan Soto designated for assignment.

The Angels claimed Soto earlier today. The Orioles had claimed him from the Angels on Feb. 8.

Please try to keep up.

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Bautista on surgically repaired elbow: "Honestly, it really does feel a lot better" (Angels claim Soto)

bautista exits w injury v COL

SARASOTA, Fla. – Félix Bautista won’t give up on 2024.

The closer remains open to pitching late this season if the Orioles need him, but they won’t let it happen.

They just want him available for the first game next season.

Bautista said via interpreter Brandon Quinones that his right elbow feels good after a recent follow-up procedure to remove scar tissue and improve range of motion.

“Honestly, it really does feel a lot better,” Bautista said.

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Zimmermann healthy and happy to be in mix for roster spot

bruce zimmermann pitches black

SARASOTA, Fla. – Powering through a major league lineup can’t be any more difficult for Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann than pitching with a core muscle injury that necessitated surgery shortly after his minor league season.

Hitters can inflict serious pain. Zimmermann was dealing with the internal kind, managing it with cortisone injections before his Oct. 19 procedure in Philadelphia.

Spring training offers a chance for Zimmermann to further prove that he’s healthy and also compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Baseball life is normal again for the Loyola Blakefield graduate, who made seven relief appearances with the Orioles in 2023.

“The first priority of the offseason was just coming out of the surgery successfully, so that went well,” he said yesterday. “The next priority was doing PT (physical therapy) and just getting through the rehab process and getting back the flexibility and strength and things like that.

“Honestly, I wasn’t really doing baseball stuff. This is the first year I’ve done baseball stuff as late as I did, based on just the surgery itself and getting healthy. So, once I got back to late December, January, is when I found I was able to do more baseball-related things.”

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Notes from Day 3 of Orioles' spring workouts

Buck Britton Brandon Hyde

SARASOTA, Fla. – Rain is in the Sarasota forecast beginning later this afternoon and continuing through Sunday. The Orioles’ workout schedule is going to be impacted.

Head indoors and shorten the day.

Corbin Burnes threw live batting practice this morning, with Adley Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle and Ryan O’Hearn among the batters he faced. Rutschman lined a loud single up the middle against reliever Bryan Baker.

Jackson Holliday finished his workouts and stopped by a group of fans to sign autographs. He could have stood there all day. No one is more popular among players.

No one else is currently the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

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Holliday: "It's pretty neat to be in this position"

jackson holliday

SARASOTA, Fla. – Jackson Holliday isn’t in Orioles camp to soak in the atmosphere, get acclimated to the coaching staff and wait to be summoned into manager Brandon Hyde’s office with news that he’s reassigned to the minor league side.

Holliday could sit down again with Hyde and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, but this time to be congratulated for making the team.

Only a few months past his 20th birthday.

As the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

“It’s a little bit more exciting, right?” Holliday said this morning in his first media scrum at his locker. “You get a chance to make the team. But just trying to take it day by day and enjoy these guys and enjoy getting better.”

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Quick Q&A with Orioles outfielder Kyle Stowers

kyle stowers swing black

SARASOTA – Kyle Stowers got married in November. He’s back to full health after a shoulder injury and fractured nose messed with his 2023 season. He’s surrounded by friends inside the Orioles spring clubhouse.

Life is good.

To make it better, he’d need to again break camp with the team. But it’s hard to kill his positive vibe.

Stowers went 2-for-30 with the Orioles but posted a .364 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage with 17 home runs in 68 games with the Norfolk Tides and won a Triple-A championship. He went 5-for-7 with a home run on a rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League and 9-for-18 with a double and three home runs with High-A Aberdeen.

The shoulder injury cost the 26-year-old Stowers two months of Norfolk’s season. He was down again after a fastball crashed into his face in an Aug. 29 game against Worcester.

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