Orioles claim Soto on waivers again today

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BOSTON – The Livan Soto shell game was played again this afternoon.

The Orioles claimed Soto on waivers from the Angels Feb. 8, and the Angels claimed him 10 days later.

Soto is on the move again, going back to the Orioles today in a waiver claim. They optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.

The utility infielder got into in 22 games with the Angels between 2022-23 and went 24-for-64 (.375) with five doubles, a triple and a home run.

Soto, 23, appeared in nine games at Triple-A Salt Lake this year and was 6-for-28 (.214). He’s a left-handed bat that arrives in Norfolk after Jackson Holliday’s promotion yesterday to the Orioles.

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Teammates trust that Holliday can handle pressure

Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday

BOSTON – The reporter approached Ryan Mountcastle’s locker yesterday, asked if he had a minute and explained that only one topic could be covered. The important one. You know it.

Mountcastle turned around, smiled and said, “Jackson Holliday.”

Of course. It wasn’t the best lobster rolls in New England.

Players learned about Holliday’s promotion late Tuesday night. They, too, have sources scattered throughout baseball.

“Somebody sent it to me over a text,” Mountcastle said. “Super excited for him and super excited for the team and fans to have him up. Hopefully, he does well. Super excited to have him here.”

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Holliday gets first RBI, Westburg hits go-ahead home run in 7-5 win (updated)

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BOSTON – Jackson Holliday stretched with his teammates on the field. He took batting practice while father Matt and younger brother Ethan stood behind the cage. He paused to sign some autographs before grabbing his bats and heading back to the clubhouse. Fans yelled his name.

He looked every bit like a major leaguer, except for that youthful face, of course. But he’s used to the reactions and enjoys them. It comes with a boyish grin.

Holliday worked this afternoon to keep his emotions in check. Soak in the experience but don’t let it distract. Understand the fuss but also blend, as he’s always tried to do.

Jackson’s first major league at-bat arrived with one out in the third inning and he struck out on a 2-2 sweeper from Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford while Colton Cowser stole second base. Baseball’s top prospect went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and his first RBI in the Orioles' 7-5 come-from-behind win at Fenway Park.

Jordan Westburg hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Chris Martin after the Orioles loaded the bases for the third time. The Red Sox maintained their sloppy ways with a walk, passed ball, catcher’s interference call and two wild pitches to set up Westburg for his second home run – a 432-foot shot to left-center at 111.2 mph off the bat.

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Hyde on Holliday: "Hopefully he can just relax and play confidently and have fun out there"

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BOSTON – Manager Brandon Hyde prepared for tonight's game against the Red Sox but also relived the “tough decision” made in spring training to reassign 20-year-old Jackson Holliday. Again.

How Holliday was playing a new position, how the first-overall draft pick in 2022 needed more exposure to left-handed pitching.

“Just to get him more Triple-A experience, and he did,” Hyde said this afternoon, before Holliday did some stretching with teammates and took his first major league batting practice.

“He got 10 or so games in there defensively, played really well, took really good at-bats. We watched all of them. And we just felt like at this point, at this time, he was ready to come up.”

Holliday was told last night and flew out of Richmond with wife Chloe. The Orioles made it through the early gauntlet of opposing left-handed starters, facing right-handers in all three games of the Red Sox series. They'll see at least one this weekend against the Brewers at Camden Yards, after former Orioles left-hander DL Hall on Friday night.

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Holliday talks about making it to the majors

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BOSTON – One wall in the cramped visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park has room for five lockers, with nameplates today that sound like their own talent pipeline.

Cowser, Westburg, Rutschman, Holliday, Henderson.

High draft picks by the Orioles, including two first-overall selections and three top overall prospects in baseball. A sight that can't be classified as common.

Jackson Holliday arrived today after rushing to pack up his apartment in Norfolk, making the late-night drive to Richmond with wife Chloe, arriving around 1:30 a.m. and boarding a 6 a.m. flight to Boston. Kyle Stowers and wife Emma are babysitting their dog, Coconut.

“It’s been quite a day,” Holliday said, “but I wouldn’t change it for a second.”

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Jackson Holliday batting ninth in major league debut

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BOSTON – Jackson Holliday is making his major league debut tonight at second base as the Orioles try to claim a series win against the Red Sox.

Holliday is batting ninth. And yes, he’s wearing No. 7, which was unofficially retired to honor Cal Ripken Sr. No one wore it since 1992.

Infielder Billy Ripken was the last player to wear it in 1988, after his father was fired as manager only six games into the season, and into the historic 21-game losing streak.

“Our family is thrilled that @J_Holliday7 will be wearing dad's #7 ... Excited to watch him play!,” Cal Ripken Jr. posted on the former Twitter.

Colton Cowser stays in left field and Jordan Westburg is playing third base. Westburg should get used to it because Holliday is likely to get the bulk of the work at second.

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A dozen immediate thoughts relating to Holliday's debut (move official)

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BOSTON – The Jackson Holliday watch is over, and it’s a relief to fans and media.

Everyone knew it was coming, but when? The waiting is the hardest part. Tom Petty was right.

The Orioles obviously didn’t set an exact date and circulate it in public. Maybe it depended on his at-bats against left-handers and how he performed at second base. A specific number of ground balls or double plays aren’t botched and you get the kid on a plane.

He doesn’t need to be accompanied by an adult. He isn’t that young.

For media, it’s like an anvil hanging overhead. Waiting for it to drop – usually at the most inopportune time.

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Irvin eager for another chance to start in Boston

Cole Irvin

BOSTON – Cole Irvin isn’t afraid to pitch at Fenway Park.

He’s actually a lover of old ballparks.

Irvin appreciates the history. He wants to plant his feet in the middle of it. And he gets another opportunity tonight.

Unlike Corbin Burnes, who made his first career start in Boston yesterday, Irvin is prepping for his second start and third appearance. He’s got a little more feel for it – along with a deep appreciation.

“I think it’s awesome anytime you get to pitch in an original ballfield,” he said. “Being a fan of the game of baseball as a kid and remembering how many meaningful games have been played in this stadium just kind of gives you goosebumps in a good way. It’s pretty cool to think about the amount of players who have been in this stadium. Granted, things have probably changed over those years, but the ground here are just so amazing.

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Source confirms Jackson Holliday's promotion to majors

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BOSTON – The Orioles couldn’t wait any longer.

An industry source has confirmed that infielder Jackson Holliday, baseball’s No.1 prospect, is joining the team in Boston.

The offense pounded out 13 hits in a 7-1 win this afternoon, awakening from its slumber, but Holliday is on his way to provide another jolt.

Holliday was an unpopular cut in spring training after batting .311/.354/.600 in 15 games, with three doubles, two triples and two home runs, including a grand slam. He also struck out 15 times and walked only three.

Reasons ran out to keep Holliday down. He doubled tonight against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre southpaw Edgar Barclay at 105.9 mph off the bat and is hitting .333 with a 1.077 OPS in 10 games. He's walked 12 times and struck out eight. He also made a splendid sliding stop and throw tonight at second base.

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Burnes motors through Red Sox lineup and Orioles' offense is clutch in 7-1 win (updated)

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BOSTON – They came out of the dugout one by one again today, walking up a red carpet and making a hard right along the third base line. The march of the Orioles. Introduced on another Opening Day, their third if we aren’t counting the first spring training game.

Corbin Burnes started that afternoon and again on March 28 at Camden Yards. He stood on the mound at Fenway Park, the only opportunity in his seven-year major league career, with the emotions from Red Sox fans overflowing after the club’s return from a three-city West Coast trip, the 2004 team reunion and tribute to late knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and wife Stacy.

Burnes retired two batters in the first inning, threw a curveball to Tyler O’Neill, heard the contact and walked onto the grass in front of that same mound. He wouldn’t pitch with an early lead, but it was coming.

One run wouldn’t be insurmountable for an Orioles offense that’s been noticeably small in the clutch.

O’Neill belted his league-leading sixth homer, but Burnes allowed only two hits and none after the first, and Colton Cowser drove in four runs in a 7-1 victory before an announced sellout crowd of 36,093.

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Hyde on offensive struggles, Hays' slump, pitching health, closing and more (Bradish update)

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BOSTON – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde thought his club would face three right-handers in the Red Sox series, dictating how he wrote out lineups, but Nick Pivetta won’t pitch on Wednesday due to soreness in his elbow/forearm area.

The substitute for Pivetta hasn’t been announced.

The offense has scored only 23 runs in the past seven games and went 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position Saturday in Pittsburgh. The Orioles are batting .195 against lefties.

“I’m not sure who’s throwing tomorrow, but at least two (right-handers) as of right now,” Hyde said. “We have to do a better job against left-handed starters, honestly. I know our record was good against them last year, but the way our lineup is constructed, we’re going to see everybody’s best left-handed starters, their best left-handed relievers. We haven’t swung the bat the best against them this year. We’ve got to do a better job of it going forward.”

Austin Hays is on the bench today against right-hander Brayan Bello. The mustache is gone, and the slump also needs to disappear.

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Orioles and Red Sox lineups at Fenway Park

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BOSTON – Colton Cowser gets the start in left field this afternoon, when the Orioles begin a three-game series against the Red Sox. Austin Hays is on the bench against right-hander Brayan Bello.

Ramón Urías is starting at third base and Tony Kemp is at second. Jordan Westburg is one of the reserves.

Urías is 1-for-17 to start the season, but he’s a .359 hitter in 20 career games at Fenway Park. Per STATS, the only Orioles with a higher average here through 20 games are Ryan Flaherty (.388), Ron Hansen (.373) and Trey Mancini (.364). Urías is ahead of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (.338).

Urias has hit .345 overall against the Red Sox in his career, second among active players behind Freddie Freeman’s .369 average (minimum 100 plate appearances), according to STATS.

Ryan O’Hearn is batting fourth today and serving as designated hitter.

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A little reflection on Orioles before opening series in Boston

Yennier Cano

BOSTON – The Orioles have an odd attachment to Opening Day – their own and their opponent’s.

They get to hop in the middle of more festivities this afternoon against the Red Sox, who began their season with a West Coast swing through Seattle, Oakland and Anaheim.

No other team or fan base is allowed to complain about the schedule. The Red Sox own the rights.

They also won seven of 10 games to move 1 ½ ahead of the Orioles.

Eyes shouldn’t be strained from reading too much into either team’s start. However, the off-day allowed for some reflection on the Orioles.

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Sustained health keying Santander's success

Anthony Santander

Anthony Santander sprinted into right-center field to run down a fly ball in the first inning of last Monday night’s game and made a diving catch in the fifth to again turn back the Royals and bring the Camden Yards crowd to its feet. His run-scoring single in the fourth that proceeded Ryan Mountcastle’s game-tying home run was more easily forgotten because the defensive gems shined so brightly.

The Pirates’ Edward Olivares thought he had an extra-base hit in the eighth inning Saturday, but Santander hustled toward the line, went airborne again and gloved the ball before it could touch grass.

Santander remained in the lineup Tuesday as designated hitter, shifting the emphasis entirely to a bat that can make thunderous contact from both sides of the plate. He played right field the next four days.

Manager Brandon Hyde wants him in the lineup on most nights, with the occasional breaks provided to keep him fresh and healthy. A challenge that’s waned over the past few of years.

Injuries tore down Santander in multiple seasons and forced a couple of September shutdowns. An ankle sprain in April 2021 impacted his entire summer. But he’s appeared in 152 and 153 games the past two seasons. He feels indestructible.

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Orioles can't keep bats humming and lose again in walk-off fashion 3-2 (updated)

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PITTSBURGH – To awaken the Orioles' offense this afternoon, Ryan Mountcastle took the logical route and made loud noises.

It worked for a brief spell, but he couldn’t prevent another slumber. And it killed the series for the Orioles.

Yennier Cano handled closing duties with Craig Kimbrel unavailable and didn't protect a one-run lead. Ke'Bryan Hayes and Jack Suwinski singled, Connor Joe walked to load the bases. Rowdy Tellez grounded to Mountcastle, who got the out at the plate, and Edward Olivares sent a bouncer up the middle that Gunnar Henderson smothered with a diving stop.

With the hint of a game-ending double play in the air, Henderson tapped the bag with his hand and fired the ball past Mountcastle, letting two runs score and giving the Pirates a 3-2 win and back-to-back walk-offs at PNC Park. Henderson was trying to rise from his prone position and execute the latest gem today in the field.

"I usually make that play 99 times out of a hundred, and it just so happens that the throw got away from me right there," Henderson said. "That was pretty unfortunate."

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Orioles' rotation in Boston and today's lineups (updated)

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PITTSBURGH – Corbin Burnes moves up a day in the rotation and starts Tuesday afternoon’s series opener against the Red Sox in Boston.

The Orioles are flip-flopping Burnes and Cole Irvin, who’s bumped back to Wednesday night. Grayson Rodriguez starts Thursday night before the club returns home.

Burnes would have worked on six days’ rest if he remained on his normal turn.

Today’s lineup in Pittsburgh is a duplicate from yesterday, with the same names and order. James McCann is catching. Jordan Westburg is playing third base. Jorge Mateo is at second.

Manager Brandon Hyde hadn't written out the exact same lineups - names and positions - in consecutive games since Aug. 5-6, 2022 against the Pirates.

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Cano's hot start, Santander's milestone game, Norfolk's latest offensive outburst

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PITTSBURGH – After pitching four times in a span of six games, Orioles reliever Yennier Cano stayed in the visiting bullpen yesterday until Oneil Cruz's walk-off single in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Pirates.

Cano is in All-Star form again in the early stages of the 2024 season. He’s tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his usual high-leverage role.

“Very impressed,” said Tim Cossins, who works as the Orioles field coordinator and catching instructor but is in the bullpen for games. “It’s kind of a continuation of what we saw last year. And the way he prepares and the way he goes day to day, it’s not surprising. He’s just one of those guys that’s super routine-oriented and super locked in.”

The finest work might have come in Cano’s most difficult outing.

The Royals put runners on second and third base with no outs Monday in the eighth inning of a tie game. What followed was a groundout with the infield in, an intentional walk, a popup and a called third strike on Nick Loftin.

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Heasley surrenders walk-off single in 11th inning in Orioles' wild 5-4 loss (updated)

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PITTSBURGH – Maybe it was the sunshine and dry conditions that flustered the Orioles. They couldn’t get Pirates starter Bailey Falter to live up to his name. They needed him to leave. Nothing good would happen until he was back inside the clubhouse.

The game still ended poorly, but at least there were flickers of hope. Too bad they'd get burned in extra innings.

Danny Coulombe escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th, but the Orioles failed to score in the top of the 11th and Oneil Cruz singled off Jonathan Heasley to plate Henry Davis for a 5-4 walk-off win at PNC Park.

Cedric Mullins made a sensational diving catch to rob Ke'Bryan Hayes, but Cruz lined a first-pitch sweeper into right field and the Pirates stormed the field.

The Orioles went 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They scored on a ground ball, two fly balls and a fielder's choice. But they still had a chance.

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Hays on health, Hyde on slumps, Kimbrel on first Orioles save

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PITTSBURGH – Austin Hays said his health has improved after he fought through another illness that isn’t the same as his spring training stomach virus.

“It’s something a little different,” he said this afternoon. “Just wasn’t feeling great yesterday. We tried to get a little extra rest and some meds in me. I was feeling better as the day progressed. Felt like I was capable of coming into the game. That’s why I didn’t start, but I ended up coming in later.”

Nothing can speed up a recovery like playing baseball in snow, sleet and hail.

“Yeah, it’s the first game I’ve ever played while it was snowing,” he said, “so it’s kind of funny how that works out.”

Hays played in his 500th career game last night. He went 0-for-2 and is 2-for-20.

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Hays returns to Orioles lineup today vs. Pirates

Hays returns to Orioles lineup today vs. Pirates

PITTSBURGH – Austin Hays is in today’s Orioles lineup at PNC Park, playing left field and batting sixth.

Hays began yesterday’s game on the bench because of an illness but batted twice, striking out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and grounding out in the eighth. He’s 2-for-20.

James McCann is catching and Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter. Jordan Westburg is playing third base, moving Ramón Urías to the bench.

Tyler Wells allowed three earned runs and four total in six innings against the Angels in his first start. He walked none and struck out seven.

Wells faced the Pirates on May 13, 2023 in Baltimore and tossed seven scoreless innings with one hit allowed and eight strikeouts.

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