Kemp settles in with new team, reunited with Irvin

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Infielder Tony Kemp didn’t have a team to play for Sunday and decided to join a close friend at a baby shower in Indiana. Hang out for a while. Take his mind away from being in professional limbo after the Reds granted his release and put him back on the free agent market.

Kemp was headed to the party destination when his agent called to notify him of the Orioles’ interest, that the sides had engaged in talks. A deal seemed imminent.

“Once we heard about it, we were pretty excited,” he said.

The Orioles have signed Kemp to a major league contract that pays $1 million, and he’s at this evening’s workout at Camden Yards.

“Just being in the situation right here, it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “This team has a lot of good value to them, a lot of young talent, and especially playing against these guys you can kind of understand the direction that they’re going in, and I’m excited to be a part of the club that is going for a championship.”

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Orioles sign Kemp to major league deal

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The Orioles left their spring training complex but aren’t done conducting business.

They announced today that they’ve signed Tony Kemp to a 2024 major league contract and designated infielder Nick Maton for assignment.

The 40-man roster remains full.

Kemp, 32, signed with the Reds in February and was released less than a month later after exercising the opt-out clause in his contract. He appeared in eight exhibition games and went 7-for-21 with a double, triple, home run and five RBIs.

The Reds’ deal reportedly would have paid Kemp $1.75 million if he made the Opening Day roster, with $750,000 in bonuses available.

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Orioles cancel fan rally at Camden Yards after Francis Scott Key bridge collapse

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The Orioles called off their fan rally at Camden Yards scheduled for later today, in response to the early-morning collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge.

Fans were invited to watch the workout and participate in a question-and-answer session with Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde. A free ticket was required to gain entrance, with the event beginning at 6 p.m.

The team issued a statement on social media.

“In light of today’s tragedy, tonight’s open workout and rally for fans is cancelled. Our thoughts are with Baltimore.”

Media will have clubhouse access for 50 minutes beginning at 5 p.m. and the press box will be open.

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One year makes a big difference for Danny Coulombe

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The last day of camp.

Danny Coulombe won’t forget it. A visitor to his locker fumbles for the exact date, and Coulombe says evenly, “The last day of camp.” And then he smiles.

The reliever is talking about March 27, 2023, when the Twins traded him to the Orioles for cash considerations. They might have wanted to consider holding onto him, since they’d lose a couple left-handed relievers during the summer and since he’d craft the finest season of his major league career with a 2.81 ERA in 61 appearances and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

The guy with a low profile became high leverage.

Coulombe’s career carried him from 40-man roster exile to lock status in spring training 2024. Baseball can break your heart or build you back up.

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Excitement brewing over Natty Boh's return to Camden Yards

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While the Orioles spend the 2024 season trying to repeat as division champions, fans will be reintroduced to one of Baltimore’s iconic brews - which also repeats if you chug it too fast.

Natty Boh is coming back to Camden Yards.

The Orioles sent out a press release earlier today that featured new and returning menu items at the ballpark, but the big news is that National Bohemian will be available for the first time since 2016.

Fans will be able to purchase it in a specialty-themed orange can sold exclusively at the park, though the diehards would happily sip it out of their cupped hands. They just want their Natty Boh that disappeared suddenly in 2016 due to a dispute with parent company Pabst.

The blue ribbon goes to whoever mended those fences.

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Cowser stayed a slam dunk despite late slump

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SARASOTA, Fla. – In lieu of having a final roster in hand, many of us are reduced to the imperfect science of reading between the lines in media scrums or casual conversations.

The Orioles don’t share the combination to the vault. They don't offer anything that could be construed as a solid clue to their roster plans.

Their last exhibition game was played on a sunny day in Fort Myers, but reporters are largely kept in the dark.

No need for pity or a flashlight. That’s the way teams usually operate.

Colton Cowser has been an assumption for most of spring training, that he’d break camp as the backup at every outfield position. He earned it based on his production at the plate and defense.

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Cowser makes Orioles roster for Opening Day

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Orioles will have at least one rookie on their Opening Day roster.

Outfielder Colton Cowser found out after today’s 8-3 victory over the Twins that he’s going to Baltimore.

Standing outside the clubhouse after showering and putting on his street clothes, Cowser said, “I was just informed that I made the club. I’m excited.”

Cowser stopped, turned to a team official and asked, “Was I supposed to say that?”

“OK, all right,” he said after receiving approval. “I didn’t know.”

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Rodriguez and Irvin make final spring appearances, Henderson and Rutschman hit tape-measure homers

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Grayson Rodriguez won’t make his next start until Saturday at Camden Yards. When the games actually matter.

The importance of today’s outing was getting in a little more work and staying healthy. He wasn’t pitching for a spot on the team.

This isn’t 2023.

Rodriguez shut out the Twins on two hits over three innings, with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 52 pitches, 29 for strikes.

Alex Kirilloff saw nine of those pitches before striking out on a changeup as Rodriguez’s final batter.

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More on Orioles roster moves, Hays stays in lineup

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The final composition of the Orioles’ 26-man roster likely will remain unresolved until the team reconvenes in Baltimore.

Manager Brandon Hyde mentioned in today’s media scrum that Jordan Westburg made the club. He wasn’t prepared to share more than the obvious.

“We still have a lot of decisions to make,” Hyde said. “The usual guys are on the team. Just the last couple spots that we’re still going through some things.”

Ryan McKenna and Tyler Nevin are out of options and in the running. Colton Cowser is in a 3-for-21 skid and hasn’t been told that he’s at Camden Yards for Opening Day.

Until we receive confirmation, we're left with scenarios that include McKenna and Cowser, Nevin and Cowser, or McKenna and Nevin for the last two openings among position players.

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Wong, Teheran and Baker among Orioles camp cuts

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Orioles released second baseman Kolten Wong and pitcher Julio Teheran this morning after the pair opted out of their minor league contracts, moves that contributed to the narrowing of the camp roster to 33 players and simplified the remaining competitions.

Reliever Bryan Baker was optioned, and left-hander Andrew Suárez and catcher Maverick Handley were reassigned to minor league camp.

Removing Wong apparently leaves the final bench spot between Ryan McKenna and Tyler Nevin, barring a late outside addition. The Orioles are checking the waiver wire.

Infielder Nick Maton and catcher Michael Pérez also remain on the camp roster.

With Baker gone, the final bullpen spot comes down to Jacob Webb or Jonathan Heasley. Webb is out of options, while Heasley has one remaining.

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More Orioles roster reductions today, Wells with unique work last night

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles played two games yesterday and made zero cuts.

You can split squads but you can’t always slice a camp roster.

Moves are coming today that will reduce it from 35. Opt-out decisions are pending on infielder Kolten Wong and pitchers Julio Teheran and Andrew Suárez.

Wong played yesterday in Port Charlotte and hit a leadoff home run, his first of the spring. He’s 6-for-30 in 12 games, able to outlast Jackson Holliday but uncertain whether a left-handed hitting second baseman remains a priority for the Orioles.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias had expressed his preference for one over the winter, someone to replace veteran Adam Frazier, but all the talk about opposing left-handed pitchers early in the season makes it harder to get a true read on the situation.

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Burnes: "Overall, great spot and looking forward to Thursday” (O's win 3-2)

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The final exhibition start for Corbin Burnes was more of a tune-up for Opening Day. Get a few more innings and pitches under his belt and get him out of Florida healthy.

Burnes worked 5 1/3 innings tonight before Tyler Wells replaced him, allowing two runs (one earned) and five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He totaled 57 pitches, 44 for strikes in his fifth spring training appearance, and did more throwing in the bullpen.

Other work in camp was done on the back fields. Not everything that happens is for public viewing.

Burnes finishes with a 6.75 ERA in 16 innings.

“We’re in a great spot,” he said. “We were kind of at the point early on where we were trying to find the cutter a little bit, just the command of it. Off-speed stuff’s been great the whole camp, which usually comes pretty quickly for me. The last thing is as you kind of ramp up throwing, it’s all about finding the cutter and we did the last two, which has been really good.”

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Hyde on Suárez, Teheran, Kjerstad, McCann and more

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Julio Teheran tossed four scoreless innings today in a split-squad game against the Rays in Port Charlotte, allowing only one hit in a final bid to make the club.

Teheran is opting out of his contract and the Orioles must decide by Sunday whether to put him on the 26-man roster or let him go. In the meantime, his locker is cleaned out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex, with only a folding chair inside of it.

Reliever Andrew Suárez’s locker is in the same condition. He wasn’t on the list of yesterday’s roster cuts.

“I think right now he’s in a little bit of limbo and we’re just kind of holding off on him right now and kind of waiting to see what happens,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Asked about Teheran, Hyde said, “He’s in that boat, too, where we’re just kind of waiting to see.”

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Long-time Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos passes away at age 94

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Peter G. Angelos, the longtime Orioles owner, famed class-action attorney and political activist in the city of Baltimore, died earlier today. He was 94.

Angelos has been in poor healthy for many years, with son John taking control of the team and running the daily operations in 2018.

The club issued a statement on behalf of the Angelos family that read:

“Today, Peter G. Angelos passed away quietly at the age of 94. Mr. Angelos had been ill for several years, and the family thanks the doctors, nurses and caregivers who brought comfort to him in his final years. It was Mr. Angelos’ wish to have a private burial, and the family asks for understanding as they honor that request. Donations may be sent to charity in lieu of flowers.”

According to a lawsuit involving his sons in 2022, Angelos had surgery after his aortic valve failed in 2017.

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Orioles lineup vs. Blue Jays in Sarasota

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Last night’s cancellation has moved Corbin Burnes into tonight’s starting role against the Blue Jays in Sarasota and put Tyler Wells in the bullpen behind him.

Burnes has allowed 11 earned runs (12 total) and 14 hits in 10 2/3 innings and surrendered five home runs in his five outings. His next start after tonight comes on Opening Day.

Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop tonight, Jorge Mateo is the second baseman and Ramón Urías is the third baseman for the split-squad Orioles. Adley Rutschman is catching.

Ryan Mountcastle is the designated hitter with Ryan O’Hearn playing first base.

The outfield alignment is the one usually expected from the Orioles: Austin Hays in left, Cedric Mullins in center and Anthony Santander in right.

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More thoughts on Holliday's reassignment and some unexpected spring developments (lineup vs. Rays)

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SARASOTA, Fla. – To say that Jackson Holliday’s exclusion from the Opening Day roster is a stunning development wouldn’t be accurate. I felt like I kept advising people to brace for bad news, that it wasn’t a sure thing.

It ain’t on ‘till it’s on.

I gave Holliday less than a 50 percent chance before the Winter Meetings, jumped into the 60-70 percent range while flying out of Nashville, and came back down as Holliday’s strikeouts rose.

The improved at-bats and overall impressive play moved me again, but never to the point of feeling secure in his placement on a mock roster. I straddled that fence until it left permanent marks. Take my word for it.

One reason for my hesitancy in thinking that Holliday would be in Baltimore March 28 is how it went against the club’s usual cautious and deliberate handling of a top prospect in making the jump from Triple-A to the majors. This isn’t new. Or have we forgotten the Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson watches?

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More on Orioles roster cuts and pending decisions (tonight's game cancelled)

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles pared their camp roster to 38 players this afternoon. The cuts are presented for everyone. Who’s made the club isn’t as transparent.

The media isn’t alone in the dark. Colton Cowser, Ryan McKenna and Tyler Nevin haven’t learned their fates, mainly because the front office is checking on external options with contract opt-outs arriving today.

Cowser is baseball’s version of a slam dunk, but he’s waiting for official word.

“You never know,” he said. “Just going to continue to work and continue to do what I’m called upon to do.”

There isn’t much more that Cowser can do, with his at-bats and defense setting him up for fourth outfielder duties.

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Elias lays out reasons for Orioles' decision to reassign Holliday

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Three months after Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias described Jackson Holliday as “definitely a very strong possibility” to make the Opening Day roster, baseball’s No. 1 prospect was told that he’s beginning the season at Triple-A.

A promotion that wasn’t etched in stone crumbled in Sarasota. The dust was thick.

Holliday was counted among seven cuts but got the bulk of the attention and fan reaction after batting .311/.354/.600 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and six RBIs and 15 games. His comfort level expanded at second base, where he figured to get the vast majority of his work with Gunnar Henderson entrenched as the starting shortstop.

“Obviously a very tough decision on all these guys,” Elias said, making certain to include outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers, who were optioned, and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby, pitcher Albert Suárez and catcher David Bañuelos, who were reassigned to get the camp roster down to 38.

“We have a lot of players with a lot of really good statistics in camp, and a lot of them were sent out today, so that’s hard because these guys have put themselves in such a good position in terms of their performance and the kind of shape they came in. Making spring training evaluations, it’s more art than science, and all these guys did a great job of putting themselves in the thick of the competition and distinguishing themselves, even with this talented camp.”

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Orioles reassign Holliday among today's roster cuts

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Jackson Holliday will begin the 2024 season at Triple-A Norfolk.

The Orioles announced this afternoon that prospects Holliday, Coby Mayo and Connor Norby were reassigned to minor league camp and outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers were optioned.

Right-hander Albert Suárez and catcher David Bañuelos also were reassigned. But Holliday is the big news.

Baseball’s No. 1 prospect batted .311/.354/.600 in 15 games, with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and six RBIs. He was vying for playing time at second base, with Gunnar Henderson entrenched at shortstop.

Today’s move with Holliday could signal that the team is keeping Ryan McKenna as a fifth outfielder or carrying second baseman Kolten Wong, whose opt-out date is today.

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Orioles roster uncertainty appears narrowed to two decisions

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The camp roster held at 45 players yesterday. Jorge Mateo is confirmed for Opening Day in Baltimore.

Can the remaining decisions be simplified to, who’s the last reliever and bench player? Are we actually at that point in spring training?

A reduction to two spots with this many players on the major league side is interesting, to say the least.

To say the most, this is the correct math if bullpen locks are Craig Kimbrel, Yennier Cano, Danny Coulombe, Cionel Pérez, Mike Baumann, Dillon Tate and Keegan Akin. And if we’re waiting only to find out whether Jackson Holliday is on the Opening Day roster or the Orioles decide between second baseman Kolten Wong and a fifth outfielder like Kyle Stowers, Ryan McKenna or Heston Kjerstad.

In hindsight, it isn’t that simple. It’s more than just two players going head-to-head for one job, like the good ol’ backup catcher wars of past spring trainings before James McCann arrived.

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