Irvin chosen to start third game in Boston (and other notes)

Cole Irvin photo day white

Two of the first three starters for the Orioles to begin the 2023 season will be making their debuts with the club.

Left-hander Cole Irvin is confirmed for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He follows Opening Day starter Kyle Gibson on Thursday and Dean Kremer on Saturday.

Irvin posted a 3.14 ERA in spring training with five earned runs and 17 hits allowed in 14 1/3 innings. He walked only one batter and struck out nine.

The Orioles acquired Irvin and minor league pitcher Kyle Virbitsky from the Athletics in January for Single-A infielder Darell Hernaiz. He’s made two career appearances against the Red Sox, including one start, and allowed two earned runs in nine innings.

This will be Irvin’s first career game at Fenway Park.

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Some lasting thoughts and images from Orioles spring training (update)

Terrin Vavra

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles will hold their final spring training workout this morning at the Ed Smith Stadium complex and board their flight to Boston. They get a full off-day Wednesday and begin the playoff hunt the following afternoon.

Opening Day rosters must be set by noon Thursday and the Orioles aren’t ready to announce their final 26. Too much can happen between the waiver wire, opt-outs and possible trades.

The final bench and bullpen spots are getting further scrutiny. The optioning of Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall finally allowed Tyler Wells to settle into the rotation and made room for another reliever. But Danny Coulombe arrived from the Twins yesterday for cash considerations, a left-handed wrench tossed into the latest projections.

The roster as it stands now has 31 players with Rule 5 pick Andrew Politi on waivers, a move that the club hasn’t announced but a source confirmed.

The placement of John Means, Dillon Tate, Mychal Givens and James McCann on the injured list would make it 27.

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Rodriguez, Lester, O'Hearn, Cordero and Westburg among Orioles' camp cuts (updated)


SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles will begin the 2023 season without their two top pitching prospects on the Opening Day roster.

DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez have been optioned to minor league camp in the past two days – Hall to get stretched out as a starter and Rodriguez based on his spring struggles.

The news on Rodriguez came earlier today, with the right-hander sabotaged by one bad inning in each of his last three appearances. He allowed a combined 11 earned runs and 14 total with 14 hits over 10 2/3 innings in those three games.

“Any time you have those type of conversations, it's not easy,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I think that, like all of our guys, he handled it like a pro. And we'll move on from there."

Also today, the Orioles reassigned infielders Josh Lester, Ryan O’Hearn and Jordan Westburg, outfielder Daz Cameron, catcher Maverick Handley and pitcher Eduard Bazardo. First baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero and outfielder Nomar Mazara exercised the opt-out clauses in their contracts and were granted their release.

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Orioles remain cautious with McCann and unsure of his status


SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles catcher James McCann hit off a tee yesterday to gauge the level of discomfort in his left oblique and didn’t come away with renewed confidence in his status for Opening Day.

McCann said the hitting session went “OK.” He hasn’t played in a week.

“Good, not great, would be the best way I could put it,” he said.

Adley Rutschman is catching today, and Ramon Rodriguez has a locker in the clubhouse. Mark Kolozsvary arrived yesterday from minor league camp.

“We’re going to slow play the next couple days and just see how I progress,” he said. “At the end of the day, the biggest thing that I can say is, being smart now is better than being sorry later.

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Orioles lineup vs. Cardinals in final exhibition game (updated)


SARASOTA, Fla. – The last exhibition game of 2023 will be played this afternoon, with the Cardinals driving across the state to face Orioles’ No. 2 starter Dean Kremer.

Félix Bautista is expected to make his last appearance and be deemed ready for Opening Day. Injuries in the bullpen make his availability even more important.

Mike Baumann also could make his final appearance while trying to wrestling away the last bullpen spot.

Manager Brandon Hyde has posted a lineup that contains most of his projected starters. Austin Hays and Kyle Stowers aren’t in it against St. Louis left-hander Jordan Montgomery, but Gunnar Henderson is the designated hitter and Ramón Urías is playing third base.

That could happen again.

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Orioles almost done with Grapefruit League and must squeeze more players off camp roster

Mychal Givens

SARASOTA, Fla. – We have reached the final day of spring training. The Orioles play the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium. The equipment is packed, the complex will empty after Tuesday morning’s workout, and the word “Publix” won’t be uttered again until next spring.

Also going away are the warm temperatures. The high in Boston for Thursday’s opener is 43 degrees, with a 70 percent chance of rain Saturday.

Baseball isn’t boring but it can get rude.

The sure things on the Opening Day roster also started to disappear, beginning with reliever Dillon Tate. His forearm strain is expected to keep him on the injured list until mid-to-late May.

Mychal Givens hasn’t been used in relief since March 16 and he limped off the mound only 10 pitches into yesterday’s simulated game, firing his glove against the dugout railing and venting verbally, as well. Couldn’t miss it.

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Orioles option DL Hall among three roster cuts

DL Hall throwing white

SARASOTA, Fla. – One of the biggest roster decisions for the Orioles has been made.

Left-hander DL Hall was among three pitchers optioned to minor league camp today following a 4-2 win over the Phillies.

Spenser Watkins and Yennier Canó also were cut to bring the number down to 41, including 10 non-roster invites. Fifteen additional moves are pending.

The Orioles fly to Boston after Tuesday's workout in Sarasota.

Hall got a late start in spring training due to lower-back discomfort that he noticed about three weeks before reporting. He made only two appearances, and the Orioles decided against putting him in the bullpen on Opening Day.

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Bradish back to earlier spring form, Santander hits first homer with Orioles

Kyle Bradish pitching white

SARASOTA, Fla. – Kyle Bradish can take his seat in the waiting room.

Grayson Rodriguez made his final spring start Thursday afternoon and allowed five runs in four innings. Tyler Wells pitched last night in Bradenton and held the Pirates to an unearned run and two hits through the fifth.

Bradish faced the Phillies today in Sarasota and rationed them to one run and one hit in five innings. He impressed in four of his five outings.

This one felt important.

Manager Brandon Hyde removed Bradish twice in the middle of innings Monday in Clearwater. The right-hander totaled 2 1/3 and was charged with nine runs and nine hits.

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Givens limps off mound to conclude abbreviated simulated game

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Mychal Givens threw 10 pitches this morning in his simulated game on the stadium mound, walked away from it gingerly and fired his glove against the railing as he neared the dugout. He shouted in frustration, the pat on his shoulder seconds earlier from head athletic trainer Brian Ebel unable to comfort him.

Givens experienced more pain in his left knee and returned to the trainers’ room for treatment and further evaluation. The Orioles aren’t ready to pronounce him unavailable for Opening Day, but all signs point to a stint on the injured list.

Anthony Santander lined Givens’ second pitch into left-center field. Jordan Westburg and Franchy Cordero also were in the hitting group before the session shut down.

Manager Brandon Hyde spoke to the media a few minutes later and didn’t have many details to share.

“He walked off with some knee discomfort this morning throwing his sim game,” Hyde said. “Just getting checked out right now.”

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McCann provides update on oblique soreness, Mateo starting in center field

James McCann Mets swing white

SARASOTA, Fla. – A younger version of James McCann would have tried to push through the soreness in his oblique. Proceed without caution. But he’s a veteran in 2023 and he knows better.

McCann hasn’t played since Monday in Clearwater due to the discomfort in his left side, which he noticed while swinging at a pitch. He went on the injured list last season with the Mets after being diagnosed with a strained left oblique – a little more than two weeks after returning from a fractured hamate bone.

The Orioles are withholding McCann from the lineup again this afternoon. They don’t know whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day in Boston.

“It’s not bad,” he said this morning. “It’s something minor, but obliques are a funny thing, and after going through an oblique injury last year, it’s something we’ve treated with a lot of caution just to be sure it doesn’t turn into a two-month absence.”

McCann said he’s “hopeful” that he can make the Opening Day roster. Otherwise, Anthony Bemboom would break camp with the Orioles for the second consecutive season.

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Orioles approaching time to make final roster cuts

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The risk of writing about the players left in a spring training camp is that cuts could be made before one types the final sentences. They happen before first pitch, they happen while the media is stuck in traffic leaving Clearwater or Dunedin. They can be shortly after the last out or more than an hour after the bus pulled out of the complex.

The Orioles are prepared to do their heaviest lifting at the conclusion, with the equipment truck already headed back to Baltimore and with a flight to Boston prepped for them. They’re 18 players over the 26-man limit. The time to trim and wait is running out.

It’s easy to be tricked into including players on the current roster who already were cut, since so many come back for games and still have lockers at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. And predicting the next group to go is harder with the unknown statuses of a few pitchers.

Someone must replace Mychal Givens if the sidearmer’s sore left knee forces him onto the injured list. He’s played catch the last two days but that’s it.

Here are the last 44 standing, some on healthier legs than others:

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Wells finishes in fine fashion, Hall has second spring outing, O'Hearn homers among three hits (O's win 6-4)

Tyler wells pitching white

BRADENTON, Fla. – Asked again about Tyler Wells before tonight’s game against the Pirates, the latest attempt to ascertain the Orioles’ plans for him, manager Brandon Hyde noted the positive reports from the right-hander’s last outing in Tampa and how well he pitched as a starter in 2022.

“I think he can do a lot of things for us,” Hyde said.

The specifics remain locked in the vault.

Wells issued the strongest statement for his inclusion on the roster with tonight’s effort against the Pirates, the only question being in what role. He was touched only for an unearned run and two hits over five innings, with no walks and two strikeouts. He retired 14 of the last 16 batters.

Coupled with his previous outing against the Yankees, Wells has surrendered one earned run with no walks in 8 2/3 innings. A fast finish in the race for a rotation spot.

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Givens uncertain whether he can avoid injured list

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BRADENTON, Fla. – Mychal Givens played catch this afternoon for the second consecutive day to test his left knee, but reliever and team are no closer to knowing whether he can make the Opening Day roster.

Givens hasn’t pitched since March 16 and the Orioles want him to face hitters at least one more time before breaking camp. They could arrange a simulated game on the Camden Yards field.

“Still taking it day-by-day, just trying to make sure everything’s good,” Givens said this afternoon when asked for an update on the knee.

“It went well yesterday and he got treatment today,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I think it’s feeling OK. As of right now we don’t have any more plans than yesterday went well, see how he was today, he was going to play catch again today, and see if we get him in a game or back field or something.”

Givens didn’t know his schedule beyond today’s flat ground session or have a true sense of whether he could avoid the injured list.

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Urías in Orioles' lineup tonight in Bradenton

Tyler Wells pitching gray

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles play their last spring road game tonight, with Tyler Wells starting against the Pirates in Bradenton and Ramón Urías hoping to stay in the lineup after twice being scratched with a bruised right thumb.

Urías is starting at second base and batting second behind third baseman Terrin Vavra.

“I feel like I’m good to go,” he said this afternoon.

Urías tested the hand yesterday by hitting in the cage and taking ground balls.

“Whenever I threw the baseball and it hit my fingers, it was still too sensitive,” he said. “I shouldn’t have an issue tonight.”

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Cordero, Lester and O'Hearn keep the competition cranked


SARASOTA, Fla. – Anthony Santander received his second exhibition start at first base last night. With the club undecided on a primary backup, it makes sense to check whether he can be trusted to do more than field ground balls in pregame drills.

Santander has shown that he’s comfortable, running down a foul popup last night and handling every throw, but the Orioles have other options. For instance, non-roster invites Franchy Cordero, Josh Lester and Ryan O’Hearn remain in camp, surviving cuts that whittled the roster to 44 players.

“We definitely have more depth this year, and we still have a huge number in camp because we still want to take a look at a lot of people,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Still have roster spots open that we haven’t finalized. We’re just starting to have those conversations. We have them throughout the spring but narrowing down to how our roster is going to look when he break. Still questionable right now.”

Cordero was inserted at first base in the seventh inning last night, and Lester went to third. O’Hearn batted for designated hitter Ryan Mountcastle in the eighth. They were stacked back-to-back-to-back in the order, which seemed appropriate. Lined up like actors auditioning for a role.

O’Hearn walked in the eighth, Cordero singled into right field and Lester walked. They all scored, as the Orioles battled back to tie the game.

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Gibson gets through fifth after cutting thumb and allowing pair of three-run homers (O's win 7-6)


SARASOTA, Fla. – Maybe Kyle Gibson got his bad game out of the way before Opening Day rather than on it.

Named the March 30 starter this morning, Gibson surrendered a pair of three-run homers by the second inning and faced 14 batters. He was removed with two outs in the first and his pitch count at 36, re-entered and worked through the fifth.

Certainly not what Gibson wanted, but it threatened to be a whole lot worse.

Gibson was just four batters into his start – two singles, Oswaldo Cabrera’s home run and a double – when manager Brandon Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel walked to the mound. A chilling sight considering Gibson’s status in the rotation and John Means’ absence from it after undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.

Ebel checked Gibson’s right hand, a warmup toss didn’t raise any further concerns, and the veteran kept pitching.

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Kremer named No. 2 starter (Urías scratched again from lineup)

Dean Kremer throws gray

SARASOTA, Fla. – Dean Kremer will break camp next week as the No. 2 starter in the Orioles rotation, giving him the April 1 assignment in Boston.

Manager Brandon Hyde provided the information this afternoon but wasn’t ready to go further down the line. A few crumbs for the hungry media.

Kremer is starting Monday’s final exhibition game against the Cardinals in Sarasota, one day after Kyle Bradish faces the Phillies. However, Kremer is moving ahead of Bradish to begin the regular season.

Kyle Gibson is the Opening Day starter for the second time in his career. The club confirmed it this morning.

Kremer has allowed five runs in 14 innings this spring, all on solo home runs. He’s walked two batters and struck out nine.

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Kyle Gibson named Orioles' Opening Day starter (plus O's lineup)

Kyle Gibson throw white Phillies

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles signed veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson in December to give them innings in a rotation thin on track-record starters, and to provide leadership in a youthful clubhouse. They knew that much.

What evolved later was his placement atop the rotation.

Gibson has been chosen as the Opening Day starter for the Orioles' game on March 30 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The club made the announcement this morning, about 9 ½ hours before he steps on the mound to face the Yankees’ split-squad team in Sarasota.

So much for projections earlier that Gibson could slot near the back end.

Gibson has made four starts and allowed two runs and 11 hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts in 14 innings this spring. He’s been chosen twice to pitch on Opening Day in 10 major league seasons, also earning the assignment with the Rangers in 2021.

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Leftovers for breakfast

Brandon Hyde warmup

SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday that the bulk of the final spring training cuts, and perhaps all of them, will be made before the club leaves Sarasota. He said the Orioles haven’t talked about bringing extra players to Boston besides the taxi squad.

“There are things that could happen,” he said, “but we haven’t even had those discussions yet.”

The camp roster still holds 44 players and must get down to 26.

“We still have a lot of cuts to make and we still have a lot of guys to pick from,” Hyde said. “We’re just kind of starting those conversations now.”

Some of the non-roster invites remaining in camp appear to be easy calls, and pitchers John Means and Dillon Tate will be placed on the injured list, but the Orioles might be waiting to decide on a backup first baseman and whether it simply involves moving some players from other positions.

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Rodriguez struggles in third before strong finish, Mullins homers in return, Orioles and Tigers tie 8-8

Cedric Mullins smile white

SARASOTA, Fla. – The trouble that found Grayson Rodriguez in the fourth inning in his past two starts arrived a little earlier tonight.

Rodriguez allowed five runs in the third after retiring six of the first seven Tigers batters. Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson burned him with two-out RBI singles and Nick Maton jumped on a two-strike pitch and cleared the center field fence.

In a reverse from his spring past, Rodriguez got a fly ball and two strikeouts while retiring the side in order in the fourth. He fanned former Oriole Jonathan Schoop on 10 pitches, blowing a fastball past him.

Andrew Knapp also struck out to end the inning, and left-hander Cionel Pérez began to warm. But again, the second time through the order created issues.

Rodriguez was charged with five runs and four hits in four innings, with no walks and five strikeouts. All of the damage occurred in the third.

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