Rutschman triples in major league debut (updated)

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Adley Rutschman walked into the dugout around 6:30 p.m., turned and headed back into the tunnel. Photographers jostling for position on the other side of the railing lowered their arms. Stakeouts apparently come with a pause button.

Rutschman immediately came back, again in his full catching gear, walked up the steps and smiled as fans cheered and yelled his name. He wasn’t animated, but he noticed it.

The top pick in the 2019 draft is known as a big autograph signer, but the starting pitcher needed him in the bullpen.

Another ovation broke out as Rutschman’s name was read over the public address system, and again as he walked back from the bullpen to the dugout. The game hadn’t started and he already was bathed in sweat and showered with affection on a steamy evening at Camden Yards.

The major league debut of baseball’s No. 1 prospect was going to be rated a success just by getting him to Baltimore.

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Hyde: "It was fun to write the lineup out today"

Hyde: "It was fun to write the lineup out today"

Orioles fans arrived early at Camden Yards this afternoon, unable to pass through the gates but hopeful of scoring an autograph from catcher Adley Rutschman near the players’ entrance. Or at least get a glimpse of him.

A sign was hung outside Pickles Pub that read: “You Adley At Hello”

This is Rutschman’s day, for sure, but the Orioles had other business to handle, some of it more pleasant than others.

John Means avoided next Thursday’s arbitration hearing in New York by agreeing to a two-year contract, $5.925 million contract. The file-and-trial approach discarded again in a multi-year deal.

Means remains arbitration eligible in 2024, but his salary is set as he recovers from last month’s Tommy John surgery.

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Rutschman on his promotion, blocking out the noise, and more

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Adley Rutschman sat in Triple-A Norfolk manager Buck Britton’s office late last night and listened to advice about relaxing and just being himself, along with an explanation as to why he wasn’t in the lineup. Nodding his head. Exuding the same calmness that’s allowed him to thrive under enormous expectations. To never feel suffocated by the constant attention.

Then came the sneak attack by teammates - outfielder DJ Stewart reached him first - who knew he was called up to the majors and wanted to share in the moment. To intensify it, get physical with it.

His baseball world has been a blur since it happened, coming with its own spin rate.

Rutschman is batting sixth and catching rookie Kyle Bradish – purely coincidence, manager Brandon Hyde said - as the Orioles resume their series against the Rays at Camden Yards. He’s also going to be used as the designated hitter in certain games, but he won’t play first base.

The Orioles have plenty of other options.

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Rutschman catching and batting sixth

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Adley Rutschman makes his major league debut tonight as the Orioles’ No. 6 hitter in a lineup that looks a lot different with him in it.

Rutschman’s contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk this morning. The Orioles designated catcher Anthony Bemboom for assignment.

Rutschman will be catching Kyle Bradish, the No. 10 prospect in the system per MLBPipeline.com. Bradish, who’s a year older than Rutschman, has posted a 5.06 ERA and 1.359 WHIP in four major league starts.

Bradish has struck out 22 batters in 21 1/3 innings.

Ryan Mountcastle was activated from the injured list, as expected. A big day in Baltimore.

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Orioles promote Rutschman to majors

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The No. 1 prospect in baseball is coming to Baltimore today.

The Orioles are selecting the contract of catcher Adley Rutschman from Triple-A Norfolk, ending a wait that stretched beyond the patience of a fan base wondering when he’d finally debut.

Rutschman will report to Camden Yards this afternoon, wearing No. 35 and settling into a lineup that’s expected to carry him for many years to come.

Catcher Anthony Bemboom has been designated for assignment to create room on the 26 and 40-man rosters.

Rutschman, 24, was the first-overall selection in the 2019 draft, also the first for new executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias. He’s hit .282/.391/.488 in 179 games, with 38 doubles, three triples, 30 home runs and 110 RBIs in 778 plate appearances.

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Nevin producing with steadier playing time (plus Kjerstad update)

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Ryan Mountcastle is coming off the injured list this afternoon, ensuring that the Orioles make at least one roster move before playing the Rays at Camden Yards.

Maybe more with their bullpen on fumes.

Manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to use Bryan Baker last night. He’s had Cionel Pérez warm the last four nights, and the left-hander worked two-thirds of an inning in an 8-6, 13-inning win.

The Orioles are carrying 14 pitchers and could whittle the staff again to accommodate Mountcastle, but then they’re back to having multiple relievers down tonight. Otherwise, a position player is headed out the door.

Whatever. They’ll figure it out.

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Vespi makes victorious debut, Orioles finally solve Rays in 13 (updated)

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While the Orioles were beginning their home series tonight against the Rays, catcher Adley Rutschman sat on the visiting bench at Truist Field in Charlotte. The Triple-A Norfolk lineup card listed him among the reserves. He stood in front of the dugout for the anthem.

Any reported sightings at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport were done in jest.

The debut remains on hold, leaving fans to press for answers, some more aggressively than others, and a team to worry only about its opponent and life inside an unforgiving division.

The Yankees carried baseball’s best record out of Camden Yards, and the Rays walked in after beating the Orioles 18 times in 19 games last season and sweeping them this year in the opening series.

They won 15 in a row against the Orioles, their longest streak against any opponent in franchise history, and their last loss in Baltimore came in 2020.

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Notes on Mountcastle, Rutschman and more

Notes on Mountcastle, Rutschman and more

Ryan Mountcastle took batting practice on the field again today and is expected to be activated from the injured list prior to Saturday night’s game against the Rays.

Mountcastle hasn’t played since the Orioles scratched him from the May 11 lineup in St. Louis with discomfort in his left wrist and forearm. He went on the injured list a few days later.

“If everything goes well (today) and he doesn’t feel anything,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “he should be back in there tomorrow.”

A corresponding roster move must be made to accommodate Mountcastle.

The Orioles didn’t select catcher Adley Rutschman’s contract from Triple-A Norfolk. He apparently remains with the team in Charlotte as the Orioles begin another home series.

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Allen outrighted to Triple-A (plus Orioles lineup and notes)

Logan Allen pulled gray

Left-hander Logan Allen has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles made the announcement this afternoon.

Allen was claimed on waivers from the Guardians and made three relief appearances before the Orioles designated him for assignment. He allowed two runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings, with two walks and one strikeout.

Tyler Nevin is starting at first base tonight for the series opener against the Rays. Nevin is 5-for-10 with two RBIs in his last three games.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman and Chris Owings is starting at second in another right-handed lineup.

Tyler Wells is making his eighth major league start. He’s registered a 4.18 ERA and 1.250 WHIP in 28 innings, with only four walks and four home runs allowed.

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Three more observations about the Orioles

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Another series is in the books and the Orioles have moved on to the Rays, who arrive at Camden Yards for three games.

Sportswriters are prisoners to lists of five, but three sounds right. So here are three more observations while I wait for the lineup to be posted – and for more questions about possible call-ups.

I swear, I don’t have any inside information on Jacob Nottingham.

* Trey Mancini keeps squaring up baseballs, but now they’re finding grass or the seats.

Mancini entered yesterday slashing .375/.444/.500 in May, the second-highest average in the American League and third-highest on-base percentage. He’s reached base in 13 consecutive games after lining a single into center field in the first inning, and is batting .360 (18-for-50) with two home runs and five RBIs during that span, including his 10-pitch single in the ninth inning that led to Anthony Santander’s walk-off home run.

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Orioles ignore stats and avoid sweep with 9-6 win (updated)

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This wasn’t just the clichéd two teams heading in opposite directions moment in today’s game. The red-hot Yankees, with the best record in baseball, versus an Orioles team with six losses in a row to fall 10 below .500.

The Orioles were 4-20 when their opponent scored first. The Yankees were 19-2, and they jumped Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann for two runs in the opening inning.

If the Orioles were getting on any sort of roll through the weekend, they’d first have to go off script.

The teams were tied four times as they closed out the series at Camden Yards. Three soft singles from the Yankees in the sixth inning appeared to doom the Orioles, but they reclaimed the lead in the bottom half and held it until two outs in the ninth.

DL LeMahieu’s fly ball in front of right fielder Anthony Santander scored Isiah Kiner-Falefa to destroy Jorge López’s bid for a four-out save. Félix Bautista left the bases loaded, and then Santander hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the Orioles’ 9-6 win before an announced crowd of 23,819 that prevented back-to-back series sweeps.

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Notes on Mullins, Mountcastle, Vespi, bullpen and more

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Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins is available to play today, but he’s beginning the game on the bench.

His health is fine.

“Just giving him a little breather,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Long stretch.”

The next day off is a week from today.

Ryan Mountcastle hit in the cage today and did some throwing, and he’s going to take batting practice on the field prior on Friday’s game against the Rays.

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Orioles lineup vs. Yankees

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The Orioles will try to avoid back-to-back sweeps and snap a six-game losing streak this afternoon with Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann on the mound.

Zimmermann has posted a 2.72 ERA and 1.211 WHIP in seven starts, with only three home runs surrendered in 36 1/3 innings. He’s already faced the Yankees twice this season, shutting them out over five innings in Baltimore and allowing three earned runs (four total) and seven hits in 4 1/3 in the Bronx.

Austin Hays was 0-for-18 before doubling twice and singling last night. He’s the leadoff hitter today with Cedric Mullins out of the lineup.

Assuming it’s a rest day, but we’ll check.

Ryan McKenna is playing center field in manager Brandon Hyde’s right-handed lineup. Ramón Urías is the designated hitter and Chris Owings is the second baseman.

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Means finding out again what he means to Orioles

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John Means walked into the Orioles’ clubhouse Tuesday afternoon, about five minutes before it closed to the media, with a long brace on his left arm, a broad smile on his face and his eyes scanning the room.

Searching for teammates who hadn't gone on the field.

Means began to walk toward the doors leading into the dining area, paused and took a sharp left to his locker. The nameplate was back above it. He joked that he was happy to find out he still had one.

The Orioles know that Means won’t pitch for them in 2022, but they want him to stay. To resume his leadership role, set the example, lift them during the down periods that strike a rebuilding club.

Even with one bad arm.

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Orioles trade Fry, Lyles goes long in 3-2 loss (updated)

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Less than a week after the Orioles designated Paul Fry for assignment, they found a trade partner for him and severed ties with their longest tenured pitcher.

Fry was sent to the Diamondbacks tonight for 19-year-old pitcher Luis Osorio, who spent his only professional season in 2021 in the Dominican Summer League.

Osorio, a native of Venezuela, posted a 5.83 ERA and 1.272 WHIP in 15 games, including six starts. He walked 20 batters and struck out 54 in 41 2/3 innings.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias has a fondness for acquiring young talent to stock the DSL rosters, moves he’s orchestrated multiple times at the trade deadline.

Osorio faced the Orioles’ DSL1 team on Sept. 16 and earned the win with four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out eight.

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Means "way ahead of schedule" after elbow surgery

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Orioles pitcher John Means has his arbitration hearing set for May 26, during an off-day between visits to New York and Boston.

Means will be with the Orioles for the first half of the trip, wearing a brace on his left elbow and a mustache that he decided to grow again.

“Got to keep it interesting, you know?” he said this afternoon in his first media scrum since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

“I’m losing my mind. I’ve got to keep it fresh. I don’t know. Felt like doing it one day and here it is.”

The facial hair gets mixed reviews, but Means said his recovery from surgery is “going better than it’s supposed to be.”

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Jorge Mateo is back in Orioles lineup for tonight's game

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Jorge Mateo has returned to the Orioles lineup for tonight’s game against the Yankees.

Mateo wasn’t available since Sunday’s collision with Detroit’s Spenser Torkelson that left him with a bruised shoulder and chest.

Austin Hays is playing left field on back-to-back nights since returning to the lineup. Tyler Nevin is the first baseman and Anthony Bemboom is catching.

No roster moves have been announced.

Trey Mancini is batting .392 (20-for-51) with two home runs since May 3.

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Kremer's return to mound leads to more questions

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The Orioles didn’t wait long this season to create some roster and injury intrigue, to build speculation and curiosity within the media until further details became available.

Remember the third game at Tropicana Field?

Come on, it wasn’t that long ago.

The club hadn’t confirmed its fifth starter, who became Spenser Watkins. Dean Kremer began to warm in the visiting bullpen, eliminating him from the race.

And then, he walked to the dugout. An unusual move, since relievers usually go from the ‘pen to the mound.

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Rodriguez provides nice distraction on farm as Orioles lose fifth in a row (updated)

Rodriguez provides nice distraction on farm as Orioles lose fifth in a row (updated)

The timing of Spenser Watkins’ start for the Orioles was bound to shift the attention away from him at various points in the night.

Grayson Rodriguez was pitching for Triple-A Norfolk in Charlotte. The internet is still a thing. You get the idea.

The No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball struck out a season-high 11 batters in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, his fastball registering at 98-99 mph per Statcast. Screens on laptops in the press box were flipped like hotcakes.

Rodriguez exited the game in the sixth after an error and walk disturbed his evening. The out came when he covered third base on a fly ball force play – you had to be there - and Mike Baumann stranded the runners.  

Watkins, meanwhile, was facing the team with the best record in baseball, and with Aaron Judge returning to its lineup. Judge had an RBI double and home run through the third, Watkins was removed after the fourth with the Orioles leading, and Judge greeted Joey Krehbiel with a game-tying 422-foot home run.

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Orioles recall Gillaspie and option Bannon (plus lineups and notes)

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The Orioles doubled down on their earlier roster move that promoted left-hander Nick Vespi to the majors.

Pitcher Logan Gillaspie was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk this afternoon to increase bullpen depth during a rough stretch of games. Infielder Rylan Bannon was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

Gillaspie, added to the 40-man roster after the 2021 season, has made nine combined appearances between Double-A Bowie and Norfolk and registered a 3.14 ERA and 1.186 WHIP with 17 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. He surrendered two runs in 6 1/3 innings with the Tides.

“Another guy on our 40-man roster that we want to take a look at,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Didn’t see him much in spring training. Kind of an unusual story. Remember talking to him in camp. I just saw him for two seconds before I came in here, so haven’t had a chance to speak with him much, but he started the year in Double-A, pitched well, been doing a fairly good job in Triple-A, and we needed the innings.”

Vespi, 26, and Gillaspie, 25, are awaiting their major league debuts.

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