Camp long shot Andrew Suarez made a nice first impression

SARASOTA, Fla. – If you call non-roster invite pitcher Andrew Suarez a long shot to make the Orioles roster, the left-hander completely understands that. And probably agrees with you.

He can also glance at the roster of a team that won 101 games last season and realize his chances to be on it for Opening Day are indeed, well, long.

But he has made a nice first and for that matter, second impression, throwing two scoreless innings twice already. So he has four scoreless allowing just one hit so far in spring games, both against Atlanta.

Suarez is no kid.

He’s 31 and was drafted three times, finally signing with the San Francisco Giants after being taken in the second round in 2015. By 2018, he was a regular starting pitcher in the Giants rotation, making 29 starts with an ERA of 4.49. But he hasn’t had as many chances or found as much success in the majors since.

He spent the 2021 season pitching in the Korea Baseball Organization and threw well there (10-2 with 2.18 ERA) and was in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan in 2022. Last year he was back in the United States, pitching in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He had an ERA of 7.16 in 27 2/3 big league innings and 4.08 in 64 innings with Triple-A Memphis.

Well-traveled and seasoned further by that international experience, Suarez, no relation to another Oriole pitcher in camp, right-hander Albert Suarez, is almost relishing his long shot status.

“I’m just enjoying it here day-by-day. I feel like I’m always a long shot. Last year as well. But I am having fun, trying to get better and what happens, happens,” he said.

“I didn’t have much interest from other teams (this winter). Baltimore called early in the offseason, just to kind of check in. And, probably a few weeks before spring training started, they called and asked if I was still interested. I said yes.

“Just playing against Norfolk last year you could see how good they were. I felt this would be a great organization to get better. They would maximize my stuff,” said Suarez, who played college ball at the University of Miami.

“I had a meeting with the coaches to discuss my plan of attack and how they want me to throw my pitches, so far it’s working and hopefully that keeps up,” he said of faring well in those games versus the Braves.

Suarez throws a fastball, slider, changeup and curveball and Statcast showed his fastball averaged 92.3 mph in 2023 in the big leagues.

Suarez appreciated the chance to pitch in Korea and Japan.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I had a great time in both countries. It’s a little different than here but guys have a lot of fun and love the game. It was fun to play there.”

Suarez said he played with the other Suarez in the O’s clubhouse with the Giants. Andrew, a lefty, is from Miami and Albert, a right-hander, is from Venezuela.

If Andrew Suarez begins this year in the O’s minors, he is fine with that and will do what he can to work to get to Baltimore.

“I have an option left. If that is what they want to do, I’m okay with that. I just want to pitch. Good with anywhere,” he said.

O's look for another win today: After beating the Yankees 7-3 Saturday, as Austin Hays and Kyle Stowers homered in front of an Ed Smith Stadium sellout crowd, the Orioles take a short trek north today to Bradenton to play Pittsburgh.

For the Orioles (8-1), right-hander Grayson Rodriguez gets his second spring start. He faced Detroit on Tuesday, allowing one hit and one run in two innings. Lefty Martin Perez starts for the Pirates.

Today's game will air on O's radio, heard today in Baltimore on WBAL NewsRadio. 


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