Colton Cowser's bat stays hot and Joey Ortiz on his return to Baltimore

Different venue, same hot bat for Orioles outfielder Colton Cowser. On a night when the Orioles lost 11-1 to the Brewers, the rookie with the sweet lefty swing produced more offense for the Orioles.

Cowser is taking a one-day-at-a-time approach to put up big numbers so far this year.

“Looking forward to every day, having a fresh start, whether the night before was good or bad,” he said before the series opener.

Then he smoked a double at 103.5 mph in the first inning and hit a solo homer off winning pitcher Freddy Peralta that was 105.1 off the bat in the third.

Over the last four games, Cowser is 8-for-16 with seven extra-base hits (four doubles and three homers) and 11 RBIs. He has driven in a run in four consecutive games.

Teammates have described Cowser as focused and intense since the beginning of spring training and he says that mindset has been important. Is that a big reason he’s swinging it so well?

“I think a lot of it,” he said. “Tried to come in as confident as I could be. Kind of had nothing to lose coming into this spring, especially after how last year went. So, kind of put that behind me and was only really just looking forward to build off of what happened prior.”

So what allowed him, after hitting just .115 last year in 26 games, to come into this season so confident?

“I think a couple of things. I think you are more comfortable every year. Last year I was comfortable, but not as comfortable as I could have been. We’ve got a really good clubhouse with a lot of great guys, ballplayers and good guys. Everyone has each other’s backs, so understanding that and using the guys around me helps a lot,” he said.

In 12 games, Cowser is batting .481/.500/1.037/1.537 with six doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs.

He didn’t homer in his first 99 career plate appearances and now has hit three in his last eight PAs.

Ortiz returns to Baltimore: Players have said through many trades over many years that it can be jarring when it happens. For infielder Joey Ortiz, drafted by the Orioles in round four of 2019, he played 316 games on their watch on the farm. He rose to become a top 100 prospect.

And then he was traded.

It happened Feb. 1 when the O’s acquired ace pitcher Corbin Burnes, but had to give up lefty pitcher DL Hall, Ortiz and a draft pick to make that happen.

He was getting ready to head to spring training and then reversed course and headed to join another club.

“Kind of happened pretty fast, kind of out of nowhere. But I was excited. An opportunity with this team, so excitement,” Ortiz, 25, said Friday afternoon in the Milwaukee clubhouse.

Then he went out and had a 3-for-5 night in the Brewers win and drove in two runs with his first-career triple in the second and a single in the ninth inning.

“Any big league team that wants you, that is a good thing," he said of the trade.

How does he feel now toward the Orioles?

“I don’t really think about it. I just think about being with the Brewers,” he said, adding that joining that club with Hall made the process smoother for him.

“It made it a lot easier,” he said. “But everyone was so nice and that made it comfortable.”

He was a top 100 prospect on the O’s watch. Ranked No. 95 before the 2023 season by Baseball America. Rated No. 99 last year by and No. 63 before this season.

He played with some top prospects in Norfolk and sees some of his friends still raking there and in Baltimore now. He’s been keeping up from a distance.

“Absolutely. Follow all the guys I played with. Seems like everyone is doing well which is not anything new. It will be nice to see them today.”

He was asked about the advice he would give his former teammates who are still in Norfolk waiting to get the chance with the Orioles.

“Put your head down and work. Everyone sees how they are doing, the numbers they are putting up. Put your head down and grind through it.

“You have guys down there that are playing well and ready for the big leagues and the team up here is doing well. That’s a good thing to have.," said Ortiz.

After losing by three, three, one and one run, the Orioles suffered their biggest loss of the year by margin Friday night. They fall to 4-1 in series-opening games.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee has scored 12, 8, 9, 7 and 11 the last five games for 47 total runs. It's the Brewers' first time with five straight games scoring seven or more runs since August of 2011. 

Milwaukee is 9-3 for the year and 6-1 in road games.  




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