DL Hall on his return: “Definitely a weird feeling but awesome"

DL Hall went through the usual, almost clichéd, struggle this afternoon to find the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards.

The strangeness never goes away for players changing teams and routines. The sense of direction is lost. Amusement follows in the retelling.

“Definitely a little weird for sure,” he said after greeting members of the Baltimore media with a smile and handshake. “I was walking in today, didn’t even know where to go. I was like, ‘I’ve been here but I don’t know how to get to the visiting side.’

“Definitely a weird feeling but awesome. Super excited, obviously.”

The Orioles made their big winter strike by trading Hall and elite-fielding shortstop Joey Ortiz to the Brewers on Feb. 1 for former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, a three-time All-Star and the bona fide ace that the front office hunted.

Hall never saw it coming.

“I feel like that’s anybody. I didn’t have any idea. It was a pretty big shock,” he said.

“For the first probably 24 hours, tough thinking about leaving the guys that you came up with and all that, but once I got here, it’s an unbelievable group, unbelievable clubhouse. It’s awesome. It definitely made it a little bit easier.”

Getting the chance to start again made the deal much easier to accept. The Orioles tried to develop Hall in that role, but injuries stunted the process and his effectiveness out of the bullpen was too enticing for a contender to ignore.

“Super, super,” said Hall, whose major league debut came as a starter on Aug. 13, 2022 at Tropicana Field, followed by 29 relief appearances between ’22 and ’23.

“It’s not just the fact of being a starter, but it’s been a long road for me with injury and jumping back and forth in the bullpen. To kind of see that come to fruition and get back to starting is awesome. It’s a great feeling.”

Hall made his first Opening Day team and never questioned how he’d be used. The Brewers were clear with their intentions.

“They assured me from the start, they had great faith in me and they’ve made me super comfortable,” Hall said. “It’s nice to be able to know that I get to work and go out there every fifth day and try to prove myself.”

Burnes starts Sunday against his former club, bringing a 1.93 ERA and 0.750 WHIP into the game. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias viewed the trade as a win for both sides, with the Brewers landing a former top prospect with a big-time arm and a gifted fielder who tore up Triple-A pitching last year.

“It was kind of after the first day you realize it’s an awesome opportunity for Joey and myself,” Hall said. I’m happy to play ball anywhere. We get to play a kids game for our job, so I’m happy no matter where it’s at.”

Anyone in particular that Hall wants to face Saturday? He laughed and said, “I think everybody.”

Don’t play favorites.

“I think it’s all going to be exciting,” he said. “Obviously a really good lineup over there. We want to face the best and I think that’s what we’re going to get.”

Pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, a close friend and offseason hunting partner, wants to get an at-bat against Hall.

“Yeah, he’s already letting me know that he’s trying to get in the lineup,” Hall said. “I don’t think it’s going to work out. But I don’t think it would work out for him, either.”

Hall has made two starts and allowed two runs in four innings against the Mets and three runs in 5 1/3 against the Mariners. He’s also surrendered 14 hits.

Ortiz is starting at third base again tonight. He’s 6-for-20 with a double.

* Manager Brandon Hyde said reliever Yohan Ramírez, acquired from the Mets yesterday for cash considerations, should report to the team within the next few days.

The Orioles will need to make a corresponding move on the 26-man roster.

* Reliever Dillon Tate hasn’t pitched since Saturday but is fine physically.

“The opportunity hasn’t gotten there. Should be tonight probably,” Hyde said.

“We’ve faced a lot of left-handed lineups, so trying to pick the right matchups for him.”

* Colton Cowser moves up to second in the order after collecting six hits and 10 RBIs in the three-game series in Boston.

“Adley (Rutschman) is not in there, so I shuffled the lineup a little bit and gave Mounty (Ryan Mountcastle) a day off, too,” Hyde said.

“Just make some changes when the regulars aren’t in.”

* Many of Jackson Holliday's teammates are wearing the orange T-shirt with his likeness on it that the club is distributing tonight to the first 15,000 fans ages 15 and over.

"It's pretty sweet," he said. "I actually like that picture. It's good. It's really cool. I know a bunch of people back home want one."

Holliday has the locker that Ryan McKenna and Tony Kemp used most recently. It was surrounded by media again this afternoon.

They best escape is getting on the field and playing in his first home game.

"It's a pretty awesome place to be able to play and definitely looking forward to tonight," he said.

“It’s been fun. I haven’t gotten a hit yet, which I’m looking forward to. Swept Boston, so that’s definitely a positive.”

For the Brewers

Jackson Chourio RF
William Contreras C
Christian Yelich LF
Willy Adames SS
Sal Frelick CF
Rhys Hoskins 1B
Gary Sánchez DH
Andruw Monasterio 2B
Joey Ortiz 3B

Freddy Peralta RHP

Jackson Holliday talks about playing his first hom...
Orioles lineup vs. Brewers includes Hays

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