More on Hall and Baumann before Orioles' game in Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. – DL Hall felt good during yesterday’s two-inning simulated game on the Camden Yards field, and he didn’t report any issues this morning with his lower back – or any other part of him.

Nothing much is standing in the way of Hall’s spring debut. It’s arriving next week.

Hall threw 42 pitches, twice striking out 2020 first-round draft pick Heston Kjerstad in the second.

“Still trying to just get the body going and just get used to facing hitters and just start to crisp my pitches up and things like that,” he said. “But feeling good.”

Hall said he’s a little sore today, “but nothing that’s not normal.” The Orioles gladly will take it.

The club has conceded that Hall won’t be ready to start by Opening Day. He’s going to fall short of the necessary number of innings.

The left-hander could produce his first line Monday in Clearwater or in Tuesday’s home game against the Red Sox that airs on MASN.

“I think it’s scheduled for, like, maybe Monday or Tuesday for a game, hopefully, depending on how recovery and things go. Hopefully, that stays on track,” he said.

“I’m ready. It’s been a while, obviously. I’m ready to go.”

Hall made that clear yesterday with the stuff he flashed.

“My shapes and everything were extremely good for what I wanted them to be,” he said. “I’m still early in the process, but everything I was throwing yesterday had great shapes. I had great command of my fastball, so just little things like that are wins right now.”

How Hall interpreted his outing matched the input he received from Adley Rutschman, who caught him in the bullpen and again on the back field.

“That’s something we always go over,” Hall said. “Me and him just work well together in general. Being able to throw the things that, when we’re on the same track and being able to actually execute those pitches is huge for us.”

Manager Brandon Hyde repeated today that the club is developing Hall as a starter and that’s how he’ll build up in camp. But then what?

“We could go a lot of different directions when the season breaks. You don’t want to close the door on anything with him,” Hyde said.

“We do think he’s still a rotation candidate. If he can’t break as a rotation candidate, but a rotation piece down the road or this year at some point. But we could also put him in the ‘pen and be like a bulk-inning guy. There’s a lot of things we could do with him.”

Hall won’t be stretched to go more than three innings before March 30.

“The question then is, see how he is and then we’re going to do what’s best for him and kind of see what our needs are at that point, and make a decision at that point,” Hyde said.

“We think he’s got a chance to be a really good starter in this league, and so, to limit him right now, you don’t want to do that. We’re not ready to do that yet. We want to see him as a starter candidate. Starters are at a premium in this league. … For DL, the best thing for him is to continue to get stretched out and see if he can be a starter.”

A six-man rotation isn’t in the discussion.

Hall was long gone by the time Mike Baumann entered last night’s game in the eighth inning and retired the Blue Jays in order with a strikeout.

Hyde revealed afterward that Baumann will be used in shorter spurts rather than trying to stretch him out to start. The field of rotation candidates was down to nine.

“I think it will be good knowing what they expect out of me moving forward,” Baumann said this morning, “and I’m ready to embrace the role.”

Alex De Jesús struck out to lead off the eighth and the next two batters grounded out.

“I felt good,” Baumann said. “I felt like I just kind of went out there, didn’t give myself time to think, and just kind of let it eat. So, felt good.”

The Orioles have used Baumann in a variety of ways at the major and minor league levels. They’ve tried to develop him as a starter but inevitably slipped him back into the bullpen.

Baumann totaled seven innings over his first three spring games. He allowed six runs to the Blue Jays in two innings Saturday afternoon in Dunedin, including home runs by George Springer and Orelvis Martinez.

The conversation with Baumann that led to last night’s switch was described by the right-hander as “short and sweet.”

“I kind of took a step back and said, if I want to help this team it’s probably in this sort of role,” he said.

Those short bursts could increase Baumann’s velocity and perhaps improve the quality of his stuff. The Orioles will find room for another power arm in their ‘pen, though it may not happen right away.

There’s still time to figure it out before they board the charter to Boston.

“He is in the mix, absolutely,” Hyde said. “Like what we saw last night. Wanted to give him enough time to adjust to that role a little bit. But he’s definitely in the mix with a lot of guys for the last few spots in the ‘pen. I think he responded really well last night to our conversation we had with him about it a few days ago. You saw his stuff last night. That was really encouraging.

“He’s got four pitches, but he’s really got an above-average fastball. Last night threw a couple above-average sliders, also. He showed a changeup in (St. Petersburg) that could possibly get left-handers, as well as the curveball. We feel like we’re going to give him a shot at just a sprint appearance instead of having to stay out there for a while.”

Austin Voth, who started Saturday in Dunedin, will follow Grayson Rodriguez Saturday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Players making today’s trip from minor league camp include pitchers Kevin Smith, Ryan Conroy, Connor Loeprich and Easton Lucas, catcher Adam Retzbach, infielders Greg Cullen, Collin Burns, Curtis Terry and Max Wagner, and outfielders Dylan Beavers, Hudson Haskin and Donta’ Williams.

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