Notes on Lyles' progress from illness, rules changes and more

Jordan Lyles felt good after yesterday’s bullpen session, did some light throwing today and seems ready to start Saturday afternoon against the Red Sox.

Lyles was scratched from Monday’s doubleheader due to a stomach virus.

“I’m hoping,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s feeling better every day, so I’m hoping he’s able to start tomorrow.”

“I hope so,” Lyles said. “I’ll let Hyder discuss the plans going forward, but I feel much better, and hopefully I can get out there soon.”

Shortstop Jorge Mateo is out of the lineup. The shortstop was hit on the leg two days ago while covering second base on a steal attempt, but Hyde said he’s just “rotating guys around.”

Major League Baseball announced its rules changes for 2023, including a pitch timer – 15 seconds to release the ball with the bases empty, 20 seconds if there’s a runner, with a balk called for subsequent disengagements unless there’s a pickoff – bigger bases to improve player safety, and banning the shift.

Reliever Dillon Tate said he doesn’t have any issues with the pitch clock.

“It’s going to be good for the game to keep the tempo up and help the game progress a little bit quicker,” he said.

“I’m all for, with no one on base, let’s get this thing going. I’ve always been bit on that,” Lyles said.

“I take pride in being quick, and as a player who takes pride in being quick, things slow down when guys are on base. That’s a nuance of baseball, so that’s going to take some time to get used to and figuring out, but I think most rule changes in the past kind of went smooth over time, and hopefully two or three years from now we won’t even be discussing next year.”

Hyde also endorsed measures to improve the pace of play.

“I’m really excited about that,” he said. “I think it’s going to better the fan experience. I think it’s going to better the player experience on the field. I’m hoping.

“I’m interested in all three. I think they have the right idea. Other sports have made a lot of changes in recent years and have made adjustments, and it’s nice to see our guys – the league and the players and the umpires – come together and try to better the game for the fans and the players. I’m interested to see what it looks like next year.”

Two infielders must be positioned on each side of second base in the shift. All four infielders must have both feet within the outer boundary of the infield, and they can’t switch sides.

Athleticism is rewarded under the new rule, which plays into the Orioles’ young hands.

“I like that, also,” Hyde said. “It brings the athleticism and arm strength range back to middle infielders.”

Rougned Odor won’t be allowed to play shallow right field, where he’s often recorded outs at first base.

“I’m looking forward to going back to what it was before,” Hyde said. “I do like traditional baseball. Maybe I sound old school, but I do like the way it was.

“Roogie’s taken a lot of hits away because he plays so deep because his arm’s so strong. That’s why you see him play deeper than most second basemen, even when we’re in the over-shift there and he’s in the slot. He’s taken a lot of big hit away because of his arm strength.

“You don’t see many two and two traditional anymore except for certain guys. A couple guys on a team possibly. I like the fact that they’re doing that.”

Odor said he feels “great” about the change, and he’s speaking from an offensive and defensive standpoint.

“Defensively, that’s how I learned to play baseball, that was the way we used to play. That’s normal for me,” he said.

“For offense, it’s even better for me. I feel like the shift is more to lefty hitters than righties because first base is right there. You can’t do the shift to righties because first base is on the other side. I feel like when they take the shift out, it’s going to be better for lefty hitters.

“I think that’s how baseball is, and that’s how it used to be. It’s normal, it’s going to get back to normal for me.”

Ramón Urías has made starts at third base, second base and shortstop this season. He’s one of the biggest movers on the team.

“I just know it’s going to help a lot of left-handed hitters. I don’t think it’s going to impact too much on the right-hand side,” he said.

“As an infielder, you’ve got to be more athletic, you’ve got to cover more ground now next year.”

Anthony Santander (27) and Adley Rutschman (10) are the first switch-hitting Orioles teammates with double-digit home run totals in a season since Santander (20), Jonathan Villar (24) and Stevie Wilkerson (10) in 2019.

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