Orioles Odds and Ends

Outfielder Aaron Hicks is expected to stay in the Orioles’ lineup tonight for the series opener against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards. His knack for reaching base is keeping him off the bench.

Hicks is 10-for-29 since the Yankees released him, with two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven walks. He’s batting .345/.472/.586 and has gotten on base in all 10 games, collecting hits in seven of them.

Evidence began to surface that Hicks was heating up. He went 6-for-17 in his last seven games with the Yankees before they designated him for assignment, including a 3-for-4 night in Toronto from the bottom of the lineup.

What’s happening now is next level.

This is Hicks’ longest on-base streak since a 12-game run from Sept. 5-18, 2020. His four extra-base hits are one more than he registered in 28 games with the Yankees this season.

The 17 times on base in his first 10 games are the most on the club in that span since Cedric Mullins amassed 12 hits and five walks in his first 10 games with the Orioles in 2018.

Is his 10-game streak threatening the team record?

Not quite.

Per STATS, second baseman Bobby Young reached base in his first 19 games with the Orioles in 1954. However, he came over with the St. Louis Browns after the franchise moved to Baltimore. I don’t know if he should count.

Up next is a surprise for me – outfielder Marty Cordova with 17 games in a row in 2002 to begin his three-year, $9.1 million free agent contract.

Cordova appeared in 131 games that season, nine the next and none in 2004 after undergoing elbow surgery.

Third baseman Todd Zeile reached in his first 16 games with the Orioles from Aug. 30-Sept. 15, 1996. He appeared in 29 total after joining the club from the Phillies with Pete Incaviglia for two players to be named later (pitchers Calvin Maduro and Garrett Stephenson), batted .239/.326/.436 with eight doubles and five home runs, and signed with the Dodgers as a free agent.

Here are the rest:

Terry Kennedy, 15, 1987
David Newhan, 15, 2004
Frank Robinson, 14, 1966
Joey Rickard, 14, 2016
Jorge Mateo, 14, 2021
Albert Belle, 13, 1999
Javy Lopez, 13, 2004
Ray Knight, 12, 1987
Tim Beckham, 12, 2017
Eric Byrnes, 11, 2005
Johnny Temple, 10, 1962
Al Smith, 10, 1963
Jerry DaVanon, 10, 1971
Will Clark, 10, 1999
Nick Markakis, 10, 2006 

The Blue Jays are starting right-hander Chris Bassitt tonight. Hicks doesn’t have much of a track record against him, unless 0-for-1 counts.

The Orioles are starting Dean Kremer, followed by Kyle Bradish Wednesday and Tyler Wells Thursday.

* Gunnar Henderson can brag about his 462-foot home run being the farthest ball to land on Eutaw Street in a game, though he’s a modest kid and unfailingly polite. He dropped another “sir” on a reporter Sunday.

Henderson, who was chosen American League Player of the Week yesterday, demolished a baseball and the previous record of 443 feet shared by Anthony Santander on Aug. 24, 2021 and the Expos' Henry Rodriguez on June 17, 1997.

(Or did Lance Berkman hold the record at 444 feet off Alfredo Simon in 2011? I've seen the distance also listed at 418 feet, including in the team's media guide. Whatever. Henderson's shot is the undisputed champion.)

Adam Dunn hit a 442-foot home run off David Hernandez in 2009, and Josh Hamilton equaled that distance against Tommy Hunter in 2012. Jim Thome hit a 440-foot homer off Mike Mussina in 1996. Ken Griffey Jr., who struck the warehouse during the 1993 Home Run Derby, hit a 438-foot homer off Brad Pennington in 1994.

Griffey’s blast before the All-Star Game measured 465 feet.

The fan who retrieved Henderson’s home run ball Sunday returned it in exchange for a meet-and-greet and two signed bats.

* Colton Cowser’s name was missing from Sunday afternoon’s Triple-A Norfolk box score, but he didn’t have a setback or a plane ticket to Baltimore.

Gotta tap the brakes on the Cowser paranoia.

The Orioles wanted Cowser to have a rest day. It was on the schedule, which executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias confirmed yesterday on 105.7 The Fan.

Cowser is recovering from an injury to his left quadriceps. He came out of the first few games early to ease him back into competition. The club is just being careful with him.

“I would not say he’s sort of 100 percent of himself in terms of return to play and just checking all the rehab medical boxes that we want,” Elias said, “but it’s going well, nothing to worry about there.”

Elias also talked about the trade deadline and how a rental could wind up being the best fit, but club control beyond 2023 remains the ideal scenario.

The club is trying to identify the buyers and sellers, much harder now with the expanded playoff field, and gauge the market. Elias noted how some sellers already got rid of their older players, and doing business before late July could be tricky.

* The Orioles have outscored opponents 26-9 during their four-game winning streak. The bullpen hasn’t allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings, and it ranked fourth in ERA yesterday at 3.31.

A win tonight would move the Orioles 18 games above .500 for the first time since July 25, 2016. They’re four games ahead of the third-place Yankees in the American League East.

* The go-go Orioles have four five-steal games this season to tie for the most before the All-Star break during the wild card era. The 2011 Rangers were the last team to do it, per STATS.

No team has exceeded four games prior to the break since the 1988 Cardinals (10), Reds (six) and Astros (five). What a year for speed and daring.

The four games already are the most by the Orioles in an entire season.

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