Povich on his outing, Mayo on hot start in camp and more Orioles split-squad notes (updated)

SARASOTA, Fla. – Cade Povich received a mound visit from his catcher this afternoon after only 14 pitches.

Povich issued back-to-back walks to Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Aranda and Curtis Mead with one out in the first inning and fell behind 2-0 to Junior Caminero, prompting Adley Rutschman to call time and offer some counseling.

It worked.

Povich missed the zone again, Caminero fouled off the next pitch, and the Rays’ designated hitter flied to center fielder Cedric Mullins. Jose Siri struck out, and Povich escaped the jam with his pitch count at 21. Only nine strikes, but also no runs.

The organization’s No. 9 prospect per Baseball America tossed two scoreless innings on 31 pitches, 16 strikes, for the split-squad Orioles. He walked two and struck out two.

“It was really just calm down, trust stuff,” Povich said of his conversation with Rutschman. “They weren’t doing too much back there when I was throwing it in the zone. Basically just told me my stuff’s good enough. Just relax a little bit, get it down, work back over the plate.”

Richie Palacios reached on an infield hit leading off the second inning. Shortstop Nick Maton made a diving stop up the middle but Palacios beat the throw. Povich struck out Niko Hulsizer and Rob Brantly bounced to Maton, who stepped on the bag and threw to first for the double play.

Povich had gotten control of his start and his adrenaline.

“I think part of it is trying to be a little too perfect,” he said. “Kind of puts you outside the zone of who I am and what I can do. I think that second inning when Frenchy (pitching coach Drew French) told in between innings, just step on the gas and let it eat, it was much better getting ahead in counts, not falling behind, and keeping them guessing.”

Povich averaged 5.8 walks per nine innings last year in 10 starts with Triple-A Norfolk and 4.1 in 18 starts with Double-A Bowie. Again, trying to be too perfect. Getting ahead in counts and chasing strikeouts. He’s identified the problem.

“My stuff’s good enough, I know that. I’ve just got to work over the plate and be myself and not try to place stuff,” he said.

“Just throw it over the plate, let every pitch eat, try to let it eat, and work ahead in counts.”

“I think whenever he has his stuff and he can fill up the zone, he’s unhittable,” said third baseman Coby Mayo. “I’ve seen him throw multiple games with 10-plus Ks and it’s honestly really fun to play behind him.”

Today marked Povich’s first start after a late relief appearance last spring against the Tigers in Lakeland.

“Obviously, it’s a little more amped up, I guess,” he said. “It was good to get the rust off, experience what it was like to throw to Rutsch. … I definitely think some good things, some bad things, but a lot to build on, especially that second inning.”

Left-hander Cionel Pérez replaced Povich in the third and surrendered four runs, three coming on Caminero’s homer to center field. Caminero is the Rays’ No. 1 prospect.

Danny Coulombe allowed a hit in a scoreless fourth. Justin Armbruester didn’t allow a ball out of the infield in the fifth, came back out for the sixth and struck out the side, and also tossed a scoreless seventh with a single and strikeout. A batter reached on an error.

Kyle Brnovich allowed two runs in the eighth on Carson Williams' two-out RBI double and Kenny Piper's bloop single for a 6-3 Rays lead.

Tyler Nevin is back with the Orioles and undeterred by the number of corner infielders and outfielders in camp.

Nevin hit a two-run homer to center field off Trevor Martin after singling twice yesterday against the Pirates in Bradenton. He was 1-for-2 in Saturday’s opener against the Red Sox.

Mayo led off the second with a sharp single into left-center field. Martin struck out Maton and Sam Hilliard, but Nevin took him deep.

Mayo poked a single into right field in his next at-bat and led off the sixth with a walk.

“I think since the first game I’ve been seeing the ball really well,” said Mayo, who doubled in his only at-bat Saturday. “Last year, getting a little taste of (spring training) and experiencing it helps you a lot this year and gives you confidence.

“After last season, I feel like I have the most confidence in the world and I can hit anybody, and that’s the approach I have right now.”

The camp competition doesn’t faze Mayo.

“You’ve just got to go out there and have a day like today,” he said. “I think it’s just a great battle between a bunch of good prospects and a bunch of great players. You can go out there and, dog eat dog world.”

Outfielder Daniel Johnson led off the seventh with a home run that cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-3. Catcher Silas Ardoin doubled with one out but was caught in a rundown on TT Bowens’ ground ball to the left side.

Colton Cowser has three walks in the last two games, his free pass today with two outs in the second inning forcing Martin out of the game.

Cowser hit the two-run walk-off homer Saturday and now everyone is pitching around him.

* In the other half of the split-squad, Seth Johnson threw two scoreless innings with no hits and one walk against a Braves lineup in North Port loaded with regulars. Baseball America ranks Johnson, recovered from Tommy John surgery in August 2022, as the No. 10 prospect in the organization.

Jordan Westburg hit a solo homer off Reynaldo López in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. He tripled in the sixth inning.

Kyle Stowers hit a solo shot off left-hander Dylan Lee in the seventh for a 2-0 lead.

Jacob Webb and Kaleb Ort both tossed scoreless innings. Ort struck out Austin Riley. Left-hander Matt Krook struck out three batters in the fifth and surrendered the Braves’ first hit.

Andrew Suárez produced two scoreless and hitless innings.

* Ronald Guzmán, who reported late to camp yesterday after having visa issues in the Dominican Republic, threw his first bullpen session this morning with the Orioles.

Guzmán is making the transition to pitcher after playing first base. He has no shot at breaking camp with the Orioles, but they’ll try to determine whether he can become a left-handed bullpen option later in the summer.

* Kyle Moore, who managed at Bowie last summer, accepted a job as bench coach in the Cubs minor league system. The affiliate hasn’t been made official.

Moore managed the Baysox for two seasons and spent six years managing in the Orioles organization.

Roberto Mercado moved up this year from High-A Aberdeen to Bowie as Moore’s replacement.

* Brnovich surrendered Tanner Murray’s two-run homer in the ninth, and the Rays defeated the Orioles 8-3 in Sarasota.

The Orioles gained a split, however, by defeating the Braves 2-1 in North Port. Nolan Hoffman recorded the save.

Bench coach Fredi González served as manager in the home game and praised Povich for the turnaround after a rough beginning.

“The first inning got out of whack a little bit, but Adley went out there and made a mound visit and got him settled back in,” González said. “Got the hamster back on the wheel.”

More Orioles observations in early days of exhibit...
Orioles split-squad lineups vs. Rays and Braves

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