Pregame notes on Krehbiel, WBC impact on others, DH spot, Rom and more

SARASOTA, Fla. – Reliever Joey Krehbiel has it figured out. He knows why he’s giving up so many runs this spring.

The mission is to correct it.

Krehbiel has pitched twice in exhibition games and allowed eight runs and eight hits in 1 2/3 innings. He couldn’t record the third out yesterday in Lakeland, and the Tigers hit two more home runs to raise his total to four.

“I didn’t finish the inning yesterday but I could have thrown 60 pitches and feel fine. Mentally, physically, everything is there,” he said this afternoon.

“If I would have gone out there with the same stuff and punched the side twice – six guys, six strikeouts – I wouldn’t be talking about this, but I would still be in the back of my mind knowing that I don’t have the best stuff. So, it’s kind of good to have a little eye opening and get hit around a little bit, just to, not necessarily wake me up but just know that there’s always room for improvement, especially right now.”

Krehbiel is studying video and noticing how his velocity is down a tick. He trusts that the issues are mechanical and fixable.

“It’s not matching up to what I think I’m throwing,” he said. “Just kind of out of line. I’m not necessarily getting my feet and legs behind me, and timing is not there, as well. But that’s what spring training’s for. Guys go out there and hit a home run every game for 30 days in a row and then go out and don’t do it during the season.”

“I’m not saying there’s times where it matters and times where it doesn’t, but at least this is the time where I can not worry about the numbers and just worry about how I feel and health-wise and stuff. Glad it’s still spring training.”

Krehbiel is trying to get back to his first-half form and results, when he posted a 2.18 ERA and 0.970 WHIP in 32 appearances. His ERA was 6.20 and his WHIP 1.581 in 24 games after the break, opponents batted .304 with a .924 OPS, and the Orioles optioned him on Sept. 28.

“There’s nothing concerning in any other department other than, maybe I’m just not on the right timing with my hands and my feet, upper half and lower half, but that’s for everyone,” he said. “You can have a great outing and not feel good, so at least I feel good, and aside from the numbers and maybe a couple things to fix in my delivery, I feel fine.”

Better to struggle early in camp than later, if that’s any consolation.

“I’m not too much of a thinker. I’m more of a relaxed type of person,” he said. “If I was doing this the day before we left for Boston, I still wouldn’t be going crazy, but I would definitely be thinking about it. So yeah, I’m glad I’m doing it now and fixing it now and going into the season with a clear head. And then I’m ready to go.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said it’s hard to put a ton of stock in pitching results early in spring training.

“I just don’t think his command is quite there right now,” Hyde said. “It’s not from a lack of work. He came to camp in good shape and felt like he was ready. Just having some tough results right now. Just like yesterday a little bit, kind of a bad luck inning. Single, then he balks, then he gets a double play ball right after that that would have been nobody on and two outs. Just all of a sudden, it completely unraveled on him.

“Joey had a really good first half for us last year, I loved the way he ended the season for us the year before, we know what kind of pitcher he can be. Just want to see him improve over the course of the camp.”

* Hyde indicated that the first round of camp cuts aren’t imminent due to some players leaving for the World Baseball Classic.

“We haven’t even discussed it yet, to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “We’re losing a few guys here in the next few days. I think as our starting pitchers continue to get built up, that will happen, which is happening fairly soon. So, I think it’s around the corner.

“I’ll start playing some guys back-to-back next week. When I start doing those type of things, then I think we get closer to cuts.”

More at-bats will become available for Kyle Stowers, Heston Kjerstad and Nomar Mazara while Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander are in the WBC. Ryan O’Hearn will get more time in the outfield. Stowers could get some looks in center field, and Austin Hays definitely will slide over from left.

“With the amount of left-handed first base/outfield combo guys, as well as some other outfield guys that we want to take a look at, it’s just going to be easier to play a little bit more,” Hyde said.

Kjerstad is 6-for-8 with two home runs and four runs scored in five games.

“He’s showing you what kind of hitter he can be,” Hyde said. “He hits the ball so hard. This guy has as much raw power as anybody in camp. You saw yesterday, left on left, just a bullet up the middle. Hits the ball extremely hard.”

“This is really our first time ever seeing him playing in games and it’s really impressive, coming off the amount of time missed. I think he started getting comfortable in the (Arizona) Fall League, and it just really carried into this spring training.”

* Hyde said again that he’s going to rotate players into the designated hitter spot this season.

“I think it’s going to be day off for a regular and more of a matchup-based DH,” Hyde said. “Looking at our roster, it’s nice that we’re versatile. We have left-handed and right-handed. I think you can kind of put the best lineup possible every single night, and then we’ll just kind of rotate the DH around.”

* Dean Kremer will follow Kyle Gibson to the mound tonight and work at least two innings. Also available are left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and right-handers Eduard Bazardo, Bryan Baker and Ofreidy Gómez.

The Orioles brought Blaine Knight, Easton Lucas, Conner Loeprich, Ryan Conroy and Phoenix Sanders from the minor league side.

* Tyler Wells makes his first start Saturday afternoon against the Braves in Sarasota. Left-hander Drew Rom pitched on a back field yesterday, pounding the strike zone for three innings while facing a collection of hitters that included Mullins, Santander, Adam Frazier and James McCann.

“It went pretty well, actually. I was rather impressed with myself,” he said.

“I enjoyed it, it was fun, and to get some feedback from those guys meant a lot, too. To have that in-person feedback from a teammate rather than an opponent who’s like, ‘Hey, yeah, your stuff was good, it was all right.’ With a teammate it’s more in-depth. They’re actually like, ‘Hey, this is what I saw. This is what you should probably work on.’ Especially from guys like McCann, a catcher’s standpoint.

“I faced him last year when he was rehabbing with Binghamton. I don’t know if he really remembers me, but just having his feedback, from an All-Star, was definitely very beneficial. Everything he said made a lot of sense.”

Roberts raves about young infield, Gibson debuts a...
Orioles and Pirates lineups

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to