Pregame notes on Norby, Henderson and Rodriguez

BRADENTON, Fla. – The Orioles are slowly getting some of their injured players back. Today their No. 6 ranked prospect, per Baseball America, infielder Connor Norby will make his spring debut as the O’s play Pittsburgh. Tomorrow, Gunnar Henderson is expected to see his first game action this spring.

“Norby is going to play the second-half of the game today,” manager Brandon Hyde said this morning. “Gunnar, maybe in the next couple of days, maybe tomorrow.”

Norby is coming off a big 2023 season for Triple-A Norfolk, where he hit .290/.359/.483/.842 with 40 doubles, three triples, 21 homers, 104 runs and 92 RBIs. He was the club’s second-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.

Henderson has yet to play due to left oblique soreness and Norby with side soreness. Both have been taking pregame work and batting practice and now are ready to play in a game.

Right-hander Kyle Bradish continues to progress in his throwing program, still playing catch on flat ground. Getting on a mound for some throwing is not close yet for Bradish.

“That’s down the road,” said Hyde. “It’s play catch the next time, play catch a little further and see how he responds every time.”

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, who gave up one run in two innings Tuesday versus Detroit, makes his second spring start today. He has been working on adding a two-seam fastball to his four-seamer. Hyde said the early returns on the pitch are good.

“Grayson’s got great stuff and the four-seamer is really good. I just think he’s added an extra little wrinkle kind of like (Kyle) Bradish and (Dean) Kremer both did a year or two ago. Just something to keep guys off balance. Maybe throw in to right-handers. Trying to get maybe a jammed groundball, that kind of thing. As pitchers develop they are always tinkering with new pitches. I think so far he likes it," he said.   

* Right-hander Julio Teheran made his O’s spring debut on Saturday and pitched a scoreless and quick top of the fourth inning. He retired the Yankees in order.

Teheran said before the O’s signed him to a minor league contract on Wednesday that he had thrown live batting practice to some accomplished hitters including Jean Segura, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and the O’s Anthony Santander in the Miami area.

“That was obviously nothing like a real game. Now when you get to real games, that is when you really feel the adrenaline,” he said.

Teheran has logged parts of 12 years in the majors, the first nine with the Braves. He made 30 or more starts in seven consecutive seasons beginning in 2013, when he placed fifth in Rookie of the Year balloting.

Teheran had a shoulder issue and pitched in just one MLB game in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In 2022 he pitched in both the Atlantic League and in Mexico. Then last year he went 3-5 with a 4.40 ERA for Milwaukee in 71 2/3 innings.

He said he was not putting pressure on himself to make the O’s squad but also noted “for me, every game and every outing that I get here is going to count.”

* Henderson’s spring debut is now very close, maybe tomorrow as the skipper said. 

His winter included a trip to New York for the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers of Association of America awards dinner to get his American League Rookie of the Year award.

“It was cool to meet a bunch of the guys off the field. When you are on the field you try to lock in for the games. So it was cool to just have some conversations with guys. It was a good experience, glad I had that and had some fun with it," he said.

Henderson noted there were no specifics to his workouts this winter, nothing he was changing or tweaking as he tries to take his game now to an even higher level.

“I put a lot of good work in this offseason to set myself up to get here with the hitting coaches to just really keep going that step further. Looking forward to seeing how I do,” he said.


Grayson Rodriguez sizes up his outing today in Bra...
Orioles lineup for the game with Pittsburgh

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