Reviewing highlights and Hyde from Day 5 of Orioles spring workouts

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles whittled their daily workout today, the fifth since pitchers and catchers reported, mostly to live batting practice sessions on the main and back fields.

Tyler Wells stood out among the chosen arms inside Ed Smith Stadium.

He induced a ground ball to the right side from Anthony Santander, who jokingly warned against throwing that many fastballs in a row after leaning back to avoid inside heat. Ramón Urías and Jorge Mateo struck out, Jordan Westburg hit a sharp grounder to the left side and Ryan Mountcastle lined a “double” down the left field line.

Mountcastle was having himself a day. Nothing for Wells to take personally.

The Orioles’ first baseman drove a Mike Baumann pitch off the scoreboard in right-center, sending the ball back onto the field. Hard to tell initially whether it hit the fence or the bottom of the board, which led me to his locker for confirmation.

It slammed off the middle, Mountcastle said with a grin.

Do not short-change Ryan Mountcastle.

One of the more interesting parts of the live BP session was the Orioles’ plan to have 20-year-old Jackson Holliday face relievers Cionel Pérez and Nick Vespi: left-on-left matchups to test baseball’s top prospect.

Holliday flied to shallow left-center field against Pérez and walked against Vespi on a borderline pitch that appeared to miss high. Vespi got him to take a bad swing on the previous pitch.

Dillon Tate being on the mound again was a comfort for executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde, who watched from the stands. Connor Norby struck out, but Holliday drew a walk, Tyler Nevin flied to the base of the center field fence and Adley Rutschman deposited a ball beyond the fence in right-center.

Also worth noting were a couple of at-bats from Kyle Stowers, who broke camp with the team last spring. Stowers sent a missile off the center field fence against Pérez and smoked a ball to deep right field against Vespi, winning two left-on-left battles.

Nevin, trying to make the club as a backup at the infield and outfield corners, squared up Pérez and sent a liner to center. Rutschman followed with a shot up the middle that Pérez had to duck to avoid, the ball nailing the screen behind him.

Urías doubled off Jacob Webb, who also induced a couple of weak ground balls.

The first official full-squad workout is Tuesday, though everyone is here and participated today.

Hyde met with the media earlier in the day and shared the following:

* He’s impressed with pitching prospects Chayce McDermott and Cade Povich, but expects them to begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk. Too soon to break camp with the club.

“I watched them both throw yesterday and they both have great stuff,” Hyde said. "We saw Povich's stuff last year in big league camp. They're close. Just want to see how they compete in spring training. They don't have a ton of Triple-A experience and they're both really young. We love the progress that they've made so far. Fortunate to get those guys in trades and we think they're going to be starters down the road for us. When that is, I have no idea, but looking forward to seeing them compete in camp to get this major league experience."

The rotation has a few holes with Kyle Bradish and John Means headed to the injured list before Opening Day, but McDermott and Povich aren't filling them.

"I think we'd prefer to have them continue on their development track and not rush anybody too early," Hyde said. "That being said, you never know with anything anytime, but I would think more likely they'd start in Triple-A."

* Mateo is going to get increased reps in center field as a backup option. The Orioles still covet his speed and want to keep expanding his versatility for a bench role.

“He helps us out in so many ways,” Hyde said. “One, he plays a premiere shortstop. We can start with that. For me, he should have won the Gold Glove a couple years ago. And the ability to play everywhere else. I know he’s played second base in winter ball, he’s played outfield in his career. He played center field a couple times for us last year.

“We’re going to keep our options open with him. He really increases the versatility we have on this club. He can cover us in a lot of places.”

* Ryan O'Hearn is going to get most of his action at first base but the corner outfield remains an option for him.

"Just because of Mounty also, and Santander also, guys who can play first base. To keep all their bats in the lineup," Hyde said. "To have O be able to go play some corner outfield, it's going to be important."

* Westburg made five starts in right field and one in left last summer with Norfolk, but he's an infielder in camp.

Westburg mostly will move between second and third base, and "sprinkle in a little bit of shortstop," Hyde said.

* Hyde isn’t certain of Matt Krook’s role in camp, since the left-hander has experience starting and relieving. He’s still learning more about him.

* It appears that the only missing player is Ronald Guzmán, the first baseman-turned-pitcher who’s having visa issues.

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