Some details on Saturday's Orioles exhibition lineup, Irvin's slider and more

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles completed their final workout day before beginning exhibition games on Saturday with the Twins traveling to Ed Smith Stadium.

“I think we’re ready,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I think guys are kind of itching to get out there. We’ve had a lot of guys who have been here quite a while. You’ll see a lot of those guys the first couple games. Looking forward to getting going.”

The new rules will take hold, including a pitch clock that the Orioles have used in live batting practice and bullpen sessions.

“We’re trying to simulate it as much as we possibly can,” Hyde said. “We talked about it together as a team this morning again. We reviewed some more of the new rules and talked about the shift and bigger bases. Definitely the tempo of the game, obviously, will quicken. We’re just trying to make guys as alert as possible and try to get them as educated as we possibly can.

“I’ve never seen it, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Left-hander Drew Rom starts and will be followed by non-roster invites Eduard Bazardo, Wandisson Charles, Cole Uvila, Chris Vallimont, Ofreidy Gómez and Morgan McSweeney. All of them introduced to the pitch clock in the minors.

“It wasn’t intentional at all,” Hyde said. “It was more getting an early look at some of these guys, and then having some of the guys who have been on the club already pitching some back field stuff the first couple times.”

The Orioles’ lineup will include Adley Rutschman as the designated hitter, Adam Frazier at second base, Joey Ortiz at shortstop, Cedric Mullins in center field and Anthony Santander in right. Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad and Coby Mayo will enter the game later.

Hyde also announced that Dean Kremer will start Sunday afternoon’s game against the Tigers in Lakeland.

Cole Irvin and Austin Voth threw live batting practice today on the stadium field, and in the intense Florida heat.

Irvin knows he’s breaking camp with the team and can do some tweaking and refining before Opening Day, freedoms that he didn’t enjoy in the past.

“This is the first year that I actually came into spring training to kind of build up and work on things that I can get feedback on from big league hitters, stuff that I’ve been doing in the offseason throwing, manipulating stuff I’ve been working on here with a new team and coaching staff,” he said. “This is a little bit more of experimenting in some areas, but once games start, it’s, ‘Hey, let’s get outs.’

“I think every single season I’ve had in the big leagues, I’ve had to perform for a different manager. Being with Philly, being with Oakland, and now here. Every single season. So this is the first year that I’ve actually been able to relax and come in and just get my work done and focus on what I need to do to prepare for the season, and not put as much strain on my arm early to make a club. And that’s important for me, because I think that’s going to keep me healthier and stronger throughout the rest of the season. Hopefully, it pays off.”

A change in finger pressure on the slider, and his intent, are producing positive results. How it feels coming out of his hand and the hitters’ reactions. The way it mimics his fastball before moving late.

“Today’s slider really clicked,” Irvin said. “It’s something that we’ve adjusted and manipulated a little bit, and it turned out being a really good pitch today against our own guys. There was a lot of good feedback on it. It’s moving more than any other slider I’ve thrown in the past.”

So good that it prompted Irvin to use a line from the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson, directing it at coaches standing behind him.

“I threw a slider, I forget who it was to, but it was nasty and I just looked back and said, ‘I have a particular set of skills.’ So, it was kind of fun,” he said.

“It’s good. I’m happy. Hopefully, it’s another pitch that I can use to get a few more strikeouts this season, a put-away pitch, and even more of a weak-contact pitch. Get right-handed hitters to fly out on it and get ground balls to lefties. Just more tools.

“I feel like I’m getting retooled a little bit but building on what I already can do. I’m trusting this coaching staff to lead me in the right direction, and so far I haven’t been steered the wrong way.”

Mullins attempted a lunging catch at the center field fence on the Camden Yards field during batting practice, landing awkwardly, and stayed down on the warning track for a few seconds. Long enough to make everyone nervous.

One coach kept saying, “Get up, get up, get up,” and added, “No diving catches.”

The Orioles have avoided injuries in camp, but mentioning it makes Hyde nervous.

“Don’t jinx it,” he told a reporter. “So far, fine. That is the main goal.”

Closer Félix Bautista will throw in the bullpen again Saturday morning, his sixth when counting two touch-and-feel sessions. His effort is increasing to 80-85 percent.

Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick arrived in camp as a guest instructor.

The Twins are sending former Orioles catcher Chance Sisco to Sarasota on Saturday. Here’s their split-squad lineup:

Austin Martin 2B
Nick Gordon SS
Trevor Larnach LF
Matt Wallner RF
Mark Contreras CF
Chance Sisco DH
Grayson Greiner C
Aaron Sabato 1B
Andrew Bechtold 3B

Louie Varland RHP

Backing up playoff talk shifts to exhibition games
Rotation candidate: Irvin looks to bring command, ...

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