Kimbrel says he's fine after yesterday's shortened live batting practice (O's lineup)

Craig Kimbrel

SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles closer Craig Kimbrel cut short yesterday’s live batting practice session by about five pitches due to some tightness in his lower body. He said this morning that he’s fine and is scheduled to pitch again on Monday.

Kimbrel was facing James McCann when the discomfort became apparently. He threw one more pitch and a member of the athletic training staff approached him near the bench after he walked off the mound.

“The live BP session went all right yesterday,” Kimbrel said. “The ball was coming out like I wanted it to for the most part. Toward the end, started getting a little tight in my lower body, so instead of kind of trying to push through it, being where we are now … I thought it would be beneficial to come in and just start my workout and get ready to come back for Monday instead of questioning whether I need to keep going out there.

“It’s early in camp. There’s no reason to do that. I was happy how the ball was coming out of my hand before that, so I just shut it down and came in and had some things worked on and feel better today and should be good to go tomorrow.”

This type of discomfort isn’t uncommon for Kimbrel in spring training, as he told a teammate yesterday after it surfaced.

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A few questions and curiosities about the 2024 Orioles

Kyle Bradish white jersey

Baseball’s offseason moves into a new month later this week, inching closer to the Winter Meetings, also known as the worst assignment of the year. Stretch out those hamstrings to chase rumors, whether legit or loony, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.

Stretch them out to cover the hundreds of miles separating the media workroom from the lobby area and elevators.

You literally are handed a map at the front desk to navigate the premises, accompanied by wishes of “good luck.” And with my sense of direction, I’m liable to wander into Memphis while searching for a men’s room.

Take the free bottled water if offered. It may be the difference between survival and dying from dehydration.

Fans are dying to know what the Orioles will do with their roster.

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More on today's tender date (updated)

Anthony Santander white jersey

The next important date on baseball’s calendar arrives today with teams required to tender or non-tender players eligible for arbitration.

You probably memorized the list of 17 Orioles, an unusually high total, but here it is again, with MLBTradeRumors using its model to project salaries:

Anthony Santander: $7.4 million to $12.7 million
Danny Coulombe: $1 million to $2.2 million
John Means: $2.975 million to $5.93 million
Ryan O’Hearn: $1.4 million to $3 million
Cedric Mullins: $4.1 million to $6.4 million
Austin Hays: $3.2 million to $6.1 million
Dillon Tate: $1.5 million to $1.5 million
Jorge Mateo: $2 million to $2.9 million
Ryan Mountcastle: $738,400 to $4.2 million
Cionel Pérez: $732,300 to $1.3 million
Cole Irvin: $737,600 to $1.8 million
Keegan Akin: $731,100 to $800,000
Jacob Webb: $720,000 to $1.2 million
Ramón Urías: $734,700 to $2 million
Tyler Wells: $732,400 to $2.3 million
Ryan McKenna: $725,800 to $740,000
Sam Hilliard: $750,000 to $1.1 million

Santander is going to draw trade interest again and therefore find himself immersed in rumors. He’s a slam-dunk tender, of course. That’s the easy part.

Harder is finding a way to squeeze Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser onto a 26-man roster without removing an outfielder. But so would be replacing Santander’s power and run production.

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Checking on options for some Orioles players (Bradish fourth in Cy Young voting)

Cole Irvin black jersey

Two moves made by the Orioles in the offseason put players on the 40-man roster who are out of minor league options.

Left-hander Tucker Davidson, who signed a one-year contract last week, cleared outright waivers yesterday and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Outfielder Sam Hilliard will try to avoid the waiver wire as the Orioles create more space for future transactions. He also can’t be sent down without going through the process.

The Orioles depend on flexibility that allows for a roster churn, the shuffling done especially to freshen the bullpen. But there are numerous relievers who have run out of options.

The list includes left-handers Danny Coulombe, Cionel Pérez and Cole Irvin, and right-handers Jacob Webb and Mike Baumann.

Irvin made 12 starts and 12 relief appearances, and the Orioles haven’t said whether he’s viewed in one role next summer. Baumann was told late in camp that he’d be used strictly in relief and in fewer innings, and there’s no reason to deviate from that plan moving forward.

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Thoughts and quotes on Orioles minor league development and positive environment

Grayson Rodriguez orange jersey

The Orioles made some significant adjustments to their minor league structure last week by promoting Anthony Villa to director of player development and Matt Blood to vice president of player development and domestic scouting. Moves put into motion with Brad Ciolek vacating his position as director of draft operations.

The ensuing months will reveal more changes, with the Orioles waiting to get it settled later in the offseason, per usual.

What stays the same is the approach to developing and maintaining the pitching. The data, instruction and philosophy. Methods that carry prospects to the majors and at times allow for needed resets after early struggles.

For example, Grayson Rodriguez.

“I’d like to know what the Orioles did to him because we need to do it,” said a scout from another organization. “They sent him down and said, ‘Hey, you’re not coming back until you get fastball command,’ and he has definitely shown it. He went down with a purpose, and he was a different pitcher from when I saw him in April or May till when I saw him there in September. Much different.

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Veteran starters back Bautista for Cy Young Award

Felix Bautista

Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson see nothing wrong with it. Never to be accused of reliever bias in Cy Young Award voting.

Give it to the best pitcher, whatever role he fills. Whether he’s on the mound to start the first inning or the ninth.

Orioles closer Félix Bautista is aware of the chatter surrounding his candidacy. Irvin dresses only a few lockers away and gladly will lead the conversation.

“The fact that he’s in the discussion just points to how good he is,” Irvin said. “It’s impressive what he’s done this season. I mean, he’s averaging nearly two strikeouts an inning, and this is the best of the best in this league. So, for him to be doing that speaks to the quality of pitcher he is, and he’s been this season, and he’s most certainly deserving to be nominated, or even a candidate for the Cy Young.”

Bautista warmed and then sat last night, leaving him at 32 saves, a 1.52 ERA and 0.944 WHIP in 54 games, and 16.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He retired the side in order in the ninth the previous game, only the fourth time he hadn’t recorded a strikeout.

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Orioles' rotation subjected to intense scrutiny

Tyler Wells

The Orioles filed off the field last night with their first loss since July 4. The winning streak expired at eight games.

It didn’t influence their standing as the team with the third-best record in baseball.

The trade deadline arrives in two weeks. The club isn’t broken, so why fix it?

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is intent on strengthening it. There’s a difference. He’s finally free to operate as a buyer, and he’s got the prospect resources to keep his phone ringing.

A partner is necessary to consummate a deal, and the Orioles will be active in the search. But what exactly do they need?

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Irvin appreciates continuity between Orioles and top affiliate

Cole Irvin laughing

When breaking down the differences between his time with Triple-A Norfolk this year compared to the majors, the stuff that really stood out to him, Cole Irvin’s mind immediately went to the obvious contrast.

The one that might stand alone and made him smile.

He couldn’t resist.

“I think the postgame celebrations are slightly different,” he quipped.

That’s a fair point. The Orioles are in a league of their own when it comes to saluting wins and milestones. They are the masters of merriment. The lights, the smoke, the loud music, the shower cart treatments that threaten to deplete the condiments supply in the food room.

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Orioles approaching decision on fifth starter


MILWAUKEE – The latest road trip ends today with Kyle Bradish starting for the Orioles. Tyler Wells is next in line, pitting him against the Royals.

The Orioles will confirm Wells in today’s game notes but might list Saturday as TBA because they aren’t ready to commit to a fifth starter.

A decision is pending, and the Orioles probably have their choices laid out in front of them.

Grayson Rodriguez isn’t eligible to return unless he’s replacing an injured player. We can excuse him from this discussion.

Rodriguez is allowed to come back after the weekend and he’s basically in reset mode with Triple-A Norfolk, with his next start scheduled for Saturday night but vulnerable to another change following a second postponement last night due to the air quality in Scranton-Wilkes/Barre. His absence isn’t expected to be prolonged. He just needed to work on fastball command and maybe regain whatever confidence might have chipped away.

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A few notes on one stunning inning and the O's 19th comeback win of 2023


Start spreading the news – the Orioles scored eight runs in the seventh inning to stun the Yankees in the Bronx. The night before they had a 4-0 lead and lost. On this night they trailed by four in the seventh and won.

The eight-run inning was their most in any inning this year, topping the seven in the seventh on May 5 at Atlanta. It is their most in an inning since scoring nine in the eighth inning on Sept, 8, 2021 versus Kansas City. And this was their most runs in any inning in a road game since scoring nine in the seventh inning on April 4, 2016, at Texas.

According to Elias, the Sports Bureau, not the executive vice president, this was tied for the most runs scored in a single inning at the current or original Yankee Stadium in Baltimore team history. They also got eight in the third inning on June 5, 1989.

At 32-17, the Orioles remain three games behind Tampa Bay for the AL East lead, but they also moved back to three games ahead of the Yankees for second in the division.

The Orioles are now 4-12 when trailing after six innings.

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Decision pending on Orioles reliever Dillon Tate (and other notes)

tate gray

NEW YORK – The Orioles aren’t ready to announce their plans for reliever Dillon Tate, whose 30-day injury rehab assignment has reached its conclusion.

The choices are clear: Reinstate Tate and put him on the active roster, with a corresponding move necessary, or reinstate and option him to Triple-A Norfolk.

“We’re making decisions on that right now,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I don’t really have anything to report right this minute, but it will be soon.”

Tate didn’t pitch in spring training due to a right elbow flexor strain. He’s made 10 appearances on his injury rehab assignment, the last five with Norfolk, and allowed 13 earned runs (15 total) and 19 hits with five walks in 8 1/3 innings.

The entire weight of the decision doesn’t come just from statistics. A balance exists.

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Exploring a few Orioles decisions this week


The Orioles finish their 10-game homestand this afternoon and fly to Toronto, returning to division competition that also includes a series in the Bronx.

Let’s start our morning by reading too much or too little into some of the Orioles’ recent decisions.

One of these days we’re gonna get it just right.

Anthony Santander at first base.

It happened in back-to-back games before he was used last night as the designated hitter. Santander hasn't been in right field since Saturday.

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The 'pen was good again in latest O's win, plus other notes


The Orioles got back on the horse with a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels last night. Back-to-back losses didn't turn into the club's second three-game losing streak of 2023.

And while starter Dean Kremer provided a solid outing, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 on 95 pitches, the bullpen put forth another scoreless effort.

Right-hander Bryan Baker did allow an inherited runner to score, but Baker, Cionel Pérez and Yennier Cano did not allow a run over 3 1/3 innings. Baker has allowed just one earned run his last 19 2/3 innings. Perez retired all six batters he faced over the seventh and eighth innings on just 19 pitches. He has allowed one earned run his past 6 2/3. Cano pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on eight pitches and now has thrown 20 2/3 scoreless innings for the season.

Over the past five games, the O's 'pen has an ERA of 0.60. Over the last nine games, the 'pen ERA is 1.34. For the year the bullpen ERA is 2.94 to rank second in MLB.

Batting ninth, Ryan O'Hearn hit a solo homer in the second inning. And then Ryan Mountcastle pinch-hit for him and hit a two-run shot in the sixth that he blasted 433 feet.

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Cole Irvin on Triple-A time and his return to the Orioles

irvin and rutschman

After starting the year with the Orioles and giving up 15 runs and 17 hits over 12 2/3 innings his first three starts, lefty Cole Irvin, 29, found himself back in Triple-A. This was the first time he made more than one start in the minors since 2019.

With an 0-2 record, 10.66 ERA and 1.97 WHIP, the club decided that he needed a reboot. And he got it with the Norfolk Tides. He returns to the O’s roster today, and for now will work out of a bullpen role.

“Yeah, I got away from doing what I know how to do best, which is throwing sinkers down at the bottom of the zone and changeups. Got back to some good pitch mixes and got back to good locations. So, yeah, here to do a job and I’ll be prepared to do it,” Irvin said today of his stay in Norfolk.

He went 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in five starts with the Tides. 

“It is part of the process,” he said. “When you have options, teams are going to use them when they have them. If you are not performing well that is just what happens in our game. It’s part of my job, part of our work, and my process is to keep my head down, keep working and get back. So, here we are.”

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Hyde addresses Irvin's return to Orioles (and other notes)

cole irvin white

Cole Irvin is in Baltimore to serve as a long reliever. Nothing else to it.

The Orioles don’t have immediate plans to reinsert Irvin into the rotation, but manager Brandon Hyde said, “He’s going to start for us down the road at some point for sure, I just don’t know when that’s going to be.”

“We see him as a starter,” Hyde added, “but right now we needed some length out of our bullpen and he was fully rested. We wanted to bring him back up here at some point anyway.”

Irvin gives the Orioles a long man with Austin Voth unavailable after pitching in back-to-back games. Mike Baumann has done the same and also is down.

“Where the game ended last night, we had to cover quite a few innings out of our bullpen, and we just wanted to bring up somebody that gives us a length option out of the ‘pen,” Hyde said.

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Irvin recalled, Gillaspie optioned

irvin orange smiling

The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled LHP Cole Irvin from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Optioned RHP Logan Gillaspie to Triple-A Norfolk after yesterday’s game.

Orioles recall Irvin and option Gillaspie

irvin orange

Cole Irvin is returning to the Orioles.

The left-hander’s stay at Triple-A lasted a month and cost him a spot in the rotation. However, he’s back in the home clubhouse for tonight’s game against the Angels at Camden Yards.

The Orioles announced that they recalled Irvin from Norfolk and optioned reliever Logan Gillaspie, who barely had time to unpack his bags before leaving.

Gillaspie was informed of the decision last night after allowing a run, plus an inherited runner from Grayson Rodriguez to score, in 1 2/3 innings in a 9-5 loss. The Angels collected four hits and a walk.

Irvin was a surprise demotion on April 14 after making only three starts. His strike-throwing reputation took a hit, with Irvin posting a 10.66 ERA and 1.974 WHIP and averaging 5.7 walks per nine innings.

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Orioles waiting for pitching returns while getting plenty of results from others

cano white

The last four lockers in a row inside the Orioles clubhouse that lead to the entrance to the bathroom and shower area have nameplates above them for John Means, Mychal Givens, Dillon Tate and Cole Irvin.

The first three pitchers are on the injured list, with Means assigned to the 60-day after spring training. Irvin was optioned on April 14 after making three starts.

Those empty spaces will be filled again, but probably on four different days.

Means makes the occasional appearance, and he’s full-go in his bullpen sessions. The team has been targeting a July return for their ace – plenty of time to figure out how he fits.

Tate is beginning his injury rehab assignment Tuesday with high Single-A Aberdeen, and Givens is supposed to start his own later in the week.

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Starters unable to provide length as Orioles drop opening series to Red Sox (updated)

irvin gray

BOSTON – With his starters churning out a combined eight innings in the first two games and his calls to the bullpen exceeding any level of comfort, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said it would be “huge” today for Cole Irvin’s debut to carry deep in the series finale.

“We’ve used a lot of people the first couple games,” he said.

The wheels already were turning. Who would provide length if Irvin had an early exit? How many times could the baton reasonably be passed from hand to hand, with the bullpen covering the last six innings on Saturday?

“We’re in the third game of the year and we’re already talking about (this),” Hyde said, laughing.

And then Irvin took the mound in the bottom of first inning and threw 32 pitches.

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O's game blog: Looking for a series win at Fenway Park

orioles outfield

The Orioles have exchanged one-run wins with Boston, and both clubs are 1-1 as they wrap up this three-game series today at Fenway Park. The Orioles won 10-9 on Thursday and lost 9-8 yesterday. After the series wrap-up game, the O’s head to Texas for three games to conclude the season-opening road trip.

The Orioles have scored 18 runs on 26 hits with five homers and 10 stolen bases to start the year. Five different players have already hit home runs and five have stolen bases. Catcher Adley Rutschman is 6-for-10 and Austin Hays is 5-for-10 through two games.

Lefty Cole Irvin (9-13, 3.98 ERA in 2022 with Oakland) makes his O’s debut this afternoon. He pitched 181 innings last season, the 12th-most in the American League. He recorded a 1.160 WHIP, allowing 1.2 homers per nine innings with a 1.8 walk rate and 6.4 strikeout rate.

Irvin is an outstanding control pitcher with a career 2.0 walk rate. His 14.4 pitches per inning were the second-fewest in the AL last year, while his 1.79 BB/9 ratio ranked sixth-best among qualified AL hurlers. And his 4.9 percent walk rate ranked in the 89th percentile of MLB, per Statcast. He did that while ranking near the bottom of all MLB pitchers last season in fastball and curveball spin rate.

Irvin had an 8.40 ERA in the first inning last season when opponents produced an OPS of 1.095 against him. He went 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five April starts in 2022.

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