Cordero, Lester and O'Hearn keep the competition cranked


SARASOTA, Fla. – Anthony Santander received his second exhibition start at first base last night. With the club undecided on a primary backup, it makes sense to check whether he can be trusted to do more than field ground balls in pregame drills.

Santander has shown that he’s comfortable, running down a foul popup last night and handling every throw, but the Orioles have other options. For instance, non-roster invites Franchy Cordero, Josh Lester and Ryan O’Hearn remain in camp, surviving cuts that whittled the roster to 44 players.

“We definitely have more depth this year, and we still have a huge number in camp because we still want to take a look at a lot of people,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Still have roster spots open that we haven’t finalized. We’re just starting to have those conversations. We have them throughout the spring but narrowing down to how our roster is going to look when he break. Still questionable right now.”

Cordero was inserted at first base in the seventh inning last night, and Lester went to third. O’Hearn batted for designated hitter Ryan Mountcastle in the eighth. They were stacked back-to-back-to-back in the order, which seemed appropriate. Lined up like actors auditioning for a role.

O’Hearn walked in the eighth, Cordero singled into right field and Lester walked. They all scored, as the Orioles battled back to tie the game.

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Irvin pleased with latest start, Cordero collects three more hits, Hall pitches in simulated game (O's win 7-4)


SARASOTA, Fla. – Cole Irvin became the first Orioles pitcher to exceed four innings tonight, going 4 1/3 against the Blue Jays in his return to the Grapefruit League.

Irvin stayed back in camp Saturday while the Orioles traveled to Dunedin, doing his work on the Camden Yards field.

There’s no roster drama for Irvin. All that’s left is to find out where he slots in the rotation.

Irvin allowed two runs and six hits, with no walks and three strikeouts. He threw 66 pitches, 47 for strikes, before Joey Krehbiel entered and retired both batters that he faced in the fifth.

The first four batters reached against Irvin, and the Jays took a 2-0 lead. The first out came when cleanup hitter Nathan Lukes tried to stretch his RBI single into a double.

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Kyle Gibson is solid, O's hit six homers in split-squad win over Detroit


SARASOTA, Fla. – With his pitching every fifth day schedule lining up closely where he could pitch nearly on schedule on Opening Day at Boston, right-hander Kyle Gibson made his third spring start and threw well in the Orioles' 11-7 win over the Tigers this afternoon.

The Orioles split their squad and played twice. The other half of the roster lost 6-5 to Atlanta in North Port in a game called in the top of the seventh due to rain.

Here at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles hit six homers, some seemed to be helped by the gusting wind toward left field. They had 15 hits in all and the 11 runs is their most this spring after they had scored 10 runs three times. O’s batters have scored 67 runs the past 10 games.

Gibson allowed some hard contact, including on a solo homer to Akil Baddoo, the second batter of the game. But that was the only run he gave up in four innings. He allowed three hits with no walks and two strikeouts on 46 pitches, 33 for strikes.

He is rounding into form nicely with an ERA of 2.00 in nine spring innings after outings of two, three and four innings. In that time, he has yet to walk a batter with six strikeouts.

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Can Cordero convince Orioles to keep him?

hyde contemplating

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles won’t commemorate Dec. 2, 2022 with a special celebration in future years. Patches won’t be sewn onto uniform sleeves. Just another day in a baseball offseason, except it stood out because of two transactions that illustrated one of their priorities.

They wanted left-handed hitters who could play first base and compete for jobs in camp.

Residency on the 40-man roster wasn’t a prerequisite, nor was it promised.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias claimed Lewin Díaz off waivers from the Marlins and later signed Franchy Cordero to a split contract that the team announced as a minor league deal.

Díaz found his way back after a trade to the Braves, a waiver claim and an outright assignment after being designated for assignment. A chaotic winter. Tracking it from the outside was almost as stressful.

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Revisiting roll call of Orioles' non-roster invites to spring training


The Orioles sent out their list of non-roster invites to spring training yesterday with the understanding that other names could appear later. Thirty wasn’t a set number. There’s always room for Jell-O and more lockers at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

Within hours, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez cleared outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. He, too, will be in Sarasota, giving the Orioles 38 pitchers in camp, including 12 of the non-roster variety.

The possibility still exists that the Orioles make a waiver claim, sign a free agent or consummate another trade. They aren’t shutting down.

“We’re still working on stuff,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said yesterday during a Q&A with fans at Wilde Lake High School.

Could be pitching, an infielder or an outfielder. And it could be a major league contract.

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Checking on some competitions while waiting for camp information


“When do you head down to spring training?”

I was asked again this week during dinner with some friends. I smiled, shrugged and offered the usual time frame.

Major League Baseball hasn’t shared the report date for pitchers and catchers, which coincides with my report date. We usually know months ago.

The Rays arrive on Feb. 14, with their first workout held the following day. But they’re in upheaval after Hurricane Ian hit Port Charlotte hard in late September.

Every March home game will be played at Tropicana Field. The Orioles visit on the 5th.

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Same business on tap for Orioles at Winter Meetings

elias cage

SAN DIEGO – The recent moves made by Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias haven’t really shortened his offseason shopping list. The biggest items still seem to be missing from it, which keeps the interest in the Winter Meetings percolating.

Kyle Gibson, who agreed to a one-year contract, isn’t a guy who ideally slots at or near the top of the rotation. The Orioles have sought multiple veteran starters after declining Jordan Lyles’ $11 million option. Gibson comes from the Lyles mold.

Elias arrives in San Diego today trying to find a pitcher who’s more equipped to replace John Means, the staff ace recovering from Tommy John surgery in April.

Grayson Rodriguez is baseball’s No. 1 pitching prospect, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to be the opening day starter. This isn’t Norfolk. Give him time to climb.

Elias is focused on left-handed hitters, specifically first basemen/designated hitters, corner outfielders and second basemen. Lewin Díaz was a waiver claim Friday and Franchy Cordero signed a minor league deal later in the day that pays $1.35 million if he’s in the majors.

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Orioles claim Lewin Díaz from Pirates (and sign Franchy Cordero)


The Orioles are prepared to arrive at the Winter Meetings next week with 37 players on their 40-man roster.

Multiple moves were announced earlier today, with one player joining the organization and two others removed from the 40-man.

The Orioles claimed first baseman Lewin Díaz off waivers from the Pirates. Outfielder Daz Cameron was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk after clearing waivers, and the Phillies claimed outfielder Jake Cave.

Díaz, 26, fits the profile of the left-handed hitting first baseman/designated hitter that the Orioles are shopping for, but they’ll keep checking the market to further address that part of the roster.

The Pirates claimed Díaz from the Marlins on Nov. 22 and designated him for assignment two days ago after signing free agent Carlos Santana. They also traded for first baseman Ji-Man Choi, lessening the chances of Díaz staying with the team.

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