Ramírez activated and Heasley optioned (plus lineup)

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The Orioles have activated reliever Yohan Ramírez, acquired from the Mets this week for cash considerations, and optioned Jonathan Heasley to Triple-A Norfolk. These moves were anticipated last night.

Heasley allowed six runs in two innings in an 11-1 loss. Manager Brandon Hyde said during his afternoon media session that Ramírez would be arriving within the next few days.

He’s here.

Ramírez, who is wearing No. 48, has made five career relief appearances against Milwaukee and allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Also, infielder Tony Kemp cleared waivers and elected free agency rather than an outright assignment to Norfolk.

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Answering a few of my own Orioles questions

John Means

Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias informed the media on the first day of spring training that John Means probably would begin the season on the injured list because the left-hander was a month behind the other starters. The Orioles delayed the start of his throwing program after elbow soreness denied him a roster spot in the Division Series. There weren’t enough days and innings in camp to get him ready and no reason to be reckless and rush him.

The circumstances made it a little awkward when lumping Means in articles with Kyle Bradish, who was diagnosed in January with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Bradish was injured. Means was behind. But they were going on the IL.

The Orioles set their Opening Day roster on Thursday and listed Means as having a left forearm strain. They had to put down something, of course, because it would have seemed strange for the IL list in the game notes to read:

Félix Bautista (right UCL injury)
Kyle Bradish (right UCL sprain)
John Means (behind other starters)

I wondered about the forearm, whether that was the cause of the elbow discomfort in October. Or was it forearm discomfort and we kept reporting it incorrectly.

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Hyde on Cowser: “I think you’re going to see him in there the next couple days, possibly a start tomorrow”

Colton Cowser gray

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde posted his fourth lineup this afternoon and it’s still missing Colton Cowser.

The young outfielder has appeared in three games and received two at-bats. He replaced Anthony Santander in right field on Opening Day and didn’t get to the plate, did it again Saturday and stroked a double to right field in the eighth inning, and pinch-hit for Jordan Westburg yesterday in the eighth and grounded out on the first pitch to strand a runner.

Santander, Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins have started in the outfield in every game. Westburg, Ryan O’Hearn and Adley Rutschman have been used at designated hitter, with O’Hearn getting the assignment again tonight against right-hander Michael Wacha.

The Orioles saw two left-handed starters in the Angels series and get southpaw Cole Ragans Wednesday in the series finale against the Royals.

“It’s easier as the season gets going and you get a chance to give guys days off and rotate a little bit,” Hyde said. “I think you’re going to see him in there the next couple days, possibly a start tomorrow.”

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One year makes a big difference for Danny Coulombe

Danny Coulombe

The last day of camp.

Danny Coulombe won’t forget it. A visitor to his locker fumbles for the exact date, and Coulombe says evenly, “The last day of camp.” And then he smiles.

The reliever is talking about March 27, 2023, when the Twins traded him to the Orioles for cash considerations. They might have wanted to consider holding onto him, since they’d lose a couple left-handed relievers during the summer and since he’d craft the finest season of his major league career with a 2.81 ERA in 61 appearances and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

The guy with a low profile became high leverage.

Coulombe’s career carried him from 40-man roster exile to lock status in spring training 2024. Baseball can break your heart or build you back up.

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Hilliard claimed on waivers to create spot on 40-man (O's win 12-3)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Orioles reduced their 40-man roster to 39 players this afternoon in the latest move - their third in less than 24 hours - by losing outfielder Sam Hilliard on a waiver claim by the Rockies.

Hilliard was claimed from the Braves in November and competed for a backup spot with the Orioles, an intriguing possibility with his left-handed bat and ability to play all three spots.

He didn’t get many opportunities, going 0-for-3.

Hilliard played for the Rockies from 2019-22, so he returns to his original organization.

The Orioles have a healthy supply of left-handed hitting outfielders in camp with Cedric Mullins, Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, Kyle Stowers and Daniel Johnson. Anthony Santander bats from both sides of the plate.

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More information on Heasley through a scout's eyes


The Orioles had 36 players on their 40-man roster when the Winter Meetings began in Nashville and they made two moves with the free-agent signing of closer Craig Kimbrel and trade with Kansas City for pitcher Jonathan Heasley.

Kimbrel is a veteran of 14 major league seasons and the Orioles are his eighth team. He’s a former Rookie of the Year and a nine-time All-Star. He’s an open book.

Heasley appeared in 36 games with the Royals over the past three seasons, used in relief 12 times in 2023 after his 24 starts in 2021-22. The Orioles announced the trade on Dec. 18, surrendering Dominican Summer League right-hander Cesar Espinal.

How Heasley would be used, how he was viewed, wasn’t included in the press release and must be ascertained later.

Having one minor league option had to increase his appeal with the organization. The bullpen needs the flexibility. And we’re assuming that he’s more likely to work in relief, though he could make the occasional start.

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Orioles acquire Heasley from Royals

heasley royals

Two weeks after signing their closer for the 2024 season, the Orioles made another pitching move via a trade.

The Orioles have acquired right-hander Jonathan Heasley from the Royals in exchange for Dominican Summer League right-hander Cesar Espinal.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported the deal, and the team just announced it.

Heasley, who turns 27 next month, made 12 relief appearances with the Royals this year and posted a 7.20 ERA and 1.267 WHIP in 15 innings. He made three starts in 2021 and 21 the following season before moving to the bullpen.

Heasley has gone 5-11 with a 5.45 ERA and 1.436 WHIP in 133 2/3 major league innings and averaged only 5.7 strikeouts. The 13th-round pick in 2018 out of Oklahoma State University has registered a 4.43 ERA and 1.304 WHIP in 100 games in the minors, including 76 starts.

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