Hyde on the lineup, Mullins on AL East games as Toronto series begins

mullins sprints grey

TORONTO – No doubt tonight’s Orioles lineup is matchup-based as the club tonight faces Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi (5-0, 3.89 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series at Toronto. It starts an important six-game road trip for the Orioles against the Blue Jays and Yankees.

In facing Kikuchi, manager Brandon Hyde had definite reasons for putting Cedric Mullins back atop the order, even with a left-on-left matchup, and for inserting Joey Ortiz at third base.

Ortiz has played 30 big league innings at second base and 18 at shortstop, but none at third, where he will play tonight. He has made eight minor league starts at the hot corner: four in 2021, two in 2022 and two this year with Triple-A Norfolk.

“Well, he got a little bit of time there at Norfolk, played there in college, which is way different then playing there (now)," Hyde said. "I love his defense. I think he can play anywhere on the field, honestly, and he feels comfortable over there. Adding a right-handed bat against Kikuchi. And want (Adam) Frazier in there, and it’s kind of where it fit.”

The Orioles hit Kikuchi well last year, when he went 2-3 with an 8.10 ERA against them and allowed seven homers in 16 2/3 innings with an OPS against of 1.078. Cedric Mullins went 2-for-7 with a triple against Kikuchi in 2022, and has a batting average of .298 and a .953 OPS versus southpaws this year.

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First Orioles lineup of spring training (and notes)

Anthony Bemboom throw black

SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hopes to get two innings from left-hander Drew Rom in today’s exhibition opener against the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium.

The lineup is stacked with left-handed hitters, including Ryan O’Hearn at first base and Nomar Mazara in left field.

Cedric Mullins is leading off and Anthony Santander is the cleanup hitter, their starts coming early as they prepare for the World Baseball Classic.

Coby Mayo gets the start at third base. Anthony Bemboom is catching.

For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Adam Frazier 2B
Adley Rutschman DH
Anthony Santander RF
Ryan O’Hearn 1B
Nomar Mazara LF
Joey Ortiz SS
Coby Mayo 3B
Anthony Bemboom C

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