Hays in left field and Cowser in right tonight vs. Twins

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The Orioles avoided a sweep in the Brewers series with yesterday’s 6-4 win, running their streak in the regular season to 96. Jackson Holliday collected his first major league hit with a single in the seventh inning, and he’s batting ninth and playing second base tonight against the Twins at Camden Yards.

Holliday was 0-for-13 before his ground ball reached right field.

“Not so much difficult, just a lot, but it’s been fun,” he told the media at his locker. “It’s quite an experience. I don’t think I’d ever take it for granted, the experience that I’ve had and it’s a good learning experience. If you are 0-for three or four games, that’s going to happen in baseball. I’d prefer it not to happen at the beginning of my career, but it’s going to happen and I’m glad to hopefully learn from it.”

Anthony Santander gets a breather tonight, with Colton Cowser in right field and Austin Hays in left.

Cedric Mullins homered yesterday and has a six-game hitting streak.

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Mailbag leftovers for breakfast

Corbin Burnes

The last mailbag felt emptied but actually had more to it. I need an umpire to stop by my house and check the bottom for sticky substances.

As everyone knows, there’s nothing worse than a sticky bottom. But I digress …

Let’s do a morning mashup, combining a mailbag with leftovers. Much safer than the two liquids you poured together in chemistry class.

Complaining about the clarity, lengthy, style, grammar or brevity will get you edited right out of here.

Also, my mailbag makes your mailbag use the homer hose for a good cleansing.  

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Jackson Holliday's first MLB hit keys winning rally, O's top the Brewers

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He had to wait until his third at-bat today and the 14th of his major league career, but Jackson Holliday’s first hit came in the last of the seventh today. And it helped fuel a game-winning, two-run rally for the Orioles.

With the O's trailing 4-3 after Milwaukee's Blake Perkins homered off Yennier Cano in the top of the seventh, Jordan Westburg led off the home seventh and punched a single into left.

Then Holliday had his big moment.

Off reliever Abner Uribe, he hit a 1-0 two-seamer at 99.3 mph into right field for a groundball single at 101.4 mph off the bat. Westburg scampered to third and a rally was brewing in Birdland. That hit made Holliday now 1-for-14.

Gunnar Henderson followed with a line single to right to score a run and tie it 4-4, and Holliday made a dash for third and beat the throw. That was important as the next batter, Adley Rutschman, grounded into a 6-3 double play. But because he was on third, Holliday scored the go-ahead run for the 5-4 lead.  

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O's Kyle Bradish excited to begin his minor league rehab assignment

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After his latest bullpen session – which came Saturday at Camden Yards – Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish is ready to begin what is essentially his spring training.

He'll pitch his first minor league rehab game this week, perhaps just an inning or two as he continues his comeback and rehab from a UCL sprain which required a plasma-rich platelet injection in January.

“Yeah I’m excited. It will be nice to face some other jerseys,” Bradish said this morning in the Baltimore clubhouse.

With lefty John Means three outings into his rehab assignment and now Bradish ready to start his, the O’s have some real quality pitching reinforcements on the way.  

“It will be nice. Kind of treating this as my spring training," Bradish said. "Just working out some different mechanical things, but it will be nice to get in a game setting." 

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O's lineup for series finale with Milwaukee

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After playing in 10 games this season for Triple-A Norfolk and in his first three games after his call-up Wednesday in Boston, Jackson Holliday got a day off Saturday. But he returns to the lineup today, batting ninth versus Milwaukee in the series finale.

Holliday is 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts, two runs scored and an RBI thus far. He went 0-for-8 in two games at Boston and was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Friday night.

Holliday played in 15 games at spring training for the Orioles, batting .311/.354/.600/.954 with three doubles, two triples, two homers and six RBIs.

The Orioles have lost by scores of 11-1 and 11-5 in this series. Before this series began their first four losses of the season had come by eight total runs.

The Orioles lost 1 1/2 games in the standings to the first-place New York Yankees yesterday as New York swept a doubleheader at Cleveland.

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Teammates offer encouragement and advice as Holliday adapts to majors

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Orioles manager Brandon Hyde just wanted Jackson Holliday to breathe.

What sounds simple and natural is a lot more challenging in a suffocating environment.

Holliday played in his first three major league games and didn’t get a hit in 11 at-bats. Seven of them ended with a strikeout.

Fans of opposing teams celebrated it on social media. They chanted “overrated” at Fenway Park. Nonsense in the baseball world remains in full supply, but that’s the nature of the business.

Take the pulse inside the Orioles clubhouse and the level of concern is undetectable.

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Orioles allow 11 runs again in latest loss to Brewers (plus notes)

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It’s nothing personal.

DL Hall was a popular teammate inside the Orioles clubhouse. His friends hated to see him traded, though the return softened the blow. But he came back to Baltimore wearing a different uniform and with the intent to beat them.

Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg hit home runs in the first inning. The pleasantries were over.

Gunnar Henderson delivered an RBI single in the second at 112.8 mph off the bat and Adley Rutschman homered in the third to break a tie. Hall was taking a beating. But the Brewers can dole out their own punishment, and they went hard after Dean Kremer and the bullpen.

Nothing personal.

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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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Prospects down below remain on hold while Hyde figures out nightly lineups

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The question inevitably comes in casual conversations or radio and television interviews.  And the phrase “pleasant problem” is the chaser.

The constant change in Orioles lineups, with players rotating in the field as if waiting for the music to stop and plopping down, is becoming a less familiar sight. We haven’t gone back to the ‘70s. They want wide margins of victory over wide lapels. But manager Brandon Hyde isn’t gonna fix what ain’t broken and he’s found an order that’s difficult to break up.

An infielder stocked with versatile players is beginning to solidify with Gunnar Henderson at shortstop, Jackson Holliday at second base and Jordan Westburg at third. The first base options remain Ryan Mountcastle or Ryan O’Hearn, the latter serving as designated hitter in the past three games before last night and six overall.

They’ve only played 13.

Jorge Mateo might be in the tightest bind because he isn’t used at third base. It’s pretty much middle infield, which is tougher to crack than a bank safe, or maybe a token appearance in center.

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Holliday's first home game doesn't bring hit or Orioles win (updated)

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There will be a day when Jackson Holliday walks into a clubhouse and goes to his locker, turns back around and is ignored. No recorders or cameras. No media forming the shape of a basketball three-point arc.

He will be a major league player arriving for work. Perhaps getting a bite to eat, since he dresses next to the entrance to the kitchen. Perhaps just relaxing before fulfilling the on-field obligations.

We aren’t there yet.

“Looking forward to it, but it’s awesome,” he said earlier today, flashing that boyish grin. “Obviously doing something right if you’ve got all this attention. But yeah, looking forward to that. Just excited to play.”

Holliday jogged onto the field about 15 minutes before first pitch and fans cheered him. Stretching out a hamstring could bring a standing ovation. The city is Holliday happy, and he’d love to give them more reasons beyond his arrival.

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DL Hall on his return: “Definitely a weird feeling but awesome"

DL Hall on his return: “Definitely a weird feeling but awesome"

DL Hall went through the usual, almost clichéd, struggle this afternoon to find the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards.

The strangeness never goes away for players changing teams and routines. The sense of direction is lost. Amusement follows in the retelling.

“Definitely a little weird for sure,” he said after greeting members of the Baltimore media with a smile and handshake. “I was walking in today, didn’t even know where to go. I was like, ‘I’ve been here but I don’t know how to get to the visiting side.’

“Definitely a weird feeling but awesome. Super excited, obviously.”

The Orioles made their big winter strike by trading Hall and elite-fielding shortstop Joey Ortiz to the Brewers on Feb. 1 for former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, a three-time All-Star and the bona fide ace that the front office hunted.

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Orioles lineup vs. Brewers includes Hays

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The Orioles return home after a 4-2 road trip to Pittsburgh and Boston, sweeping the Red Sox and increasing their run total to 70, the second-most in the American League behind the Royals’ 72.

Jackson Holliday makes his home debut tonight and waits for his first major league hit. He’s playing second base and batting eighth.

Colton Cowser is in right field and batting second in a drastically different lineup.

Austin Hays is in left field after failing to start in Boston. James McCann is catching. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle are on the bench.

Cowser has a .917 slugging percentage through 11 games. According to STATS, the only Orioles left-handed hitter with a higher percentage through 11 games in a season is Chris Davis at 1.000 in 2013 (minimum 25 plate appearances.)

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Cal Ripken Jr. appreciates Orioles honoring his father in many ways

Cal Ripken Jr.

BOSTON – Cal Ripken Sr. would have loved this.

The man who created The Oriole Way, who breathed life into it through the years and the many ups and downs, was made for the 2024 team. Or it was made for him.

The last two lineups had seven homegrown players, and an eighth, right fielder Anthony Santander, who was plucked out of A ball in the Rule 5 draft. Also a baseball baby who needed care and nurturing.

“I saw a connection to the spirit of Dad right from the beginning,” said Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. “I don’t know that Dad would have taken his uniform off and given it to somebody, but he might have. If it’s that important to you, here.”

Having Senior’s No. 7 on the shelf since 1992 never seemed that important to the family. The time for reflection came a few days ago, after the club sought approval to pass it along to Jackson Holliday, the sport’s top prospect who debuted last night at Fenway Park.

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Cowser homers twice and Orioles post sixth comeback win (updated)

cowser goes yard @ BOS

BOSTON – The Orioles won’t ever profile as a one-prospect team. Win or lose, they’re going to spread the young talent wealth.

They also let the older guys have their moments, a combination that played out again tonight. It usually works in their favor.

It went absolutely nuts late in tonight's game.

Colton Cowser hit his first two major league home runs, including a three-run shot off Isaiah Campbell in a six-run 10th inning in the Orioles' 9-4 victory over the Red Sox.

The ball traveled 438 feet to right field at 113.6 mph off the bat. He'd love to keep traveling to Boston.

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Orioles pregame notes on Cowser, Hays, Pérez, Kimbrel and more

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BOSTON – Colton Cowser is playing left field again tonight to close out the series against the Red Sox, putting Austin Hays on the bench for the third game in a row and fourth out of six.

Cowser made two impressive catches last night in the eighth inning, slamming against the Green Monster and holding onto the ball while the Orioles protected a 7-5 lead.

“Those were two huge plays in big spots,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Those balls fall, stuff changes from bullpen usage to other things. I’m excited about the way Colton Cowser is playing right now, just all around. The way he’s playing defense, the at-bats he’s given us, the speed on the bases, everything. He had a really nice game last night.

The Orioles face two right-handers in the weekend series against the Brewers at Camden Yards, which could limit Hays to starting against former teammate DL Hall on Saturday. But Hyde didn’t describe the left field arrangement as a strict platoon.

“Austin’s going to get back in there,” he said. “I think we’re just going to see how it goes, honestly. I like the way Colton’s playing right now, and with Cedric (Mullins) and (Anthony) Santander, we have a lot of really good problems right now. We have four guys on the bench that I wish could be out there, and that’s going to be on a nightly basis.”

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Orioles and Red Sox lineups in series finale

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BOSTON – The Orioles go for the sweep of the Red Sox tonight and they’ve got Jackson Holliday at second base again and batting ninth.

Manager Brandon Hyde is repeating another lineup after avoiding duplicates in 2023.

At 20 years and 128 days, Holliday last night became the fourth-youngest player in franchise history with an RBI in his debut, behind Brooks Robinson, Andy Etchebarren and Ron Hansen.

Jordan Westburg is the third baseman. Colton Cowser is in left field, with Austin Hays on the bench for all three games of the series.

Grayson Rodriguez is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA and 1.054 WHIP in two starts covering 12 1/3 innings. He’s allowed only three runs and struck out 16.

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Orioles claim Soto on waivers again today

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BOSTON – The Livan Soto shell game was played again this afternoon.

The Orioles claimed Soto on waivers from the Angels Feb. 8, and the Angels claimed him 10 days later.

Soto is on the move again, going back to the Orioles today in a waiver claim. They optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.

The utility infielder got into in 22 games with the Angels between 2022-23 and went 24-for-64 (.375) with five doubles, a triple and a home run.

Soto, 23, appeared in nine games at Triple-A Salt Lake this year and was 6-for-28 (.214). He’s a left-handed bat that arrives in Norfolk after Jackson Holliday’s promotion yesterday to the Orioles.

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Teammates trust that Holliday can handle pressure

Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday

BOSTON – The reporter approached Ryan Mountcastle’s locker yesterday, asked if he had a minute and explained that only one topic could be covered. The important one. You know it.

Mountcastle turned around, smiled and said, “Jackson Holliday.”

Of course. It wasn’t the best lobster rolls in New England.

Players learned about Holliday’s promotion late Tuesday night. They, too, have sources scattered throughout baseball.

“Somebody sent it to me over a text,” Mountcastle said. “Super excited for him and super excited for the team and fans to have him up. Hopefully, he does well. Super excited to have him here.”

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Holliday gets first RBI, Westburg hits go-ahead home run in 7-5 win (updated)

Jordan Westburg homer

BOSTON – Jackson Holliday stretched with his teammates on the field. He took batting practice while father Matt and younger brother Ethan stood behind the cage. He paused to sign some autographs before grabbing his bats and heading back to the clubhouse. Fans yelled his name.

He looked every bit like a major leaguer, except for that youthful face, of course. But he’s used to the reactions and enjoys them. It comes with a boyish grin.

Holliday worked this afternoon to keep his emotions in check. Soak in the experience but don’t let it distract. Understand the fuss but also blend, as he’s always tried to do.

Jackson’s first major league at-bat arrived with one out in the third inning and he struck out on a 2-2 sweeper from Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford while Colton Cowser stole second base. Baseball’s top prospect went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and his first RBI in the Orioles' 7-5 come-from-behind win at Fenway Park.

Jordan Westburg hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Chris Martin after the Orioles loaded the bases for the third time. The Red Sox maintained their sloppy ways with a walk, passed ball, catcher’s interference call and two wild pitches to set up Westburg for his second home run – a 432-foot shot to left-center at 111.2 mph off the bat.

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Hyde on Holliday: "Hopefully he can just relax and play confidently and have fun out there"

Jackson Holliday debut BP

BOSTON – Manager Brandon Hyde prepared for tonight's game against the Red Sox but also relived the “tough decision” made in spring training to reassign 20-year-old Jackson Holliday. Again.

How Holliday was playing a new position, how the first-overall draft pick in 2022 needed more exposure to left-handed pitching.

“Just to get him more Triple-A experience, and he did,” Hyde said this afternoon, before Holliday did some stretching with teammates and took his first major league batting practice.

“He got 10 or so games in there defensively, played really well, took really good at-bats. We watched all of them. And we just felt like at this point, at this time, he was ready to come up.”

Holliday was told last night and flew out of Richmond with wife Chloe. The Orioles made it through the early gauntlet of opposing left-handed starters, facing right-handers in all three games of the Red Sox series. They'll see at least one this weekend against the Brewers at Camden Yards, after former Orioles left-hander DL Hall on Friday night.

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