Joseph on Rutschman: "I think they've got a great one"

Adley Rutschman orange catching gear

TORONTO – Caleb Joseph didn’t need a large sample size to get a feel for Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, to properly ascertain just how good baseball’s No. 1 prospect can be behind the plate and with a bat in his hands.

One series was sufficient for Joseph to receive confirmation Monday night as he sat in the Blue Jays’ radio booth to begin a four-game series. It matched the research done to prepare for his assignment.

The next chapter in Joseph’s professional life isn’t as a scout, but he knows catching, having spent parts of seven seasons doing it at the highest level and 555 games catching in the minors. He knows a legit player when he sees one.

And he understands why success doesn’t arrive at the exact moment that the jersey is buttoned for the first time.

Rutschman caught last night and hit his first major league home run, which also produced his first two RBIs – sending a 94 mph fastball from José Berríos over the center field fence in the fourth inning. He’s 3-for-11 in the series, serving as the designated hitter Tuesday with Trey Mancini injured and Anthony Santander back in Baltimore.

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Home run ball gets Zimmermann again and O's lose a walk-off in the 10th

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TORONTO – There were potentially some positive signs early on tonight for O's struggling lefty Bruce Zimmermann, who had an ERA of 9.47 his last five starts when he took the mound tonight at Rogers Centre.

Through the first two innings, while he was behind 1-0, Blue Jays batters had swung and whiffed on four of seven changeups – a bread and butter pitch for Zimmermann. A slider strikeout of George Springer ended the second. Maybe his secondary pitches would be there for him tonight.

It turned out they were not.

While Zimmermann struggled again, the Orioles offense came to life late as they rallied to tie the Blue Jays. But Toronto produced a walk-off win 7-6 in the last of the 10th on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s RBI single to left. It scored placed runner Bo Bichette as Toronto won on Guerrero's fourth hit of the night. He hit a 100 mph fastball from Felix Bautista and sent it into left field at 116 mph and the game was over.

The O's stranded the potential go-ahead run on third with one out in their half of the tenth. And on a night they came from 5-0 down after three innings and 6-2 behind after six and rallied to tie it, they still came up short. By one run as they suffered their second walkoff loss of the season.

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Injury updates on Mancini and Krehbiel

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TORONTO – Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini still expects to avoid the injured list as the swelling is reducing in his right hand.

Mancini has the hand wrapped, but he noted the improvement this afternoon.

His timeline for returning stays the same. He said yesterday that it could be two or three days.

The injury occurred in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays when Mancini swung at a tailing 91 mph sinker from Alek Manoah and the ball struck his hand and rolled up the third base line.

Mancini said he might be available off the bench Thursday afternoon, but he seems more likely to play over the weekend when the Orioles host the Rays.

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Orioles claim Araúz and DFA Lowther (plus lineup)

austin hays swinging bat black

TORONTO – The Orioles claimed infielder Jonathan Araúz off waivers from the Red Sox this afternoon and designated left-hander Zac Lowther for assignment. The 40-man roster remains full.

Araúz, 23, will report to Triple-A Norfolk. He went 0-for-10 in six games this season and is 30-for-147 (.204) with five doubles, four home runs and 18 RBIs in 59 games with the Red Sox over parts of three seasons.

Araúz plays shortstop, second base and third base. He’s a career .240/.315/.357 hitter in 498 minor league games and provides infield depth, versatility and experience at the upper level of the farm system.

The native of Panama signed with the Phillies as a free agent in 2014 and was traded to the Astros a year later in a seven-player deal that included Ken Giles, Mark Appel and future Orioles pitcher Thomas Eshelman. The Red Sox selected him in the 2019 Rule 5 draft.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias knows Araúz from their days in the Astros organization.

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Garcia glad to make it back to majors

Mountcastle high five

TORONTO – Rico Garcia understood how much the numbers really mattered. A non-roster pitcher who missed a full year recovering from elbow surgery must get noticed for more than just returning to the mound. He has to push hard for the promotion.

The circumstances also worked in Garcia’s favor as he made it back to the majors Monday with the Orioles.

Keegan Akin didn’t join the team for the second portion of the road trip due to Canada’s restrictions on unvaccinated players. The rules allowed the Orioles to call up Garcia and, if they chose, send him back down without using an option or having to designate him for assignment in a 40-man move.

Garcia signed a minor league deal in November, posted a 1.93 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings for three affiliates and joined the taxi squad in Kansas City. The Orioles learned that he wasn’t just healthy again.

“Just going out there and attacking hitters, trying not to think about the elbow and the whole rehab process,” he said. “Just trust the process, trust the surgery, that everything in there is feeling good, and let things rip, just like before the surgery happened. That was the main focus.”

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Lyles gets victory, Mountcastle and Hays homer in win (updated)

mckenna and mountcastle black

TORONTO – He may not have put up stats as he did earlier in the year, but right-hander Jordan Lyles got his team off to a good pitching start tonight. And then his offense scored in four straight at-bats to back him. Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays homered as the Orioles beat Toronto 6-5 to even this four-game series at a victory for each club.

The Orioles (27-36) improved to 3-3 on this road trip and to 6-5 in their last 11 road games. They are 12-17 on the year versus American League East clubs, but are 8-6 in their past 14 division games.

Lyles allowed four runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings to improve to 4-5 with a 5.10 ERA. He has an ERA of 5.08 in eight starts within the division this season.

Jorge López got the last five outs and did some big-time heavy lifting again. It was his fourth save of the year of more than one inning. He got Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernández in order in the last of the ninth. 

The Orioles broke the early scoreless tie when Mountcastle went opposite field with his 10th homer of the year in the Baltimore third. That provided a 2-0 lead, scoring Richie Martin, who had walked. Mountcastle hit a 1-0 fastball 396 feet with an exit velocity of 106. And Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who had given up seven runs over 5 1/3 his past two starts, was behind in the third tonight.

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Brandon Hyde pregame on Mancini, team's recent play and more

Brandon Hyde pointing black away

TORONTO - The Orioles lineup tonight is missing Trey Mancini. He was hit in the right hand by a pitch last night and had his hand wrapped today in the clubhouse earlier. X-rays showed there is no fracture and Mancini is hopeful that he may only have to miss a day or two, or a few at most.

“Trey’s hand is pretty swollen today,” manager Brandon Hyde said during his pregame media briefing. “It’s going to be a few days. We don’t think it’s going to be an IL stint. We got lucky with no fractures last night. But hopefully it’s going to (only) be a few days.”

Any time without Mancini will be challenging for an Orioles team trying to match up on offense with this Toronto club. Mancini is 0-for-5 the last two games but his .797 OPS for the year is 30 percent above league average. And since May 1, he is batting .326/.424/.482/.907 in 38 games.

Kyle Stowers will join Mancini on the bench as tonight’s game starts. With lefty Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 4.44 ERA) starting for Toronto, Ryan McKenna is in left field tonight, with Cedric Mullins in center and Austin Hays in right. Ryan Mountcastle starts at first base and Adley Rutschman is the DH.

Stowers, the Orioles' No. 8 ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, made his major league debut last night, going 1-for-3 with a seventh-inning RBI double.

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Mancini out with hand injury

Mancini out with hand injury

TORONTO – Trey Mancini walked into the visiting clubhouse this afternoon with his right hand wrapped in black tape. His name missing from the lineup. His mind uncertain when he'd get back on the field.

Mancini was hit in the sixth inning last night by a 91 mph sinker from Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah. He reached first base on a slow roller up the third base line, and a lengthy challenge led to the ruling that he struck out swinging.

Richie Martin pinch-hit for Mancini in the seventh.

X-rays didn’t reveal a fracture in the hand, but Mancini isn’t available to play tonight and might not be able to leave a short bench Wednesday.

“It’s swollen. Not great, but luckily no fracture, so I say day-to-day, but it’s pretty swollen,” Mancini said. “Once the swelling goes down it should be good again to grip the bat again and go, but I’m not exactly sure.

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Orioles lineup vs. Blue Jays

Adley Rutschman black BP watch

TORONTO – Kyle Stowers is on the bench after making his major league debut last night and lining a run-scoring double into left field in the seventh inning.

Ryan McKenna is starting in left field as the Orioles continue their series against the Blue Jays. Adley Rutschman is batting cleanup and serving as the designated hitter.

Trey Mancini, who was hit on the hand last night, isn't in the lineup.

Tyler Nevin is the third baseman again. Richie Martin is starting at second base.

Jordan Lyles hasn’t gone past five innings in his last three starts. He has a lifetime 7.79 ERA and 2.077 WHIP in four games against the Blue Jays spanning 17 1/3 innings.

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More from last night's loss in Toronto

Bradish walks toronto

TORONTO – A few of the firsts are out of the way for Kyle Stowers.

The first hit, first double, first RBI, first hit by pitch.

The first time that his family was brought to tears in a major league game.

Stowers lined a Julian Merryweather fastball, clocked at 95.7 mph, into left-center field for a double that scored Adley Rutschman in the seventh inning of an 11-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

Merryweather left the game with an injury, one of many odd moments of the night. Like the challenge in the sixth inning that lasted longer than batting practice and resulted in the Orioles getting the call overturned, and Trey Mancini walking from first base to the dugout after striking out.

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Manoah too much for O's, who get routed in series opener (updated)

bradish throws @TOR gray

TORONTO – In winning the last two games of their series in Kansas City, the Orioles scored 16 runs on 25 hits and hit four homers. The sledding was much tougher tonight in their first meeting of the year with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto sent right-hander Alek Manoah to the mound, a pitcher who had allowed just 14 earned runs in 69 2/3 innings this year and had thrown 10 quality starts in his first 11 outings of the season.

He would not need a lot of runs tonight, but the Blue Jays got him a lot anyway.

They scored seven times in the last of the fifth to knock O’s starter Kyle Bradish from the game, and they routed the Orioles 11-1 at Rogers Centre.

The Orioles had been 7-5 in their last 12 games against American League East opponents, but now they have lost seven in a row versus Toronto dating to last season as they fall to 26-36 for the year and to 2-3 on this road trip.

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More on Stowers and Garcia joining Orioles

More on Stowers and Garcia joining Orioles

TORONTO - The Orioles knew for a while that outfielder Anthony Santander and reliever Keegan Akin would leave the active roster prior to the team’s arrival in Toronto. To be decided was which outfielder might replace Santander in the lineup.

Kyle Stowers became the third top-10 prospect in the system to get the call, joining catcher Adley Rutschman and pitcher Kyle Bradish. They’ll be on the field together tonight for the start of a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

Manager Brandon Hyde got an extended look at Stowers in spring training and wants to check how the 2019 second-round draft pick handles the pressure and challenging at-bats against early Cy Young candidate Alek Manoah.

“I know he’s excited,” Hyde said. “It’s cool to watch young guys make their debuts, and this is going to be a great environment. He’s facing one of the best right-handed starters in the game right now. He’s swinging the bat extremely well in Norfolk and love the athleticism, how he plays defense, how he runs, so it’s a cool way for him to break into the big leagues and looking forward to watching him play tonight.”

The advice to just relax and treat it like any other game “is super unrealistic,” Hyde said.

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Stowers and Garcia replace Santander and Akin on Orioles roster

Stowers and Garcia replace Santander and Akin on Orioles roster

TORONTO - The Orioles placed outfielder Anthony Santander and reliever Keegan Akin on the restricted list today and selected the contracts of Kyle Stowers and Rico Garcia as replacement players.

No reasons were stated for Santander and Akin being away from the club, but unvaccinated players aren’t allowed to enter Canada. Santander and Akin were put on the COVID-19 injured list last summer.

Stowers, the No. 7 prospect in the system per Baseball America and No. 8 per MLBPipeline.com, is batting .253/.356/.545 with 16 doubles, 12 home runs and 34 RBIs in 209 plate appearances with Triple-A Norfolk. He’s making his major league debut tonight, playing left field and batting eighth.

“It’s awesome, it’s a dream come true for sure, and everyone’s been super great,” said Stowers, who called his fiancée and parents with the news.

“It was special, just because they played such a big role, obviously,” he said. “To be able to thank the people who helped me get here was really special.”

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Orioles head to Toronto with more roster moves expected

Kyle-Stowers-smile

The Orioles completed their only trip to Kansas City yesterday and are in Toronto for the first of three visits.

This is my first appearance since the 2016 wild card game.

Too soon?

My lasting image from that day besides Zack Britton warming in the bullpen and sitting down, and my frantic attempts late at night to get a flight home, is catcher Matt Wieters bolting out of his crouch the moment that Edwin Encarnación’s bat made contact against Ubaldo Jimenez in the 11th inning.

Wieters spun toward the dugout as if unable to watch. Or maybe he sensed the outcome in advance and hated to be proven right. Probably both.

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O's score 10, leave Kansas City with series split (updated)

perez shouts gray

KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander rocked back on his left foot, pausing to admire his work.

When you hit a ball 455 feet into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium, you’re allowed a little time to bask.

Santander’s solo splashdown in the first inning of Sunday’s game was the first of three home runs for the Orioles and set the tone for the team’s marathon 10-7 win over the Royals (20-39).

The Orioles (26-35) hit 850 more feet worth of homers in the second, getting back-to-back shots from Ryan Mountcastle and Rougned Odor to open the inning and push the lead to 3-0. But the barrage didn’t end there, as the O’s scored two more in the inning on RBI singles from Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays off Kansas City starter Brad Keller.

“We swung the bat good all day," said manager Brandon Hyde after the win. "We had 15 hits, had really good at-bats, started early, which is great to see. We haven’t done that a ton.”

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Kyle Stowers to join Orioles taxi squad on road trip

hyde contemplating

KANSAS CITY - A shock of bright blonde hair shone in the Orioles clubhouse this morning. 

Kyle Stowers is hard to miss.

The Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, will join the taxi squad when the team heads north of the border to play the Blue Jays this week.

“He’s having a good year at Triple-A,” manager Brandon Hyde said in Kauffman Stadium’s away dugout before Sunday's game. “It’s a loose, left-handed swing. He’s got huge power. I like the way he plays defense, he can play three defensive spots in the outfield, left-handed bat."

A 2019 second-round pick out of Stanford University, Stowers is hitting .253 with 12 home runs and a .901 OPS in 49 games with Triple-A Norfolk this year. The 24-year-old led all Orioles minor leaguers with 27 homers in 2021.

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Orioles and Royals lineups (updated)

martin dugout fives gray LARGE

The Orioles are trying to gain a split of their four-game series in Kansas City today with Dean Kremer making his second start since leaving the injured list.

Kremer faced the Guardians last Sunday and allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. An off-day and rainout pushed him back in the rotation.

Today marks Kremer’s first career start against the Royals.

Adley Rutschman is catching today after the first three-hit game of his career yesterday afternoon. Rutschman is 5-for-11 in his last three starts.

"It kind of goes back to controlling the controllables," Rutschman told the media. "You hit balls hard and eventually, baseball's one of those games, you’re going to hit balls right at people, then you’re going to have balls that are hit hard that fall for hits. So, you’ve got to continue to roll with the punches and try to do the best you can.”

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Kjerstad shares emotions from playing in his first game

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Heston Kjerstad was making his second visit to Maryland after flying in from the spring training complex in Sarasota to begin working out with the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. Taking his rounds of batting practice and waiting for the Orioles to activate him. In an unfamiliar setting that just seemed right to him.

He noticed it again as he walked to home plate Friday night in his first professional game.

Right where he belonged. Nothing else about it mattered.

“Honestly, just felt alive again being in the box. Just playing some baseball,” he said the following day after going 1-for-4 with an RBI.

“It kind of all comes back to you. You get locked in again for hitting. I felt at home again being able to dig in the box and have my approach, and just take some at-bats.”

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O's bats reheat in 6-4 win over Royals (updated)

McKenna Mullins Hays five orange away

KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander appeared almost reluctant to don the Orioles’ home run chain Friday night.

After sneaking a meaningless solo home run inside Kauffman Stadium’s right field foul pole in the ninth inning of an 8-1 loss, Santander accepted the plastic chain with all the gravitas of a weathered monarch.

Tyler Nevin showed no such hesitancy Saturday. In fact, he welcomed it, beckoning Austin Hays to bestow the chain upon him after crushing a three-run, go-ahead homer to dead center field in the sixth inning of a 6-4 win over the Royals.

The honor was richly deserved.

Nevin’s 425-foot longball gave the Orioles their first lead since the third inning of Thursday’s series opener. Before the homer, the O’s had been outscored 18-7 in the first two-and-a-half games of their four-game series in Kansas City. 

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Martin replaces Urías on Orioles roster (plus lineups and notes)

martin makes tag home orange

Infielder Ramón Urías was scratched from last night’s lineup with discomfort in his left side and is going on the 10-day injured list today with an oblique strain. The move is retroactive to yesterday.

Richie Martin had his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk and is in Kansas City, where he’s starting at second base and batting ninth. He was slashing .295/.382/.442 with 13 doubles, four triples, one home run, 14 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts over 41 games.

Martin was on the taxi squad for the trip to St. Louis. He hasn’t played for the Orioles since Oct. 3 in Toronto.

The Orioles selected Martin’s contract today, and he fills the open spot on the 40-man roster.

Urías appeared in 49 games and batted .225/.273/.387 with 10 doubles and six home runs in 188 plate appearances. He played 38 games at third base, seven at second base and four at shortstop.

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