Stowers in left field tonight for series opener against Seattle

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Gunnar Henderson returns to the leadoff spot for tonight’s series opener against the Mariners at Camden Yards, with Jordan Westburg moving down to seventh.

Westburg hit leadoff for the first time in his major league career Wednesday while Henderson occupied the cleanup spot.

An opposing right-handed starter has returned the club to its usual order.

Kyle Stowers gets the start in left field, Colton Cowser is in center and Ryan O’Hearn is in right. Anthony Santander, who bruised his knee Wednesday, is the designated hitter.

Cedric Mullins, in a 5-for-59 slump, was on the field today for earlier batting practice. He joins Austin Hays on the bench.

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Leftovers for breakfast

Jorge Mateo

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded a pitch from Kyle Bradish up the middle Wednesday afternoon with two outs in the third inning, and George Springer surely thought he was going to score from second base. Shortstop Gunnar Henderson couldn’t make a diving stop. He appeared to be the last line of defense.

Jorge Mateo had other ideas, and his ridiculous range.

Mateo darted past the bag and corralled the ball to hold Springer at third base. Unfortunately for the Orioles, Bo Bichette followed with a fly ball to the right field warning track that Anthony Santander couldn’t grab before his knee slammed into the wall, resulting in two runs and a 2-1 lead.

The Fielding Bible Award winner at shortstop in 2022 is excelling at second base this year, to the point where he’s pretty much got regular duty rather than working in a utility role.

The play Wednesday wasn’t the only example of the vast territory he can cover. Remember how he hustled to first base to take the relay throw on a double play? How often does that happen?

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Elias suggests patience with struggling outfielders

Anthony Santander

Anthony Santander led off the fourth inning yesterday with a single and poked a double down the left field line to begin the eighth before the pain from a bruised knee led to his removal in right field. Colton Cowser, who shaved his beard to “change things up,” broke his bat on a fourth-inning single and snapped a 7-for-55 streak. Austin Hays played in his first game since April 20 in Kansas City and delivered a pinch-hit double in the seventh after beginning the season 5-for-45.

Cedric Mullins was removed for Hays after popping up and striking out to extend his slump to 5-for-59.

That’s the latest update on the Orioles outfield. Some promising moments that proceeded Adley Rutschman’s walk-off home run. Not a clean sweep when it comes to perhaps busting out of funks.

The Orioles improved to 27-14 heading into their off-day and are winning without everyone at peak performance. Some players are far from it. And the club must monitor Santander’s knee – he played chess in the clubhouse afterward rather than being in the trainers’ room, which seemed encouraging – and Hays’ calf that forced manager Brandon Hyde to pinch-run for him despite his reinstatement this week from the injured list.

Minds aren’t closed to certain roster upgrades. However, the Orioles don’t appear to have reached a point where they’re going to actively pursue an outfielder in trade or from the waiver wire. They seem more inclined to trust track records and their internal options.

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Rutschman walk-off home run in ninth keeps Orioles' sweepless streak alive (updated)

Rutschman walk-off home run in ninth keeps Orioles' sweepless streak alive (updated)

Adley Rutschman took a big swing, stumbled back and twisted his torso, looking like a golfer using body English to keep the ball from hitting the water or sand.

Rutschman crossed home plate and was drenched.

The second walk-off home run of his career in the ninth inning gave the Orioles an improbable 3-2 win over the Blue Jays before an announced “Field Trip Day” crowd of 29,578 at Camden Yards. Jordan Westburg led off with an infield single against Jordan Romano after defensive replacement Isiah Kiner-Falefa mishandled a grounder and Rutschman lofted a high drive to right that kept carrying to the first row of the flag court.

The ball bounced onto the field and Rutschman waved his arm above his head to signal home run. A review upheld his gesture.

"I was running out of the box, I got around the bases pretty quick," he said at his locker after a long postgame workout. "It snuck out."

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Hyde explains today's lineup with Westburg first and Henderson fourth

Jordan Westburg

Gunnar Henderson has served as Orioles leadoff hitter in every game this season, but he’s in the cleanup spot this afternoon against the Blue Jays. Jordan Westburg bats first for the first time in his major league career.

Why Westburg?

The Blue Jays announced this morning that they’d give the ball to left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, but matchups haven’t impacted Henderson in the past.

“Just a little bit the way our lineup is with two lefties at the bottom,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “A bunch of things, but having Gunnar in a little bit more of an RBI spot, having those four guys at the top with (Anthony) Santander in the middle there. We’ll see what it looks like.”

Hyde keeps praising the quality of Westburg’s at-bats, which makes the infielder a viable candidate at the top.

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Westburg batting leadoff today in series finale

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The Orioles will try again today to squeeze in a game against the Blue Jays despite more rain in the forecast.

Jordan Westburg is leading off for the first time in his major league career. Gunnar Henderson moves to the cleanup spot for the 11th time.

Kyle Bradish makes his third start after allowing two runs and striking out 14 batters in 9 2/3 innings following his reinstatement from the injured list. He’s made seven career starts against the Blue Jays and registered a 5.25 ERA and 1.417 WHIP in 36 innings.

Orioles starters have gone an average of 5.7 innings per start, fifth-highest in the majors, per STATS. The Blue Jays are 14th at 5.3.

George Springer is 7-for-17 with four doubles and a home run against Bradish. Bo Bichette is 5-for-15 with two homers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 5-for-17 with a homer, and Alejandro Kirk is 5-for-10 with a double.

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Orioles unsure of next step with Rodriguez or when Wells will begin throwing

Grayson Rodriguez

Last night’s postponement due to the inclement weather and ominous forecast, which carries into this morning, led to the easy decision by the Orioles to push back Kyle Bradish for the series finale against the Blue Jays.

Cole Irvin was supposed to start today, but he could pitch Friday night against the Mariners in the third leg of the season’s longest homestand. This is working under the assumption that today’s game is played or rescheduled for Thursday’s mutual off-day if rain again impacts the schedule.

Meanwhile, the Orioles haven’t decided what’s next for Grayson Rodriguez and whether a six-man rotation is imminent. That’s a much harder call.

Rodriguez had another successful side session on Sunday, meaning that his shoulder is pain-free and he’s built up to 30 pitches. He’s expected to throw again in the bullpen, which could lead to a brief rehab assignment or reinstatement from the injured list.

It’s all in the timing, how quickly he is deemed ready to face major league hitters. The longer it takes, of course, the more likely that he joins an affiliate. He hasn’t appeared in a game since April 29 and was eligible to return today.

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Hyde on Mullins' slump, Mateo's defense, Kimbrel's role and more (tonight's game postponed)

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Orioles manager Brandon Hyde remains confident that Cedric Mullins will bust out of his slump and contribute more than center field defense.

Mullins is in the lineup again tonight and batting eighth against Blue Jays right-hander Chris Bassitt.

Hyde said again today that Mullins’ glove is too valuable to keep away from the field, no matter what’s happening with him at the plate. He has five hits in his last 57 at-bats.

“I gave him the weekend off and I played him yesterday,” Hyde said. “I’d like for him to get going offensively and when Ced’s being Ced, our lineup completely changes. I know his process is good, I know he’s working the right way. He’s out here hitting early yesterday on the field. I thought the work was really good. I’m hoping that he can get going. But the defense is great. That is definitely a big plus.

“He can impact our lineup when he’s hitting.”

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Orioles lineup vs. Blue Jays in second game of series

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Kyle Stowers and Austin Hays are on the bench for the start of tonight’s game against the Blue Jays, as the Orioles try to avoid their first three-game losing streak.

Colton Cowser is in left field and Ryan O’Hearn is in right.

Cowser is 7-for-54 since hitting a home run off the Angels’ Reid Detmer in the seventh inning of an April 22 game in Anaheim.

Cedric Mullins remains in center field. He grounded out to end last night’s game and is in a 5-for-57 slump.

O’Hearn has reached base in 11 of his last 12 games. He’s hitting .391 with a .783 slugging percentage against breaking balls this season after posting a .232 average and .444 slugging last season, per STATS.

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Because You Asked - Assignment Miami Beach

Cedric Mullins

The current homestand is the longest of the season. I'd like to avoid carrying the heaviest mailbag.

Time again to empty it.

Same rules apply. You ask, I try to answer, sometimes you ask the exact same thing again and I decide whether to indulge you or shatter your hopes and dreams.

Confused by the title? Then you're new here. This is another sequel to the beloved 2008 original. I spend more time researching movie sequel titles and making sure I didn't repeat one than I do answering the mail. And in no way am I proud of it.

My editing is like my knowledge of 17th century literature. It's minimal. Practically non-existent. Style away, my friends. Write as long as you want. It's the internet. It won't break.

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Orioles pushed to extra innings again and lose 3-2 (updated)

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Corbin Burnes is universally liked and respected inside the Orioles clubhouse. Teammates were thrilled by the trade that brought him to Baltimore. They lauded his work ethic in camp. Everything from his routine in the weight room to how he approached bullpen sessions and starts.

Their failure to provide offensive support isn’t personal. More of a weird, quirky coincidence. But it exists.  

The Orioles hadn’t scored with Burnes on the mound in his last 18 1/3 innings, getting shut out twice, until Adley Rutschman led off the fourth tonight by hitting a José Berríos sinker 425 feet to the back of the flag court.

Finally, a run.

Rutschman decided to spoil Burnes, dumping a changeup above the out-of-town scoreboard in the sixth to break a tie, the first multi-homer game of his career. Burnes exited with a lead, with manager Brandon Hyde turning the game over to his bullpen.

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Hyde on Kjerstad: "I’m sure he’ll be back up here soon"

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Heston Kjerstad appeared only seven games with the Orioles and made the lineup four times before they optioned him today to Triple-A Norfolk.

He made 17 plate appearances. They want one of their top prospects to get busy again.

Asked earlier today whether the decision on Kjerstad was motivated by his need to play more, manager Brandon Hyde said, “That’s exactly it.”

“Just the way our outfield configuration is right now, we feel like it was important for him to go play every day, get everyday at-bats. I think this was a good experience for him, to get up here for a couple weeks, get a couple starts, get some pinch-hit opportunities. But just kind of where we are, health-wise, in our outfield, which is pretty strong, we feel like we want him to go play every day. He’s a big part of our future going forward, and somebody we really believe in. I’m sure he’ll be back up here soon.”

Kjerstad was batting .349/.431/.744 with four doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 21 games with Norfolk when the Orioles recalled him. He went 2-for-14 with six strikeouts.

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Hays back with Orioles and McKenna designated for assignment, plus tonight's lineups

hays

The Orioles made a second outfield-related roster move today, reinstating Austin Hays from the 10-day injured list and designating Ryan McKenna for assignment.

McKenna can decline an outright assignment and become a free agent if he clears waivers.

Hays worked out on the field earlier today before the Orioles decided to reinstate him.

Hays and Kyle Stowers are on the bench tonight. Colton Cowser is playing left field and Cedric Mullins is in center after being out of the last two lineups.

Jordan Westburg is the third baseman and Jorge Mateo is at second.

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Orioles recalling Stowers, claim Martin on waivers, plus other notes (updated)

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The Orioles have recalled outfielder Kyle Stowers from Triple-A Norfolk today, according to an industry source. The club hasn’t announced the move.

Stowers hasn’t appeared in a major league game since May 14, 2023, after breaking camp with the Orioles. He’s batting .240/.315/.541 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, 32 RBIs, 13 walks and 44 strikeouts in 165 plate appearances with Norfolk.

A chance to join the expanded September roster last year was ruined after Stowers was hit by a pitch and fractured his nose. He had missed two months with a shoulder injury.

Stowers was 2-for-30 with the Orioles last year, striking out 12 times in 14 games. The former second-round draft pick out of Stanford made his major league debut on June 13, 2022 in Toronto while replacing Anthony Santander, who was put on the restricted list. Stowers returned in August and finished with a .253/.306/.418 line and four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBIs in 34 games.

A spot must open on the roster to accommodate Stowers. And perhaps there are multiple moves pending with Austin Hays eligible to return from the injured list.

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Orioles avoid obstacles to stay atop division

Cowser, Mullins and Santander

A lopsided loss yesterday didn’t knock the Orioles out of first place. They begin a three-game series tonight against the Blue Jays with the best record in the American League.

They are thriving under circumstances that haven’t been ideal. They aren’t catching all of the breaks. They aren’t at a peak health level.

They just find ways to win on most nights.

What are some of the obstacles that they’ve had to clear?

The rotation has stayed unsettled.

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Unearned runs overshadow Kremer's 10 strikeouts in Orioles' 9-2 loss (updated)

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No one in the Orioles rotation has been willing to assist with the difficult task of making room for a sixth starter.

No one has stumbled to the point where an excuse for removal is created. So it’s left to the decision-makers in the organization to figure it out.

Dean Kremer followed his six scoreless innings in Cincinnati by not allowing an earned run today heading into the sixth, with a couple of errors doing more damage than the Diamondbacks.

Three unearned runs already were mountainous against Arizona ace Zac Gallen, and Jake McCarthy’s two-run shot to the flag court in right field was a dagger in the Orioles’ 9-2 loss before an announced Mother’s Day crowd of 31,448 at Camden Yards.

Kremer tied his career high with 10 strikeouts, but he also was charged with a third earned run when Cionel Pérez walked a batter and allowed an infield hit to Corbin Carroll and a two-run single to Ketel Marte.

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Orioles pregame notes on Rodriguez, Means, Mountcastle and injury updates

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Grayson Rodriguez is eligible to return from the injured list on Wednesday and he seems to be trending in the right direction.

Rodriguez said he threw about 30 pitches this morning in his latest bullpen session, about double his amount Wednesday in D.C.

“I felt great,” he said.

Rodriguez said he’ll probably throw another ‘pen in the next few days, and the Orioles can decide whether he should go on a brief rehab assignment.

The right-hander’s preference, of course, is to get back on the active roster.

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Cowser stays in center field for today's series finale

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The Orioles are going for the sweep today against the Diamondbacks and trying to improve on a 26-12 record that matches the 1969 and 1970 teams for the best 38-game start in franchise history.

Cedric Mullins is on the bench again today. He struck out yesterday as a pinch-hitter and is 5-for-53 since his two-hit day in Kansas City on April 21.

Colton Cowser gets another start in center field. Ryan O’Hearn is in left after Heston Kjerstad started there yesterday.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman.

Jordan Westburg is playing second base after yesterday’s walk-off single in the 11th inning. Westburg has doubled in three consecutive games, and his four-hit game yesterday was the first of his career and the first this season by an Orioles player.

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Quick Q&A with Dylan Bundy

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Dylan Bundy picked up a baseball and couldn’t make it zip like the old days. Couldn't come close. And he knew it was time.

The former top prospect’s pitching career was over.

Bundy made 29 starts with the Twins in 2022 and six last summer with Triple-A Syracuse in the Mets organization. They released him on July 24, and the next phase of his professional life slowly began to take shape.

The retirement papers were filed over the winter, around the same time that Bundy got his realtor’s license. He’s still living in Sperry, Okla., where he bought a house next to the one he grew up in, is working for Ary Land Company and he also offers pitching and hitting instruction to stay involved in the sport.

Bundy and his wife Caitlin also became first-time parents, bringing their son Koda into the world on Feb. 11.

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Jordan Westburg walk-off single gives Orioles 5-4 win in 11 innings (updated)

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The late-inning bullpen decisions today by the Orioles were lacking in intrigue and excitement. Nothing about the closer. Nothing about protecting a lead. The top story angle also was being reset.

And then, the threat arrived when Anthony Santander hit a home run with two outs in the eighth inning to tie the game. Perhaps there was hope for hysteria after all.  

The movements and usages of the relievers were back to being Baltimore obsessions, but the Orioles didn’t let the game carry to a save situation. Better to just walk it off and win the series.

The Orioles fell behind in the fifth inning before Santander’s 410-foot shot to center off Diamondbacks reliever Kevin Ginkel, and Jordan Westburg poked a single down the right field line on Bryce Jarvis' first pitch of the 11th to score Colton Cowser in a 5-4 victory before an announced crowd of 27,882 at Camden Yards.

Danny Coulombe retired the three batters he faced without the automatic runner budging from second base, Craig Kimbrel hit Christian Walker but stranded runners on the corners in the 11th with a strikeout and force play, and the Orioles improved to 26-12.

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