Orioles make roster moves

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled LHP Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Placed RHP Jacob Webb on the Paternity List.
  • Placed RHP Kyle Bradish on the 15-day Injured List with a right UCL sprain, retroactive to March 25.
  • Placed LHP John Means on the 15-day Injured List with a left forearm strain, retroactive to March 25.
  • Designated OF Ryan McKenna and INF/OF Tyler Nevin for assignment.
  • Placed C Michael Pérez on the Major League Taxi Squad.

The Orioles’ 40-man roster currently has 38 players.

 

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Orioles set 2024 Opening Day roster

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The Orioles today announced the club’s 2024 Opening Day roster. The 26-man roster includes:

 

RIGHT-HANDED PITCHERS (8)

Mike Baumann

Corbin Burnes

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Burnes gets the ball as the 2024 baseball season begins in Baltimore

Corbin Burnes

With all due respect to recent O’s Opening Day starting pitchers like Andrew Cashner and Tommy Milone and even Kyle Gibson from last year, this year’s starter has a resume that most O’s starters in recent years can’t touch.

Right-hander Corbin Burnes was 10-8 with a 3.39 ERA last season for Milwaukee. He won the 2021 National League Cy Young Award. Today he becomes the first previous Cy Young winner to start an opener for the Orioles since Pat Hentgen in 2001. He was AL Cy Young winner with Toronto in 1996.

Burnes said this week, which is probably pretty obvious – a regular season start is very different from one in March.

“How I prepare for a big league start, has already started, been going for a couple of days now,” he said Tuesday in the Baltimore clubhouse. “A spring training start, you kind of see the lineup about an hour before the game and you just go out and pitch it. So, now that we know who we are going to see, we can game plan a little bit. The focus isn’t on anything about how you are doing mechanically or how the ball feels, it’s going out and getting as many outs as you can that day. The mentality is definitely different.”

Burnes is pleased with a spring training that he felt checked all the boxes – from getting his various pitches ready, to building up his pitch count, to getting to know his new teammates.

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Orioles announce 2024 Opening Day celebrations

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The Orioles today announced plans to welcome fans back to Oriole Park for the 2024 season during Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on Thursday, March 28, at 3:05 p.m. ET against the Los Angeles Angels.

Festivities will begin by 2:30 p.­m. with a special pre-game ceremony emceed by Orioles broadcaster KEVIN BROWN. Opening Day celebrations will feature:

  • National Anthem: The MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY CHOIR will perform the national anthem from the sod farm prior to the game. A soloist from the choir will also perform "God Bless America" from on top of the Orioles dugout during the seventh inning.
  • Moment of Silence: The Orioles will hold a special moment of silence following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, honoring the victims and their families and sharing an appreciation for our city’s brave first responders who immediately stepped into action.

  • Flag Drop: A 30’ x 42’ flag from Fort McHenry will be l­­­owered from the batter’s eye during the national anthem performance. The flag is a replica of the one that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner. Individuals supported by The Arc Baltimore will help unfurl the American flag. The Arc Baltimore supports people with developmental disabilities to lead fulfilling lives with a sense of belonging, purpose, and meaningful relationships.

  • Honor Guard: Colors will be presented by members of THE BALTIMORE CITY POLICE HONOR GUARD and BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT HONOR GUARD.

  • Flag Kids: Children from the YMCA of Central Maryland will line the orange carpet, holding Orioles flags during the pregame ceremony.

  • Ceremonial First Pitch: As an ode to DAVID RUBENSTEIN, whose father was a postal worker, the Orioles will welcome AUBREE SINGLETARY, the child of a Baltimore City postal worker, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. National Baseball Hall of Famer and member of the new ownership group, CAL RIPKEN, JR., will catch the pitch. Singletary is a fourth-grade student at Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School, where the Orioles will provide community support all year long.

  • Mo Gaba’s Fan of the Year: The Orioles will recognize 9-year-old CARTER as the Mo Gaba Fan of the Year. A third-grade student at Timonium Elementary School, Carter was one of the first Orioles fans whom DAVID RUBENSTEIN met while Carter and his mother, Laurie, were shopping at the Orioles Team Store on Monday, March 4. That serendipitous meeting occurred when Carter and his mother took a spontaneous trip to the Team Store, with the opportunity for Carter to pick out any Orioles jersey of his choosing. Now Carter, who plays travel baseball for the Carroll Manor Cardinals, will line up alongside some of his favorite Orioles, including Gunnar Henderson, Cedric Mullins, and Adley Rutschman.

  • Ceremonial “Play Ball”: Representatives of the new ownership group, including DAVID RUBENSTEINMICHAEL AROUGHETIMITCHELL GOLDSTEIN, and MICHAEL SMITH, will yell the ceremonial “Play Ball” prior to the game, ushering in a new chapter of Orioles baseball.

  • Birdland Community Hero, presented by BGE: Again this year, the Orioles will honor and recognize those in our community who have distinguished themselves by selflessly volunteering in fields that care for, serve, teach, protect, and improve the lives of others through the Birdland Community Heroes program, presented by BGE. On Thursday, the Orioles will recognize SARA ARTES, volunteer Executive Director of Corner Team, Inc., an organization that she co-founded in 2017 to establish a safe space for her community’s sports, education, and leadership development. As Executive Director, she oversees a small group of part-time staff and a robust volunteer team. The organization impacts over 300 youth and families annually through boxing and fitness classes, enrichment programs, community service, and academic and mentorship initiatives. As part of her recognition the Orioles Charitable Foundation will make a $5,000 donation to Corner Team, Inc.

  • Budweiser Clydesdales: The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will parade from Lot C to Camden Street from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Giveaway: All fans in attendance will receive an Orioles rally towel.

  • Opening Day Auction: Fans will have the opportunity to bid on game-used memorabilia from Opening Day to benefit the Orioles Charitable Foundation and special causes such as maternal health equity, military programs, Birdland Community Heroes, youth baseball and softball, and adopt-a-school. The auction will run on Orioles.com/Auction from Thursday, March 28, at 12 p.m. through Sunday, April 7, at 10 p.m. 

For information and reminders on accommodations at Oriole Park, visit Orioles.com/AtoZ.

The gates to Oriole Park at Camden Yards will open three hours before first pitch, at 12:00 p.m. Parking lots will open at 11:00 a.m. Fans attending Opening Day are encouraged to be in their seats, and fans at home are encouraged to tune to MASN, by 2:20 p.m. to enjoy the Opening Day pregame festivities.

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Rubenstein voted in as Orioles control person

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Ownership of the Baltimore Orioles has officially changed hands.

Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously today, as expected, on David Rubenstein’s purchase of the team two months after the wheels were set in motion. And about 24 hours before the Orioles begin their pursuit of a second consecutive playoff berth.

Camden Yards will be packed on Thursday for Opening Day. Rubenstein will be watching as the control person.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I thank the Angelos family for their many years of service to the game and the communities of Baltimore,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.” Peter Angelos loved Baseball, loved Baltimore and was an important part of MLB for more than three decades.

“I congratulate David Rubenstein on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs as the new control person of the Orioles.  As a Baltimore native and a lifelong fan of the team, David is uniquely suited to lead the Orioles moving forward.  We welcome David and his partners as the new stewards of the franchise.” 

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Major League Baseball fully approved sale of control stake in Baltimore Orioles to Baltimore Native David Rubenstein

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Rubenstein: Our eyes are on returning a World Series trophy to Baltimore 

Baltimore, MD – Major League Baseball owners today unanimously approved the sale of the Baltimore Orioles to a group led by DAVID RUBENSTEIN.

Rubenstein, who announced his intent to buy the controlling stake of the Orioles from the Angelos family in January, leads a diverse investor group, which includes MICHAEL AROUGHETI, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ares Management, MITCHELL GOLDSTEIN, and MICHAEL SMITH, Co-Heads of the Ares Management Credit Group (together joint owners of Charm City Sports Partners, LLC).

Subject to obtaining Major League Baseball approval, it is anticipated that the following will become part of the Orioles ownership group: 

CAL RIPKEN, JR., Orioles legend and National Baseball Hall of Fame Member
MICHELE KANG, businesswoman and owner of the Washington Spirit
THE HON. KURT SCHMOKE, former Baltimore Mayor
GRANT HILL, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer
THE HON. MIKE BLOOMBERG, business leader and philanthropist
BILL MILLER, investor, philanthropist, and lifelong Orioles fan
RICK RIEDER, business leader and lifelong Orioles fan
GREG BARONI, business leader and lifelong Orioles fan
STAN, ALLISON & ALBERT CHEN, business leaders and lifelong Orioles fans
KATE RAMSDELL, lifelong Orioles fan
LAUREN TABAK FASS, attorney and philanthropist
JASON REESE, business leader 

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Jordan Westburg on what it's like to wait for your chance while at Triple-A

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If there is one player on the current O’s roster that can tell the young group of talented players that will begin this new season at Triple-A instead of in the majors, how tough that can be, it is infielder Jordan Westburg.

Westburg, over the 2022 and 2023 seasons, had 714 plate appearances at Triple-A Norfolk and hit .283/.366/.533/.899.

After batting .274/.361/.508/.869 in 91 games during the 2022 season at Triple-A, he was a top 100 prospect heading into last season. Yet he didn’t begin the year in Baltimore. And he didn’t go back to Norfolk for just for a few games or a homestand or two. He didn’t debut with the Orioles until last June 26.

It was a long wait for him, but worth it to finally get to the majors and he was on the O’s playoff roster last October, playing all three games versus Texas.

But he indeed had a lengthy wait. He said in the Baltimore clubhouse yesterday that he hopes the group that was sent to the minors recently – to include Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Heston Kjerstad, Connor Norby and Kyle Stowers - can look at him as someone who had a long wait to get there. But then ran with his chance when it finally came.

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Orioles sign Kemp to big league contract, designate Maton

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The Orioles today announced that they have signed infielder/outfielder TONY KEMP to a 2024 Major League contract.

Kemp, 32, appeared in eight Cactus League games with Cincinnati after signing as a minor league free agent with an invite to MLB Spring Training on February 24, slashing .333/.391/.619 (7-for-21) with one double, one triple, one homer, two runs scored, five RBI, and two walks. He spent all of last season with Oakland, batting .209/.303/.304 (75-for-359) with 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 42 runs scored, 27 RBI, 44 walks, six hit-by-pitches, and a career-high 15 stolen bases in 124 games for the Athletics. Kemp appeared in 65 games (53 starts) in left field and 57 (46 starts) at second base for the A’s in 2023.

A native of Franklin, Tenn., Kemp has appeared in 734 games with Houston, Chicago-NL, and Oakland while slashing a combined .238/.325/.352 (460-for-1936) with 87 doubles, 15 triples, 35 home runs, 261 runs scored, 184 RBI, 226 walks, 33 hit-by-pitches, and 53 stolen bases. The Cubs acquired him from the Astros in exchange for catcher Martín Maldonado on July 31, 2019, and Chicago sent him to the A’s in exchange for infielder/outfielder Alfonso Rivas on January 13, 2020. During his eight MLB seasons, Kemp has appeared defensively at all three outfield spots, as well as second base and shortstop. He was originally selected by Houston in the fifth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt University (TN). 

To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder/outfielder NICK MATON has been designated for assignment. The Orioles’ 40-man roster currently has 40 players.

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A few reasons the O's can repeat as division champs and a few why they may not

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It has been 50 years and that is probably long enough. The 1974 season ended with the Orioles in first place winning 91 games and the AL East. They won the AL East a year earlier too with 97 victories.

And 1974 is the last time they won the AL East in back-to-back years. Now, 50 years later, can they do it again?

Three reasons they could repeat.

Star power: Led by Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson the team has a talented duo that are both not only team leaders and big talents but are MVP candidates. They are indeed that good.

For the first time since 2001, the Orioles have a pitcher in their rotation that joined them after winning a Cy Young Award with another club. This is the fifth time this has happened per Elias Sports Bureau and previously involved Pat Hentgen, Doug Drabek, Fernando Valenzuela and Rick Sutcliffe. Hentgen was most recent to do this in 2001 until now when the Birds have 2021 NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes fronting their rotation.

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After ROY season, can Gunnar Henderson still elevate his game?

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For the Orioles and their fans, there must be both comfort and excitement in knowing that one of their best players is just 22 years old and might be about to get better.

Gunnar Henderson had a big spring – batting .417 and hitting a tape-measure homer Sunday - and now seems poised to have an even bigger year than last season with Opening Day now days away.

He won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2023 after batting .255/.325/.489/.814 with 29 doubles, nine triples, 28 homers, 100 runs and 82 RBIs.

He finished second in the AL in triples, sixth in runs, 11th in slugging and tied for 15th in OPS. He was eighth in the league MVP voting.

After a slow start last season, he produced an OPS of .849 his last 117 games.

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RHP Heasley optioned

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The Orioles have made the following roster move:

  • Optioned RHP Jonathan Heasley to minor league camp after today’s game.

The Orioles’ Spring Training roster currently has 32 players (30+1 NRI+1 IL).

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Baker optioned; Teheran, Wong released

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves: 

  • Optioned RHP Bryan Baker to minor league camp.
  • Reassigned C Maverick Handley and LHP Andrew Suárez to minor league camp.
  • Granted RHP Julio Teheran and INF Kolten Wong their release. 

The Orioles’ Spring Training roster currently has 33 players (31+1 NRI+1 IL).

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Burnes: "Overall, great spot and looking forward to Thursday” (O's win 3-2)

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The final exhibition start for Corbin Burnes was more of a tune-up for Opening Day. Get a few more innings and pitches under his belt and get him out of Florida healthy.

Burnes worked 5 1/3 innings tonight before Tyler Wells replaced him, allowing two runs (one earned) and five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He totaled 57 pitches, 44 for strikes in his fifth spring training appearance, and did more throwing in the bullpen.

Other work in camp was done on the back fields. Not everything that happens is for public viewing.

Burnes finishes with a 6.75 ERA in 16 innings.

“We’re in a great spot,” he said. “We were kind of at the point early on where we were trying to find the cutter a little bit, just the command of it. Off-speed stuff’s been great the whole camp, which usually comes pretty quickly for me. The last thing is as you kind of ramp up throwing, it’s all about finding the cutter and we did the last two, which has been really good.”

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Hyde on Suárez, Teheran, Kjerstad, McCann and more

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Julio Teheran tossed four scoreless innings today in a split-squad game against the Rays in Port Charlotte, allowing only one hit in a final bid to make the club.

Teheran is opting out of his contract and the Orioles must decide by Sunday whether to put him on the 26-man roster or let him go. In the meantime, his locker is cleaned out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex, with only a folding chair inside of it.

Reliever Andrew Suárez’s locker is in the same condition. He wasn’t on the list of yesterday’s roster cuts.

“I think right now he’s in a little bit of limbo and we’re just kind of holding off on him right now and kind of waiting to see what happens,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Asked about Teheran, Hyde said, “He’s in that boat, too, where we’re just kind of waiting to see.”

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Remembering time spent with Peter G. Angelos upon his passing

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The dates and maybe even the actual years they occurred all seem to run together now. But I think it was sometime during the year 1999 that I first met and had lunch with Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos.

At one point he said to me, "How is your sandwich?"

I said, "Really good, thanks." He asked more questions about how I felt about the restaurant (I don’t even remember which one now) and the food. I answered further. He paused a few seconds and then said, "Good, just checking. I bought this place last week."

All I could think to say was, "Good pickup for you, sir."

Over the next four years or so as sports director of the O’s flagship radio station WBAL Radio, I would get to know the man better and had several meetings with him each season at his Charles Street law offices.

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Long-time Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos passes away at age 94

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Peter G. Angelos, the longtime Orioles owner, famed class-action attorney and political activist in the city of Baltimore, died earlier today. He was 94.

Angelos has been in poor healthy for many years, with son John taking control of the team and running the daily operations in 2018.

The club issued a statement on behalf of the Angelos family that read:

“Today, Peter G. Angelos passed away quietly at the age of 94. Mr. Angelos had been ill for several years, and the family thanks the doctors, nurses and caregivers who brought comfort to him in his final years. It was Mr. Angelos’ wish to have a private burial, and the family asks for understanding as they honor that request. Donations may be sent to charity in lieu of flowers.”

According to a lawsuit involving his sons in 2022, Angelos had surgery after his aortic valve failed in 2017.

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A statement from the Angelos family

Peter Angelos

Today, Peter G. Angelos passed away quietly at the age of 94. Mr. Angelos had been ill for several years, and the family thanks the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who brought comfort to him in his final years. It was Mr. Angelos' wish to have a private burial, and the family asks for understanding as they honor that request. Donations may be sent to charity in lieu of flowers.

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Orioles lineup vs. Blue Jays in Sarasota

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SARASOTA, Fla. – Last night’s cancellation has moved Corbin Burnes into tonight’s starting role against the Blue Jays in Sarasota and put Tyler Wells in the bullpen behind him.

Burnes has allowed 11 earned runs (12 total) and 14 hits in 10 2/3 innings and surrendered five home runs in his five outings. His next start after tonight comes on Opening Day.

Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop tonight, Jorge Mateo is the second baseman and Ramón Urías is the third baseman for the split-squad Orioles. Adley Rutschman is catching.

Ryan Mountcastle is the designated hitter with Ryan O’Hearn playing first base.

The outfield alignment is the one usually expected from the Orioles: Austin Hays in left, Cedric Mullins in center and Anthony Santander in right.

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The Jackson Holliday news headlined a day of some O's roster clarity

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As it turns out the bigger surprise may have come during the Winter Meetings in Nashville in December. For anyone then pondering whether Jackson Holliday could make the O's Opening Day roster after just 18 Triple-A games (22 counting playoffs), there was logic and reason to say that that was just too few. 

The kid could use more seasoning.

So reporters might have expected Mike Elias to say something like sure they love the kid, he’s a remarkable talent and they’ll take a long look in spring training.

Instead, he raised a few eyebrows when he stated he was “a very strong possibility” to make the OD roster.

But, after all that and Holliday at age 20 having a strong spring camp, he will not make it. Surprised again. I was anyway, speaking for one.

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More thoughts on Holliday's reassignment and some unexpected spring developments (lineup vs. Rays)

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SARASOTA, Fla. – To say that Jackson Holliday’s exclusion from the Opening Day roster is a stunning development wouldn’t be accurate. I felt like I kept advising people to brace for bad news, that it wasn’t a sure thing.

It ain’t on ‘till it’s on.

I gave Holliday less than a 50 percent chance before the Winter Meetings, jumped into the 60-70 percent range while flying out of Nashville, and came back down as Holliday’s strikeouts rose.

The improved at-bats and overall impressive play moved me again, but never to the point of feeling secure in his placement on a mock roster. I straddled that fence until it left permanent marks. Take my word for it.

One reason for my hesitancy in thinking that Holliday would be in Baltimore March 28 is how it went against the club’s usual cautious and deliberate handling of a top prospect in making the jump from Triple-A to the majors. This isn’t new. Or have we forgotten the Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson watches?

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