Winter Meetings leftovers for breakfast

Dillon Tate black jersey

NASHVILLE – The question almost made Mike Elias recoil.

How does the Orioles’ executive vice president/general manager view the state of his rotation with its improved depth and the potential influence on trade and free agent negotiations?

“I definitely don’t like to talk about starting pitcher depth with the baseball gods always within earshot,” Elias replied.

He assumed the risk and kept going. Can’t always play it safe.

“We’ve got a decent group that’s returning,” he said. “A lot of successes last year. We feel pretty good about some of the numbers that we had. But I think 30 of these suites right now, there’s teams talking about, we’re out looking for pitching and pitching depth. So, it’s a very competitive market.

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Reviewing Orioles roster and rotation after road trip


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The roster churn slowed yesterday for the Orioles, who stuck with the same 26 players to close out their road trip. They made it through nine innings without an injury. The flu-like symptoms that have swept through the clubhouse apparently didn’t claim a new victim.

A win achieved on a day that they lost.

At least four players were impacted – Austin Hays, Gunnar Henderson, Danny Coulombe and Keegan Akin – and others might have been ill. The Orioles don’t invite media into the trainers’ room or share dehydration data.

Seven players remain on the injured list, but Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle began their injury rehab assignments last night with Triple-A Norfolk after Tuesday’s rainout in Nashville. Reliever Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate pitched.

Mullins started in center field went 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, and Mountcastle played first base and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Mountcastle also committed a fielding error.

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Looking at Orioles' upcoming schedule, rotation and bullpen

Yennier Cano

The Orioles are off again today before beginning a stretch of 10 games in a row, the next six at home against the Tigers and Red Sox. They’ve gone 6-0 in series openers.

If you’re wondering why the Orioles have two off-days as bookends to a two-game series in D.C., you aren’t alone. I’m sure they’d prefer having those breaks spread out.

The timing is unexpectedly good, though, with shortstop Jorge Mateo day-to-day with right hip discomfort.

Detroit won five in a row before yesterday’s loss to the Guardians. The Orioles and Tigers also meet in a four-game series at Comerica Park beginning on April 27.

This is still viewed as the “soft spot” in the schedule, which began after the Yankees left town. The Orioles won three of four from the Athletics and two of three from the White Sox, and swept the Nationals in their two-game set.

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A look at Heston Kjerstad's start for Double-A Bowie (plus O's notes, roster move)

kjerstad picture day

Once Heston Kjerstad started hitting, he didn’t stop.

The No. 2 overall pick by the Orioles out of Arkansas in the 2020 MLB Draft, a player that went 27 months between his last college game and first pro game, he has been making up for lost time since late last season.

The myocarditis diagnosis he dealt with kept him on the sidelines for a long time and it took him time last year – he played his first game for Low Single-A Delmarva on June 10 – to get his stroke back. But now it is back with full force.

He was starting to really swing it late last season for High-A Aberdeen, then was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League. In the first O’s spring training game in March, he homered twice and then he went on to produce an OPS of 1.219 in big league spring training. And now Kjerstad, 24, has quickly, become a handful for Double-A Eastern League pitchers.

“Really, really exciting,” Bowie manager Kyle Moore told me Friday at Prince George’s Stadium. “Got off to the same start that he did in spring training and as he did in the Fall League. It carried over. He looks like a middle of the lineup big league bat. Knows the strike zone as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. That’s exciting.”

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Orioles encouraged by Bradish's start in Bowie, Watkins ready for long relief role

bradish pitch white

CHICAGO – The Orioles received positive news on Kyle Bradish’s rehab start last night at Double-A Bowie.

His right foot felt good.

The rest is just numbers, some more favorable than others.

Bradish threw 82 pitches in five innings, so he’s stretched out. He allowed four runs (three earned) and three hits with one walk, five strikeouts and a home run. All of Akron’s scoring came in the fourth.

The Orioles could activate Bradish from the 15-day injured list on Wednesday and give him the start in D.C.

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