Orioles option Vespi, Hays update, tonight's lineups

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles optioned left-handed reliever Nick Vespi to minor league camp this afternoon. The major league camp roster is down to 45 players.

Vespi is the second southpaw pitcher in two days to be sent down, following Bruce Zimmermann yesterday morning.

Vespi had a solid showing until allowing three runs and three hits yesterday in 1 1/3 innings in Dundedin. The Blue Jays’ Daulton Varsho hit a two-run homer.

The final spring total for Vespi is five runs and seven hits in 8 1/3 innings. He walked one batter and struck out 12, and opponents batted .219.

“We obviously have a lot more (cuts) to go,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

“Nick had a great camp, threw the ball really well for us. But we’re trimming the camp down and we feel good about him being a depth option for us in Triple-A.

Danny Coulombe and Cionel Pérez are two left-handed locks to make the club, and Keegan Akin has emerged as a favorite to also head north. The battle for the last few bullpen spots has gotten intense.

“(Vespi) has done some good things for us over the last couple years and pitched really well in Triple-A,” Hyde said. “It’s just a numbers game right now, where we are. But we expect to see him sometime in Baltimore.”

Hyde said he hasn’t told any players that they’ve made the team.

Ryan Mountcastle has resurfaced in the Orioles’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Phillies in Sarasota.

Mountcastle hasn’t played since March 12 due to neck stiffness. He took live batting practice yesterday and was cleared to return.

Austin Hays also didn’t make the trip to Dunedin yesterday and he isn’t in tonight’s lineup. He hasn't played since March 14.

Hays was battling a stomach virus and said today that he’s much better and could play Friday night in Sarasota. He might be spared Thursday’s trip to Fort Myers.

“I was trying to get my weight back up, make sure I’m nice and hydrated, make sure my body’s ready to go out there and play before I get back in there,” he said.

Missed games won’t hurt Hays as he readies for Opening Day. He’s appeared in 10 and is 4-for-25, and he’s also received lots of at-bats in live batting practice sessions.

“If you include the lives, I’ve probably had 60 or 70,” he said. “We were getting a ton of minor league guys coming over throwing for us, so I feel like I have plenty of at-bats up to this point. It’s just a matter of getting hydrated, getting my weight back and making sure I’m ready physically now. Make sure we’re good.”

Jordan Westburg is fine after being hit yesterday in the left triceps, but he isn’t in tonight’s lineup. Ramón Urías is the third baseman and Jorge Mateo is playing second.

Jackson Holliday also gets a break after homering yesterday. Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop.

Dean Kremer is making his fifth and final spring start. He’s allowed six runs and 12 hits in 12 1/3 innings, with four walks and 11 strikeouts.

For the Orioles

Cedric Mullins CF
Adley Rutschman C
Gunnar Henderson SS
Anthony Santander RF
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Ryan O’Hearn DH
Ramón Urías 3B
Jorge Mateo 2B
Ryan McKenna LF

Dean Kremer RHP

For the Phillies

Kyle Schwarber DH
Trea Turner SS
Bryson Stott 2B
Brandon Marsh LF
Jordan Luplow 1B
Garrett Stubbs C
Jake Cave RF
Cristian Pache CF
Kody Clemens 3B

Taijuan Walker RHP

The game airs on MASN.

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