Means now listed as Friday night’s starter in Tampa

CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Orioles have adjusted their spring starters this week, listing left-hander John Means to start Friday night’s split-squad game against the Yankees in Tampa.

Nate Karns had been the listed starter, with Alex Cobb pitching in the day game against the Rays at Ed Smith Stadium. However, Karns no longer is slated to face the Yankees.

Mike Wright is starting Saturday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. No starters are listed for Sunday against the Tigers in Sarasota or Monday against the Twins in Fort Myers.

Karns worked 1 2/3 innings in his debut Monday afternoon against the Twins and allowed two earned runs (three total) on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He told the media afterward that he felt good physically.

Karns-Throws-Royals-Sidebar.jpg“Definitely been a minute since I’ve been out there so I had a little bit of adrenaline going, but at the same time it was nice to kind of get out there and just compete, see what I have against the other team,” Karns said. “I got some feedback and we’re going to go back in between starts and get back to work.”

Karns threw all of his pitches - changeup, curveball, fastball, two-seams - while trying to secure the fourth spot in the rotation.

Means worked in relief Tuesday against the Rays and was charged with three runs in a third of an inning.

Hunter Harvey pitched an inning in relief Monday and said he’s scheduled for another inning Friday afternoon against the Rays.

The Orioles brought pitchers Lucas Long, Tyler Erwin, Diogenes Almengo and Luis Ysla and infielder Mason McCoy from minor league camp for today’s game.

Chris Davis packed his LUNGevity T-shirt before driving to Clearwater, his way of honoring former public relations director Monica Pence Barlow, who passed away five years ago today.

Reliever Zach Pop stayed back in Sarasota, still shut down since his velocity declined while he worked the ninth inning of Saturday’s game. His fastball was mid-to-upper 80s, raising some concerns in the organization, but manager Brandon Hyde said the club is ready to “ramp up” Pop’s activity.

“Get back to throwing, get back on the mound and get in the games,” he said this morning.

Pop, acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, said he should be pitching again “relatively soon.”

“I know they’ve been slower because of, it’s spring training and there’s no reason to push anything,” he said. “But I’ve been ready to go and I’m excited to get back in the game, really.”

Hyde blamed fatigue for the Pop’s sluggish fastball, which has touched 99 mph.

“I wasn’t rearing back and it was probably a little bit of soreness that carried over from live BP and stuff,” Pop said. “Being cautious with that going into the game and that was probably it. We took a look at it, and it was nothing serious and decided to just rest it and do it safely.”

Pop said he didn’t undergo any tests on his shoulder or arm. No X-rays or MRIs.

“It was just simple stuff like, ‘Hey, you’re sore, let’s just rest it up. Don’t need to push anything,’” he said.

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