SARASOTA, Fla. - With the blister on his right middle finger healed, Orioles pitcher Asher Wojciechowski will start Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Braves in Sarasota rather than be confined to simulated action on a back field.
The live hitters will play for an actual opponent.
Wojciechowski arrived at the complex this morning expecting to have his debut start pushed back, but manager Brandon Hyde announced a change in plans.
“That was just in the last hour,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann will follow Wojciechowski after being told that he’d get the start.
Zimmermann figures to begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk, where he made seven starts after posting a 2.58 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 18 games with Double-A Bowie. He turned 25 earlier this month and has elevated his stature in the organization since the Orioles acquired him from the Braves in the Kevin Gausman/Darren O’Day trade.
“I haven’t seen much, just a couple live BPs,” Hyde said. “He’s got good stuff. I think the fastball’s got some life, I like the breaking ball. I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a game situation against a different jersey.
“Pitched really well in Double-A, had some rough outings a little bit in his brief Triple-A time. Sounds like there was a lot of bad luck there, also. But I think he’s shown really good stuff here and looking forward to watching him pitch tomorrow.”
Cedric Mullins stole his third base yesterday in three games. No one else on the club has swiped a bag.
Mullins, who got a huge jump on former Orioles pitcher Bud Norris and went in standing, is 2-for-6 with two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. He was 8-for-53 (.151) last spring and 6-for-64 (.094) before the Orioles optioned him.
“It’s just a couple games but I love the aggressiveness on the bases that he’s showing,” Hyde said. “Dirt ball read (Sunday), stolen base. I just want him to be aggressive. I like how he’s taking control of the outfield better. He’s made a little bit of adjustments in his swing from both sides. It’s starting to show up a little bit. So he’s making good strides.
“I want him to be aggressive and come out of his shell. I want him to play with confidence and so far he’s done that.”
Austin Hays keeps finding his name in the leadoff spot when he’s in the lineup. Hyde is going to consider him for the role, but warns against reading too much into February batting orders.
“It’s still really early for me,” he said. “So many things can happen in the next month. But what he showed in September, the at-bats he showed in big league camp last year, the at-bats he showed in September, what he’s doing so far, you would love ... You want a high on-base guy at the top of the order. If you can mix in a little bit of speed and some power also, that’s great, and Austin has all three of those. I think he’s a good candidate to be considered up at the top.”
Kohl Stewart hasn’t been cleared to pitch due to a sore right biceps muscle.
“He’s playing catch today or tomorrow and we’ll see how it feels,” Hyde said.
The following players made the trip from minor league camp: pitchers Jay Flaa and Francisco Jimenez; catcher Maverick Handley; infielders Ryan Ripken, Adam Hall and Andrew Daschbach; and outfielder Mason Janvrin.
For the Rays
Austin Meadows LF
Mike Zunino C
José Martínez 1B
Brandon Lowe 2B
Daniel Robertson SS
Nate Lowe DH
Ryan LaMarre CF
Dylan Cozens RF
Michael Brosseau 3B
Charlie Morton RHP