Hector Velázquez prepping for Orioles debut

DUNEDIN, Fla. - Hector Velázquez isn’t quite set to make his Orioles debut.

Maybe it comes over the weekend.

Velazquez-Throws-Red-Sox-Sidebar.jpgThe reliever anticipates a second bullpen session before he’s cleared to pitch in a game for the Orioles, who claimed him off waivers from the Red Sox earlier this week. He’s waiting for manager Brandon Hyde to give him more information.

“I think that I’m going to need to throw one more bullpen,” he said through interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “After that, the manager is going to decide when I’m going to be ready to throw in a game.”

Velázquez has one minor league option remaining and can be sent down if he isn’t able to compete for a bullpen spot. The Orioles want to consider him for a long-relief role, his ability to cover multiple innings leading them to put in the waiver claim.

“My reaction was I was very happy to be here, very thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “This is a scenario which I think is, take advantage of this and try to show them that I can compete and earn a spot.

“I’m willing to work hard. The main thing is for me to help my team win as many games as possible. As a baseball player, that’s what we all strive to do, so hopefully we do that.”

The Red Sox used Velázquez as an opener and for multiple-inning and one-inning stints over parts of three seasons. He worked 5 1/3, five and four innings (twice) in 2017, topped out at 5 2/3 in 2018 and didn’t exceed five in 2019.

Velázquez made eight appearances in September and didn’t work more than two innings.

“As a pitcher, you have to be ready in any situation,” he said. “Before coming here to the States in Mexico I was a starter my whole life. Then I came here and was used in the bullpen, as an opener, as a long reliever. I just want to do well whenever my name is called.”

Relievers listed today behind starter Thomas Eshelman include Mychal Givens, Hunter Harvey, David Hess and Eric Hanhold.

The travel roster includes minor league pitchers Jay Flaa, Brian Gonzalez, Isaac Mattson and César Valdez, catcher Brett Cumberland, infielders Malquin Canelo, Mason McCoy and Darell Hernaiz and outfielders Mason Janvrin, Kyle Stowers, T.J. Nichting and Zach Jarrett.

Upcoming Orioles starters:
Alex Cobb versus the Twins Thursday night in Fort Myers.
Asher Wojciechowski Friday afternoon versus the Blue Jays in Sarasota.
Wade LeBlanc Saturday night versus the Pirates in Sarasota.

For the Blue Jays
Bo Bichette SS
Jonathan Davis CF
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Randal Grichuk DH
Danny Jansen C
Billy McKinney RF
Brandon Drury 1B
Rubén Tejada 2B

Chase Anderson RHP

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