One of the players signed by the Orioles as an undrafted player is a two-way talent.
They already know how they’re going to develop him in the minors, but it’s nice to have options.
Isaiah Kearns of Pittsburgh-Johnstown is listed as a right-handed pitcher and left fielder. He put up impressive numbers across the board in 2020 prior to the shutdown, slashing .400/.507/.764 with eight doubles, four home runs, 17 RBIs, nine walks and 15 runs scored in 17 games and going 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA, 0.716 WHIP, four walks and 27 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings over four starts.
I’m told that the Orioles view Kearns as a pitcher.
Kearns, 22, could throw at extended spring training if such a thing exists.
“He is a great young man who has worked hard to reach his goal of signing professionally in baseball,” head coach Todd Williams said in a statement issued by the school. “Isaiah is an extremely talented athlete who can play multiple positions on the field and is one of the best all-around players that we have had in our program.”
It was fleeting. Kearns transferred from West Virginia University before the 2020 season.
“We would have loved to see how the last 30 games would have turned out,” Williams said.
In case you’re wondering, this isn’t the same Todd Williams who pitched for the Orioles.
* The Orioles have done a fine job keeping their players and staff engaged through the shutdown. Workouts are plotted and tracked. The bonding process has carried on through video.
Reach out and Zoom someone.
The tactics seep through the organization. The minor league side isn’t excluded and its involvement is critical with the season on hold until 2021.
“They keep us busy,” said Tom Eller, who moved up this year from short-season Aberdeen to Single-A Frederick as hitting coach.
“Because of the new management in the organization, we’ve been constantly setting up all of our stuff for getting prepared for the seasons to come. Whether it’s our analytic stuff or just our manuals and things like that. And we’ve constantly been in contact with our players. We’re in contact like once a week.
“We’re doing book clubs, we’ve got Spanish lessons going on. We’ve got all kinds of stuff going on. They keep us super busy. It’s really good for the organization.”
* Players are working out at home, at nearby fields or in facilities that open to them. Pitchers are calling upon spouses, girlfriends and friends to assist in their workouts.
Left-hander John Means posted a tweet with wife Caroline taking some swings against him. She’s doing her part to get him ready.
“Oh, yeah, every day. Definitely,” she said.
“It’s been pretty fun playing long toss sometimes with him. He’ll throw a bullpen and I’m definitely not a catcher, but grabbing it out of the screen and throwing it back. I’ve definitely learned so much more about baseball than I thought I would ever know, and more about pitching delivery. It’s hilarious. So we’re doing everything we can and we’re really hopeful that there will be a season.”
* I wrote on Thursday about Caroline coming up with the hashtag #F16HT to support Trey Mancini, who underwent surgery in March to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon and is Stage 3.
Mancini remains in good spirits as he undergoes his chemotherapy treatments. He joked on Tuesday, before meeting up with Mo Gaba to celebrate the 14-year-old superfan’s middle school graduation, that he could be the only player to be diagnosed Stage 3 and not miss a game.
Later in the day, Mancini doubled back to Gaba’s house and delivered a bag of Chic-fil-A. The outfielder has become close to Mo, who’s been fighting cancer since he was 9 months old.
“That right there tells you everything you need to know about Trey,” said Caroline Means. “He’s so positive and uplifting and you just know he’s not going to give up, and that’s an absolutely inspiring thing for people to see.
“He’s already changing so many lives. He’s out there at Mo’s graduation party. I mean, you don’t know a better guy than him.”
* All of the Orioles’ facilities remain closed through June 30, which obviously includes the spring training complex in Sarasota.
The update is important following yesterday’s news that five Phillies players and three staffers tested positive for COVID-19 in Clearwater and the Blue Jays shut down their Dunedin complex because a player developed symptoms.
The National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning also closed their facilities after three players and two staff members tested positive.