Leftovers for breakfast

The center field competition between Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins won’t necessarily push one of them to the bench.

Manager Brandon Hyde is willing to put them in the same lineup with their ability to handle all three outfield spots, which would strengthen the defense.

The designated hitter role comes with a revolving door now that Renato Núñez has left the organization. On any given day, Ryan Mountcastle or another outfielder could land in that spot.

Thumbnail image for Hyde-Observes-Workout-Spring-Sidebar.jpg“I think I’m going to move all those guys around,” Hyde said. “I think that there’s a lot of at-bats to be had and innings to be played defensively, so I could see a combination of Cedric and Austin in the outfield together, I could see Ryan DHing some days. I think I’ll be moving guys around quite a bit.

“(Anthony) Santander could use a DH day, also. I think that’s nice to have the amount of outfielders we have and guys we want to get in the lineup, is that we’re able to use the DH for one of those guys on a nightly basis.”

* Adley Rutschman was in the lineup again last night and had a walk and a single, making it appear that he’s more active than he was last spring, when it was more about exposing him to a major league atmosphere and allowing fans to watch him for a brief period.

Is the 2021 usage based on the lost at-bats and reps behind the plate due to the cancellation of the minor league season or simply that he’s more ready?

“Because last year was his first spring training and I just wanted him to enjoy the experience,” Hyde said. “It was his first full year last year, and this year is his second full year, and just getting a little more time and find at-bats for him, just to get some more at-bats (after) missing the year last year. I just want to see him play. So I think he needs to get ABs as much as he possibly can.

“We’ve got a B game in the morning, too. He’s going to get some more ABs there, as well as a lot of other guys.”

* Rutschman isn’t volunteering to become knuckleballer Mickey Jannis’ personal catcher, but he’d pounce at the opportunity if they can be paired in the majors.

Rutschman was tasked with catching Jannis in Tuesday’s game. Only one inning, but it must have felt like a heavier workload.

Jannis retired the Yankees in order in his spring debut.

“It was a little different,” Rutschman said. “I had one bullpen before catching him in the game and I definitely wasn’t feeling comfortable after that bullpen. It was a little bit of a humbling experience.

“I didn’t know how the game was going to go, but it ended up going good and he pitched great, so it was a bonus both ways.”

* Reliever Isaac Mattson survived a hit and a walk for a scoreless ninth inning last night in his push to earn a roster spot.

Mattson needed to rebound from his debut appearance in the exhibition opener against the Pirates, when he served up a solo home run to Todd Frazier and also walked two batters in the fifth inning.

The Orioles view Mattson as a potential late-inning reliever and are expected to assign him to Triple-A Norfolk after acquiring him from the Angels in the Dylan Bundy trade on Dec. 4, 2019.

“Isaac threw a couple days ago on a back field and he’s got a really nice arm and a live fastball,” Hyde said. “I think the slider is a little bit of a work in progress and he’s continuing to try to improve that. But he’s definitely a candidate to make our club or to be with us at some point this year.”

* One of the top highlights from the first three weeks of spring training doesn’t involve a pitcher’s inning or a player’s at-bat or emotional comeback. Perhaps so subtle that it required a scan of the field or the box score in the seventh and final inning of Tuesday’s game against the Yankees in Sarasota.

Rutschman was behind the plate. The infield consisted of Gunnar Henderson at third base, Jordan Westburg at shortstop, Adam Hall at second base and Tyler Nevin at first. Terrin Vavra was in left field and Ryan McKenna in right.

Rutschman is the No. 1 rated prospect in the organization and among the top in baseball. MLBPipeline.com ranks Henderson sixth, Westburg seventh, Vavra 13th, Hall 16th, McKenna 22nd and Nevin 23rd.

None of these players are expected to break camp with the team. Only a few could make their major league debuts over the summer.

The significance is what they mean to the future of this organization. The front office and player development and scouting departments could have paused to celebrate it.

“Very exciting, very exciting,” said director of player development Matt Blood. “Whenever you can look out there and kind of start having fun thinking about the future and seeing those guys play, and also thinking about their experience and how much they’re enjoying it, too, it’s pretty cool.”

* Heston Kjerstad was the second-overall pick in the 2020 draft and slots third in organizational rankings. He hasn’t made it to Sarasota, due to his recovery from an episode of myocarditis.

Kjerstad is supposed to be working out at Twin Lakes Park with the camp reserves.

“I’m expecting him to be in Florida at some point in the near future,” Blood said.

The Orioles haven’t decided where to assign Kjerstad. They need to get their eyes on him and begin the evaluation process.

“We haven’t even had him on a field once,” Blood said, “so we’ve still got a lot of getting to know him to do.”

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