Orioles and Braves lineups, plus hearing from Franco

The Orioles are breaking out a lineup tonight against the Braves that could come close to duplicating the opening day order.

Cedric Mullins is in center field and batting first, with Trey Mancini following at first base. Anthony Santander is in right field and Ryan Mountcastle is in left and batting cleanup.

Freddy Galvis and Yolmer Sánchez form the double play combination and Rio Ruiz is starting at third base.

Austin Hays is the designated hitter, which is one of many combinations this season. Chance Sisco is catching and expected to back up Pedro Severino, though the latter is 1-for-22 this spring.

Infielder Richie Martin could return to the lineup Friday and outfielder DJ Stewart over the weekend.

New third baseman Maikel Franco is working out today and trying to be available to the Orioles for opening day. If not, he can be optioned for a few weeks.

“Not that long,” he said today in a Zoom call. “At the end of the day, in the offseason, I never stopped working out. I do my stuff, I do my work, I take ground balls, I do my gym, I do my swing. Every day, I’m taking BP and getting my work in and doing everything I can to do better this year. So I don’t think it’s going to be that long.

“At the end of the day, I just try to see pitches a little bit more. It’s not going to be that long.”

Franco-Throw-from-Third-Royals-Sidebar.jpgFranco signed a one-year deal for $800,000 that includes a possible $200,000 in incentives and a bonus if he’s traded. He’s expected to get most of the starts at third base and also can move across the diamond or serve as designated hitter.

“First of all, the team gave me an opportunity to play, to show my talent,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s what I’m looking for. To come in and try to play most of the games that I can, and I know this team can give me an opportunity to do that. ... I know that the Orioles are going to be pretty good to me, so I take the opportunity and try to just do everything that I can do to help my team win. Show a lot of energy and play the game the right way.

“I think I’m getting better in a lot of things. First of all, my English. You guys are probably thinking ... but I get better, and a lot of good things, defensively, offensively, the way that I think right now, the way that I’m working out right now. I think it’s going to be really good for me, exciting, and I just want to continue to do that. I just want an opportunity to get better and do everything that I can do. I’m here for my teammates and I always try to be a good teammate and be a good friend. That’s all that matters.”

Having Galvis next to him playing shortstop was more motivation to sign with the Orioles.

“I know Freddy Galvis very well. I’m a little more comfortable here, because at the end of the day I have to try to just get to know everybody. ... I’ve got a good relationship with Freddy and it’s going to be fun,” Franco said.

“I’ve followed Freddy for a long time. I know he’s a really, really good shortstop. ... I’m just trying to continue to work with him, get better with him, and it’s going to be great.”

Staying on the market into the first few weeks of March required patience from Franco and the players who keep waiting to be freed.

“It’s been a difficult year for me in free agency,” he said. “It’s business, it’s what it is. ... Now I’m here and I’ll just try to come in and do everything that I can do to help my team win and get better.”

Left-hander John Means makes his fourth start tonight and he’s coming off his finest performance against the Phillies with one run and two hits allowed in four innings. He also recorded his first four strikeouts of the spring.

Means had allowed five runs and eight hits in his first two starts covering 3 2/3 innings.

The Braves are starting veteran right-hander Charlie Morton, who tossed three scoreless innings in his lone spring outing.

The Orioles are off Thursday and play the Pirates Friday night in Bradenton.

For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Trey Mancini 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Ryan Mountcastle LF
Rio Ruiz 3B
Freddy Galvis SS
Austin Hays DH
Chance Sisco C
Yolmer Sánchez 2B

John Means LHP

For the Braves
Ronald Acuña Jr. RF
Ozzie Albies 2B
Travis d’Arnaud C
Austin Riley 3B
Johan Camargo SS
Cristian Pache CF
Ender Inciarte LF
Pablo Sandoval 1B
Alex Jackson DH

Charlie Morton RHP

The Orioles announced today that all home games in April, May and September which were originally scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m., will now start at 7:05 p.m. Sunday games at Camden Yards will continue to start at 1:05 p.m.

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