Hyde on catchers, Ruiz, Rule 5 pitchers, Harvey and more

Pedro Severino is behind the plate again today for the Orioles after catching yesterday’s combined two-hit shutout at Fenway Park and collecting two hits.

The Red Sox are starting three right-handers in the series, which could get Chance Sisco in the lineup. Or he’ll wait until the Orioles resume their road trip in the Bronx.

The life of a backup.

Severino-High-Fives-in-Dugout-Gray-Sidebar.jpg“I was really impressed with Sevie,” manager Brandon Hyde said today in his Zoom call. “I thought we didn’t talk enough about what Sevie did yesterday. That might have been the best game I’ve seen him catch, not only taking the game plan into the game, his communication with John (Means) and Holty (Chris Holt) in between innings. Super dialed into what was happening and how to pitch these guys.

“I thought he received the ball extremely well. There were a couple late that got squirrely on him, but I was really impressed with the job that he did behind the plate. And he throws three really good at-bats out there, too. So, three really good at-bats against right-handers and caught a shutout and I wanted to see him back in there today.”

Severino is going to catch again Monday night with the Yankees starting left-hander Jordan Montgomery, but Sisco will get his turn.

Hyde hasn’t laid out exact plans for the duo and whether the arrangement could evolve into a strict platoon or be based on matchups, numbers and hunches.

“I think we’re going to see how the year goes,” Hyde said. “I think you’re going to see Chance play and we’ll see.”

Rio Ruiz is the second baseman again this afternoon after grabbing some of the spotlight on opening day with three sensational plays. Nothing routine really came his way beyond a popup.

Though impressed by the display, Hyde didn’t make a fuss over it. He “let it go” afterward, his method of showing confidence in the infielder.

“I think Rio’s been in the league a while and has high expectations for himself,” Hyde said. “I was, obviously, extremely pleased with how he played defensively yesterday. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, because I think Rio’s got the ability to play multiple positions. I think he made three well-above-average plays. We hadn’t really in practice or the games range out like he did, so that play late in the seventh, the diving play, we hadn’t seen him have to get to a ball, but how impressive was that? Being able to know the angle to take, the clock in his head.

“That’s one thing about Rio is he’s got a great clock in his head, I think from playing third and playing short when he was younger, playing quarterback. I think all those types of things, you get used to feel of game. I think Rio’s got a great feel, and so that’s why I trusted him with it, and he had a great game yesterday.”

The next challenge is turning double plays and gathering ground balls with the same ease that he tracked shallow fly balls.

Outfielder DJ Stewart, on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, is close to a full recovery as he works out at the alternate site in Bowie. The Orioles are hoping to activate him for the first home series, which begins Thursday afternoon.

Tanner Scott and César Valdez covered the last two innings yesterday and aren’t available this afternoon. Hyde said he’d “definitely rather not” use them.

“Especially with the amount of bullpen guys we have, second game of the year, it’s 30 degrees,” Hyde said. “I care a lot about both of those guys’ arm, so I’m going to try to take care of those guys. Tanner being younger, Valdez threw less pitches, but I’ll talk to those guys before the game.”

Hyde made the rounds yesterday during batting practice and congratulated players on experiencing opening day. He chatted with Rule 5 pitchers Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, who are awaiting their major league debuts.

“I think in an ideal world I would love to get both of them in a low-leverage situation,” Hyde said. “Sometimes the game doesn’t work out that way. I remember last year I was trying to do the same thing with (Keegan) Akin and threw Akin in the fire out of the ‘pen and he did a nice job. You kind of try to set it up how you want, but sometimes the game doesn’t always work out that way.

“We’ll see, but I would prefer to put them in low-leverage situations to start out.”

Matt Harvey is on the opposite end, the Connecticut native making his Orioles debut this afternoon and first career start at Fenway Park. Veterans in a rotation aren’t eased into the competition. Harvey is No. 2 behind Means.

“I just want Matt to build off what he did in spring training,” Hyde said. “I thought he threw the ball excellent the last few starts. Mid-90s fastball, thought his breaking ball improved, I liked the changeup, he introduced the two-seamer in spring training that he really hadn’t thrown much in the big leagues, and that was something he was getting some results with in camp.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on Matt. Matt’s a pro, he’s done this before. Just want him to go out and pitch his game, and hopefully, we’ll catch the ball behind him and score some runs for him.”

A New England guy pitching for the first time in Boston. Sets up an emotional story if Harvey follows the script.

Harvey hasn’t expressed those feelings to Hyde. If they do exist, he’s keeping them internal.

“Rode on the bus with him yesterday, we talked about other things,” Hyde said. “The city of Boston, how beautiful it is.”

Here are the starters for the series at Yankee Stadium:

Monday: Jorge López vs. Jordan Montgomery
Tuesday: Dean Kremer vs. Gerrit Cole
Wednesday: John Means vs. Jameson Taillon

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