Orioles manager Brandon Hyde leaned against the dugout railing this afternoon at Camden Yards and had his first face-to-face interaction with the media since spring training shut down on March 12, 2020. No more Zoom interviews during his pregame session. And for Hyde, no mask.
The return to pre-pandemic days is creeping along. The key is how it’s moving forward.
“This feels normal,” Hyde said as his players took batting practice.
“It’s been strange, for you, too, doing everything through the screen. Not being able to have the personal relationships and be able to have the personal contact has been extremely unusual and looking forward to seeing everybody again and talking baseball.
“We still have a lot of processes that are in place, we still have a lot of protocols - how we enter the ballpark, what time we enter the ballpark, we’re wearing masks in the clubhouse still. But this is starting to feel, out here, more and more normal every day and fans have a big part of that. Not having to wear masks in the dugout because we’ve reached the 85 percent (vaccination). That’s a big deal. To be able to communicate easier in the dugout, being able to see fans in the stands. It’s been a lot more fun.”
The Orioles have returned to a bullpen alignment with two Rule 5 selections, including Tyler Wells, and little choice except to put them in some pressurized situations. Wells, especially, has earned more high-leverage opportunities while lowering his ERA to 4.62 and WHIP to 1.105 in 15 appearances. Sceroler is more apt to be held back for long relief work.
“We were building (Sceroler) up so he was able to come here and to give us multiple innings out of the ‘pen and be a long guy out of the ‘pen,” Hyde said. “His last time out in Norfolk, he threw 60-something pitches and to be able to come here and be able to give us a few innings out of the bullpen if need be was important.
“I saw him today. He looks, feels great.”
Sceroler isn’t a candidate to start, but “he’s ready to pitch,” Hyde said. No easing him back into major league competition after just two appearances.
“Anybody that’s out in the bullpen right now, he’s going to be ready, especially with this long stretch coming up without an off-day after Thursday, we’re going to need all these guys,” Hyde said.
John Means was on the field earlier today and his left shoulder already is feeling better. He’s shut down for seven to 10 days and the Orioles are going to be extremely deliberate in working him back onto the active roster.
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Trey Mancini DH
Anthony Santander RF
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Freddy Galvis SS
Pedro Severino C
Maikel Franco 3B
Pat Valaika 2B
Ryan McKenna LF
Bruce Zimmermann LHP
For the Mets
Jonathan Villar 3B
Francisco Lindor SS
James McCann 1B
Pete Alonso DH
Dominic Smith LF
Kevin Pillar CF
Tomás Nido C
Billy McKinney RF
José Peraza 2B
David Peterson LHP