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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the O’s are feasting on the Grapefruit League

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The Orioles are off to a hot start in exhibition play. It means absolutely nothing, but O’s fans should take their victories where they can get them.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Renato Nunez collected four RBIs with one swing yesterday.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

How are you enjoying spring training so far? The Orioles, for their part, seem to be enjoying it very much. There’s a lot of positive energy and good vibes coming from the players and coaches. There are some young, hungry ballplayers battling for the slew of vacant roster spots, and the competition seems to be bringing out the best in everybody.

And hey, the O’s are actually winning some games. Their collection of random minor leaguers and veterans dusting off the cobwebs has, so far, outdueled other teams’ collections of random minor leaguers and veterans dusting off the cobwebs.

The Birds won again yesterday against the Twins in Fort Myers, with pitching and homers leading the way. Renato Nunez blasted a grand slam, and non-roster catcher Martin Cervenka added a three-run shot. Dylan Bundy worked three innings (although, in true Bundy fashion, he gave up two home runs), and David Hess looked excellent in his bid for a starting spot, tossing three perfect innings with three strikeouts. The victory was the Orioles’ sixth, tying them with several other teams for the most wins in the Grapefruit League.

Of course, I don’t have to tell you that a team’s spring training record has no bearing whatsoever on their success (or lack thereof) in the regular season. Look no further than last year, when the O’s had a winning record in exhibition play — 17-12, the third-best record in the Grapefruit League — only to follow it up with a 47-115 catastrophe in the regular season, one of the worst in the history of baseball.

So, ultimately, none of this matters. At least the standings don’t. But if stringing together a few wins — and, more importantly, some strong individual performances — boosts the Orioles’ confidence even a little, that’s a good thing. Let’s at least have some fun until the regular season starts and harsh reality sets in.

Links

Bundy talks about today’s outing (O’s win 9-4) - School of Roch
Bundy may not have kept the ball in the park very well, but he sure was pounding the strike zone yesterday. That’s a good habit to get into for the regular season, I’d say.

Rule 5 pick Richie Martin makes a strong first impression - Steve Melewski
Dare I say that Richie Martin could become the Orioles’ best Rule 5 pick since the immortal Ryan Flaherty? I dare indeed!

Swing adjustment, healthy offseason put Orioles’ Anthony Santander back in outfield mix - Baltimore Sun
“Not so fast, Paul!” says Anthony Santander. “Maybe I’m going to be the best Rule 5 pick since Ryan Flaherty.” OK, fine, just settle down, everyone. Sheesh.

There’s time for Chris Davis to turn things around, but not that much time – The Athletic
With each passing day, Chris Davis’ leash is getting a little bit shorter. His 1-for-12, seven-strikeout performance in spring training sure isn’t inspiring hope that a turnaround is imminent.

Hyde ‘encouraged’ by younger catchers - Orioles.com
I was encouraged by Chance Sisco last spring training, too. Then his 2018 season happened. So I’m going to reserve judgment on Sisco for a while longer, if you don’t mind.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have four Orioles birthday buddies, most notably left-hander Erik Bedard, who turns the big 4-0 today. Bedard was the Orioles’ first homegrown ace since Mike Mussina, leading the staff for much of his four-year tenure as a starter, including an MLB-best 10.9 strikeouts-per-nine rate in 2007. The O’s swapped Bedard to Seattle for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and others in one of the best trades in team history.

Two former Orioles turn 48 today: former first-round pick Jeffrey Hammonds and 2000-01 righty Jose Mercedes. And it’s the 29th birthday of outfielder LJ Hoes, whom the O’s traded to Houston in the 2013 Bud Norris deal. Hoes was last seen serving a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse. He last played in the bigs in 2015.

On this day in 1996, legendary Orioles manager Earl Weaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.