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Saturday’s Bird Droppings: Where Orioles spring training games start today

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The games don’t count yet, but at least there are games to talk about.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

We made it. The long, sort of cold winter is over and has made way for Orioles baseball. The Birds are back in action later today with the spring opener against the Braves.

Now, don’t get too excited. This is a road game in the spring, so it’s possible that some of the veteran players, like Trey Mancini or Jose Iglesias miss out. But considering the current state of the Orioles roster, that does leave plenty of intriguing youngins to pick up the slack.

Chandler Shepherd will start, an outing that is likely to last just an inning or two. He will be opposed by Felix Hernandez, the longtime Mariners ace looking to rebound from a rough few years.

There will be both audio and video of this game, but both will be from the perspective of the Braves broadcast crew. MLB.tv is going to the be the best, legal option to follow along. But if you are savvy enough on this here internet you can find alternative means.

First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET at CoolToday Park in North Point, Florida.

Links

Orioles’ Pat Valaika a darkhorse candidate to hit his way onto the Opening Day roster - Baltimore Sun
Pat Valaika is a strong “Jake Fox award” candidate for these Orioles. Who knows if he will be given enough opportunities to actually break through the noise in camp. But he has always put up strong offensive numbers in the minors, and could benefit from the mix of young and experienced arms often seen in the spring.

Severino wants to be primary catcher for Orioles; Scott focuses on control; Kremer makes pitch to impress - Baltimore Baseball
Pedro Severino was a nice little surprise in 2019. He was right behind Jonathan Villar and Trey Mancini as one of the best players on the entire team. He was steady on both sides of the ball and played in a manner that seemed to make him a fan favorite. Apart from an unforeseen injury, he should see the lions share of the innings behind the plate yet again this season.

What to make of the spring training stats - Steve Melewski
How about nothing? That is probably a bit too simplistic. Spring training stats do matter a little bit, but they certainly aren’t a completely fair representation of a player’s abilities.

Notes on spring rotation, Davis, Cobb, Stewart and more - School of Roch
Sounds like there was a bug going around the Orioles clubhouse. Hunter Harvey and Mychal Givens were both sick, and then Chris Davis missed a few days with flu-like symptoms. It’s like when the kids go back to school and start catching all of the germs from the rest of class.

How the O’s from 2014 Draft class bonded - Orioles.com
There does not appear to be a Manny Machado/Jonathan Schoop level bromance in the works here, but there is clearly a kinship between John Means and his fellow draftees. That’s nice.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing, who pitched in 14 games for the 2016 Orioles, turns 37 today. Kelly Johnson, an 11-year journeyman who played in 19 games for the 2014 Birds, is 38. Ramon Nivar, an O’s outfielder for seven games in 2005, is 40. And left-handed hurler John Halama, an Oriole for 17 games in 2006, is 48.

It is also the birthday of the late Steve Barber (b. 1938, d. 2007), who pitched for the Orioles for eight seasons from 1960 through 1967 and made two All-Star teams, as well as Ryne Duren (b. 1929, d. 2011), who began his decade-long stint in the bigs with a single appearance for the 1954 O’s.

2014 - Outfielder Nelson Cruz signs a one-year, $8 million contract with the Orioles.