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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where it’s Orioles versus Orioles at summer camp

Intrasquad action continued at Camden Yards, where the O’s won! But also, the O’s lost.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Workouts
Watch it with the takeout slide, buddy. That’s your teammate.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it hard to believe it’s just 10 days until the Orioles are scheduled to begin the 2020 regular season.

The main reason, of course, is that COVID-19’s grasp over the world — and particularly the United States — is filling me with a constant sense of dread, making me question the league’s decision to plow ahead with a truncated season despite the obvious risks.

But even if you put aside the chaotic state of the country and focus solely on what’s happening on the baseball field, well, it still feels awfully sudden. It’s been more than four months since the Orioles (or any baseball team) played against an actual opponent. And now they’re supposed to be ready for meaningful competition in 10 days? Weird.

The O’s will get to face a team other than themselves in five days, when they head to Philadelphia for a summer camp game against the Phillies, the first of three exhibitions in as many days. But in the meantime, they’ve been staging intrasquad games at Camden Yards to get their reps in. Yesterday, it was orange versus black, with the “visiting” squad the apparent winner. I dunno, it’s hard to tell sometimes. The O’s are playing a little fast and loose with the rules, like stopping innings or even at-bats before they’re completed, or playing with “ghost outfielders” because they don’t have enough available players, and all sorts of other chicanery that tends to happen when the games don’t count.

Ten days from now, the games will count. Are you ready? Is anyone?


Mountcastle gets more work in left field, Milone retires 15 of 16 - School of Roch
Among the highlights of last night’s intrasquad, Tommy Milone strengthened his bid for a rotation spot with an excellent outing, while Ryan Mountcastle took some good swings at the plate but bad routes in the field.

Martin, Blach to undergo season-ending surgeries on Wednesday -
Tough blows for a couple of Orioles who don’t necessarily know what their futures in Major League Baseball will hold. Missing an entire season, even a shortened one, is quite a setback for fringe guys like these.

At O’s camp, Adley Rutschman is learning and soaking up experience - Steve Melewski
Among the many things I’m going to miss this season is Adley Rutschman’s first full season as a professional. He’ll be part of the secondary camp at Bowie, but he won’t get the same kind of development as if he were taking part in actual competition.

2020 Positional Power Rankings: First Base | FanGraphs Baseball
I’ll give you three guesses which spot the Orioles rank on this list, but you’ll only need one. Suffice it to say, Jay Jaffe is not buying into Chris Davis’ spring training turnaround.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 26th birthday to current Oriole Andrew Velazquez, who was picked up on waivers in February and has a good shot of cracking the Opening Day roster as a utility man.

There’s a boatload of former Orioles with birthdays today. They include the Birds’ most recent Cy Young winner, 1980 right-hander Steve Stone (73), as well as 2005 utility guy Bernie Castro (41), second-generation Oriole Derrick May (52), infielders Victor Rodriguez (59) and Billy Smith (67), and the late Earl Williams (b. 1948, d. 2013).

The Orioles have had four walkoff, extra-inning wins on this day in history. In 1962, Jim Gentile’s 14th-inning homer beat Cleveland. In 1990, Phil Bradley toppled the Twins with a 10th-inning RBI single. In 2007, after scoring two runs in the ninth to tie the game, the O’s walked off the White Sox in the 10th on a Nick Markakis hit.

And in a wild game against the Tigers in 2012, the O’s blew a three-run lead in the ninth, fell behind in the 11th, tied the game, fell behind again in the 12th, tied it again on a J.J. Hardy homer, and then pulled off a ridiculous victory when light-hitting backup catcher Taylor Teagarden — in his O’s debut — lofted an opposite-field homer to end it. It was the Orioles’ 10th straight extra-innings win that season.

On this day last year, the Orioles got perfect-gamed into the ninth inning by the Rays tandem of Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough. Hanser Alberto broke up the bid for history with a leadoff single in the ninth. The O’s added two more singles and a run before losing, 4-1.