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Thursday Bird Droppings: Eight days away from Orioles Opening Day

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The Orioles are scheduled to play a real game in eight days. They’ll have to get their roster set up soon.

Baltimore Orioles Summer Workouts
Austin Wynns is trying to make the Opening Day roster.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In the parallel universe where the 2020 regular season was able to go off as originally scheduled, today would have been the last day of the MLB All-Star break. We would have our eyes towards the trade deadline that would have been a bit more than two weeks away. In this universe, there are eight days left until the Orioles begin their abbreviated 60-game season.

There are still things to figure out over those eight days. The Orioles will have to find out if Anthony Santander, who confirmed yesterday that he was absent from the early days of the summer camp because he was dealing with a case of COVID-19, can get himself ready to go on Opening Day.

The O’s did come a little closer to settling the starting rotation on Wednesday night with the announcement that veteran lefties Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone had their contracts selected. LeBlanc had been penciled in for the #3 rotation spot already and it looks like this means Milone is the #5 starter.

This probably means that most of the 30-man Opening Day roster is set up or at least close to it. There are still spots open on the 60-man player pool, and it’ll be interesting to see in the coming days which prospects are added to that group so that the team can have them getting some in-person instruction and activity over the next two months.

How players look in a few exhibition games may help with some of the decisions. The O’s will be playing exhibitions on the 19th, 20th, and 21st, which would be a lot more interesting if either Baltimore TV or radio would be airing any part of those games. They are not.

Many teams have their television networks airing intrasquad scrimmages and the Orioles aren’t even broadcasting the warm-up games against other teams to the world. It is frustrating, but at least the regular season, which will be fully covered by O’s TV and radio, will be here very soon.

Around the blogO’sphere

Recapping Wednesday’s workout, Santander’s second day on the field (School of Roch)
The Orioles didn’t arrange an intrasquad scrimmage yesterday, though of course people still got their work in. Many eyes are on Santander, who was mostly just tracking pitches.

Inbox: Which Orioles prospects will debut in 2020? (Orioles.com)
Joe Trezza dug into his inbox and predicted 2020 MLB debuts from Ryan Mountcastle, Keegan Akin, and Dean Kremer. Seeing all of those guys would make this season more exciting than if they never showed up.

Two years later, Orioles prospects acquired in Manny Machado trade have progress stalled by shutdown (Baltimore Sun)
Being a rebuilding team that’s losing development time on prospects is not ideal.

Wynns trying to earn a roster spot as the outfield takes shape (Steve Melewski)
It’s a bit easier to squeeze a third catcher onto a 30-man roster than it is to squeeze one onto a 25-man roster like in previous years.

Who would you rather have: Adam Jones or Paul Blair? (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly has found an Orioles-related way to phrase the question, “Are you older than 50 years old?”

2020 Positional power rankings: Shortstop (Fangraphs)
For Orioles fans, this ongoing Fangraphs series has amounted to, “How much will the Orioles suck at every position?” At shortstop, with Jose Iglesias projected for most playing time, they come in at 26th out of 30 teams - which is better than the multiple positions where they’re 30th out of 30.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Of all the players to ever play for the Orioles, only a single one was born on this day. Happy 84th birthday to Eddie Fisher, reliever for the 1966 and 1967 squads.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: journalist Ida B. Wells (1862), infamous baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson (1887), popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher (1907), actor Will Ferrell (1967), Hall of Fame footballer Barry Sanders (1968), and soccer star Carli Lloyd (1982).

On this day in history...

In 1054, the East-West schism is credited as having begun when a papal bull of excommunication was placed on the altar of the Hagia Sophia during a Saturday service.

In 1212, rival Christian kingdoms in modern day Spain came together following a call to crusade from the pope of the time, Innocent III. The united force, with King Alfonso VIII of Castille at its center, defeated the Almohad Caliphate in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. The victory marked the start of a decisive period for the Spanish Reconquest.

In 1862, naval officer David Farragut received a promotion to rear admiral, becoming the first in the US Navy to hold an admiral rank. Farragut is best known for his partially apocryphal quotation from the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay: “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!”

In 1941, Joe DiMaggio hit safely in his 56th consecutive game, the final one in his still-record hitting streak.

In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission launched from Cape Canaveral en route to the first manned lunar landing.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 16. Have a safe Thursday.