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Saturday Bird Droppings: Orioles reveal Kjerstad dealt with myocarditis last summer

In other news: the O’s announced their spring roster, there will be fans in Sarasota, and you can expect fewer home runs in 2021.

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NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 10 Div 1 Championship Super Regionals - Ole Miss at Arkansas Photo by Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles released their spring training roster on Friday, and along with it came the news that one of the team’s top prospects, Heston Kjerstad, had been dealing with “an episode of myocarditis” over the summer and into the fall. This caused him to completely miss out on being included in the team’s alternate site and instructional league.

It was not revealed whether or not Kjerstad had tested positive for COVID-19 at any point. However, his case has already been compared to that of Eduardo Rodriguez. The former Orioles farmhand and current Red Sox starter missed all of 2020 following a COVID-19 diagnosis and the myocarditis that followed.

The good news is that following several months of inactivity for Rodriguez he was able to have a normal offseason and seems ready to take on a full workload for Boston in 2021. Considering Kjerstad has been named to the O’s spring training crew it would seem to be a similar situation for him.

Clearly, any sort of abnormality with the heart should be treated with caution. It was frustrating at the time when the Orioles wouldn’t go into detail about Kjerstad’s absence last summer, simply calling it a “non-sports medical issue.” After all, he was just selected second overall in the draft and figures to play a crucial role in the organization’s rebuild. Fans are understandably eager to see him play. Now that this news has come out it makes more sense with the Orioles decision to keep everything under wraps as he recovered.


Orioles’ spring roster features 10 invitees, 22 camp reserves including Adley Rutschman; Heston Kjerstad recovering from myocarditis | The Baltimore Sun
There isn’t much surprising here (aside from the Kjerstad news). We won’t be seeing D.L. Hall or Grayson Rodriguez for a while due to COVID restrictions and the delay of the minor league season. But Adley Rutschman will make his way to Sarasota next week along with some other interesting young guns.

O’s to allow limited fans at Spring Training |
Hopefully this will be fine. It likely will be as long as everyone adheres to the safety protocols, but we all know that isn’t a given.

The rookies most likely to make each AL team out of spring training | The Athletic
Technically, Ryan Mountcastle counts as a rookie and he is going to make the roster. So do Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin for that matter. The Orioles will have plenty of youngsters on the squad.

Which O’s prospects will get the call in ‘21? |
Joe Trezza does a mailbag, including a question about a pair of olds from yours truly.

Notes on deadening the ball, Camden Yards game times and more | Steve Melewski
There probably were a few too many home runs in Major League Baseball games the last couple of years. Now the league is tweaking the balls to change that. This should make for some happy pitchers and frustrated hitters.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Henry Urrutia turns 34 today. The outfielder appeared in two seasons for the O’s (2013 & 2015), playing in 34 total games. He later spent some time in the Red Sox system but has been out of affiliated ball since 2017.

Massive right-handed pitcher Logan Ondrusek celebrates his 36th birthday. The 6-foot-8 hurler made his way into seven games with the 2016 O’s following a five-season run with the Reds.

Former utility player Howie Clark turns 47. Clark had two stints with the Orioles as a player, first from when the team drafted him in 1992 through a brief major league debut in 2002, and then again for seven games in 2006. He returned to the organization after his playing career ended, serving as the hitting coach for the Shorebirds in 2015 before moving up to the big league bench as assistant hitting coach from 2017-19.

Happy 50th to Todd Wiliams. The journeyman reliever wrapped up his career with four seasons in Baltimore from 2004 through 2007. He accumulated a 4.02 ERA over 177 total appearances with the O’s.

Finally, it is the birthday of the late Jim Brideweser. The middle infielder played in 73 games with the 1954 Orioles and then in 91 games for the ‘57 club.

This day in history

It appears that the Orioles have not had any major events take place on February 13th, according to Baseball Reference. So, here is what has happened outside of Birdland.

1987 - Tigers pitcher Jack Morris is awarded the highest amount ever via salary arbitration: $1.85 million.

1995 - Japanese star pitcher Hideo Nomo signs a deal with the Los Angelese Dodgers, which includes a $2 million bonus. He would go on to win NL Rookie of the Year.

2008 - Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee testify for nearly five hours before the U.S. House oversight committee. It does not go well for them.

2012 - Yoenis Cespedes signs a four-year deal with the Oakland Athletics worth $36 million following his defection from Cuba.