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Monday Bird Droppings: Welcome to the lineup, Richie Martin & Maikel Franco

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Maikel Franco and Richie Martin debuted, John Means could take the next step, and more in today’s Bird Droppings

2021 Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Richie Martin made his spring debut for the Orioles yesterday.
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! We’re getting close to Opening Day! This is the last full week with no regular season baseball. The Orioles take the field next Thursday, April 1st, at Fenway Park to kick off their season against the Red Sox. The players that are making their case to go north with the teams don’t have much time left to do so.

One of those players is Jorge López. López is one of the players in the mix to begin the season as a member of the starting rotation, giving up just one run in his last nine innings pitched. Yesterday’s start began well for López, but he had a truly hideous third inning. By the time the dust cleared he had given up seven runs, six of them as a result of three homers. The seventh run scored thanks to a Richie Martin error. Martin was making his spring debut so forgive the rust.

If López doesn’t make the starting rotation, the third inning of yesterday’s game probably won’t be the reason. Brandon Hyde and his staff know much more about how López is doing this spring than we can from that inning. López probably felt really crappy after that inning, for sure, but he may still have a good chance going forward. It sure doesn’t hurt him that the Orioles are pretty bad.

Another player in yesterday’s game was Maikel Franco, was also making his spring debut for the Orioles. He made a pretty good first impression, going 1-for-3 with a double. Franco is on a short timeline to be ready for Opening Day, but if he needs more time he could start the season at the alternate site.

The spring Orioles are back in action today at 1 p.m. against the Pirates. John Means will be making the start, which would be fun to see! And if you have mlb.tv, you can. Because the Pirates will be broadcasting this game. There is also a Pittsburgh radio broadcast available. But don’t worry, the Orioles are finally getting in on the spring training action with the first of their two spring broadcasts tomorrow.

Oh hey, have you filled out your entry for the pre-season contest yet? If not, take care of that today! It’s fun, it’s free, and you’re just bored at work anyway. We have 98 entries so far, make yours the 99th!

Links

How Opening Day starter John Means can take next step as Orioles’ ace - Baltimore Sun
If someone asked me how John Means could take the next step as the Orioles' ace, my response would be "by pitching really well all season long." Luckily for you, Nathan Ruiz goes into quite a bit more detail.

Hyde says Orioles' final roster decisions will be tough - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff has the breakdown of the players remaining in camp and their chances to make the team.

Orioles Who Won't Make Opening Day Roster but Will Contribute - Birds Watcher
Never mind who will make the team for Opening Day, Birds Watcher is looking ahead to mid-season callups!

DJ Stewart eyes return to spring action for Orioles - MLB.com
Time is running out for DJ Stewart be ready for Opening Day. Joe Trezza has that info and more from yesterday's game here.

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies. Andrew Susac (31) appeared in nine games for the 2018 Orioles. Do you remember him? Me neither. Mike Morse (39) is best remembered as the “big” trade acquisition to help the 2013 Orioles get to the playoffs. It didn’t work. And Billy Goodman (b. 1924, d. 1986) played infield for the 1957 team.

On this day in 1981, Earl Weaver was suspended for three days during spring training. Yes, that’s right! Weaver pulled his team from the field during a spring training game against the Royals because the Royals made a bunch of substitutions and the umpires didn’t provide Weaver with an updated lineup card. The forfeit resulted in his suspension by the American League commissioner, Lee MacPhail.

In 1997, the Orioles traded infielder Manny Alexander to the New York Mets. When he was coming up, the chatter was that Alexander would be the heir apparent at shortstop to Cal Ripken. That didn’t work out and instead the Orioles signed Mike Bordick in December 1996 to take over.