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Tuesday Bird Droppings: One week left of spring training

The Orioles’ Grapefruit League season is almost over, but many O’s fans will just now be getting their first look at the club on TV.

Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates
Don’t let the photo fool you — Austin Hays is NOT about to chug the world’s largest bottle of beer.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Just seven games remain on the Orioles’ Grapefruit League slate before they break camp and head north for the regular season. And still, many O’s fans in Baltimore and beyond haven’t gotten to actually watch their team in action yet this spring, unless they happened to catch a visiting team’s broadcast on or MLB Network, or were able to schlep to Sarasota to attend in person.

Finally, more than three weeks after exhibition games began, the Orioles-owned network has decided maybe it should, you know, show some Orioles games. Better late than never, I suppose. Today’s contest against the Rays will air on MASN at 1 pm, and the network will also broadcast Thursday’s 6:05 tilt against the Pirates. So you’ll get a couple chances to see the Birds continue their tune-up before the games count for real.

Yesterday was the second-to-last tune-up for Opening Day starter John Means, and while the box score line isn’t great — four hits, three walks, and three runs in 3.2 innings — he said afterward that he feels good physically and likes how his curveball is coming along, so that’s good enough for me. Among other highlights from the Orioles’ 6-5 loss to the Pirates, Austin Hays and Freddy Galvis each collected two hits; the former is batting .378 with a 1.047 OPS this spring.

In not so encouraging news, presumptive starting catcher Pedro Severino is hitting .125 and committed his third error. In one particularly horrific sequence yesterday, Severino let a pitch glance off his glove for a passed ball and then threw wildly into right-center field trying to nab the runner.

The O’s have seven more games to get nonsense like that out of their system. Then the real fun begins.


Wrapping up Orioles' 6-5 loss to Pirates - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko has more notes and quotes about the Birds’ exhibition loss. The Orioles certainly look like they’re starting to gel offensively. Defensively? Um, not so much.

Orioles’ Hyde thinks there's room for Franco and Ruiz; Davis to 60-day injured list? -
Remember when Chris Davis talked to the media about how he was ready to make some swing changes this year, and then he got hurt in literally his first spring training game and is out indefinitely? You couldn’t make this stuff up, folks. It would be too cruel.

Orioles pitching staff options 2021 -
Joe Trezza breaks down the Birds’ starting pitching options for Opening Day and beyond. I really hope we see Mickey Jannis at some point this year, even if just for a day. Major League Baseball feels incomplete without a knuckleballer.

MLB On The Record: AL East GMs answer burning questions on Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays arms race
Any Mike Elias interview is an instant read for me. Here, he (among other AL East execs) talks to Yahoo’s Hannah Keyser about what his team hopes to accomplish in the season ahead.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with the late Lee May (b. 1943, d. 2017), who was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame following a solid six-season stint in which he bashed 123 home runs and contributed 487 RBIs. Other O’s born on this day were Maryland-born right-hander Bruce Howard (78) and the late Sam Bowens (b. 1938, d. 2003), a mid-1960s outfielder.

On this date two years ago, Mike Elias made his first player-for-player trade as Orioles general manager — and, to this day, it was the worst one he’s ever made, as the O’s sent outfielder Mike Yastrzemski to the Giants for pitcher Tyler Herb. Oops. In fairness to Elias, Yastrzemski was 28 years old and had spent six years languishing in the O’s farm system without a standout season, so it didn’t seem the Birds were giving up much.

Since then, of course, Yastrzemski has busted out as a star for San Francisco, channeling his Hall of Fame grandfather Carl by posting a .281/.357/.535 slash line with 31 homers in 161 games. Herb, meanwhile, posted a 7.16 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk and got demoted to Double-A Bowie in 2019, and I’m not entirely sure whether he’s still in the Orioles’ system.