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Saturday Bird Droppings: The final weekend of the spring

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Roster decisions, rotation changes, and Hall of Fame inductions.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Of course the Orioles had a trick up their sleeve. The team’s pitching staff received an unexpected shake up on Friday evening as veteran Wade LeBlanc was re-signed to an MLB deal right after opting out of the minor league deal that got him a spot in spring training.

In order to make room for LeBlanc on the 40-man roster, Chris Davis made his long expected transition to the 60-day IL with a lingering back issue. And then it was Keegan Akin that received a demotion in order to hand LeBlanc his spot on the big league roster.

Everyone understands the situation in which the Orioles pitching staff finds itself. It’s not great. They need as many arms as possible to get through the season, and adding LeBlanc now while Akin fine tunes some things at the alternate camp and then Norfolk is the solution that gives them the most roster flexibility.

However, that doesn’t make this any less disappointing. No one expects Akin to become a top-line starter, but he does have the chance to be a back-end option that the Orioles could stand to learn a bit more about at the game’s highest level. For now, they won’t have the chance to do that. But the 25-year-old southpaw will be up again sometime soon.

Links

Single tickets up for sale Wednesday for April, May Orioles games | WBAL TV
The O’s have said that tickets will start at $15, which seems reasonable enough. But that won’t carry over to the secondary market, especially for weekend games. Regardless, it will be fun to see fans back in the stands.

Orioles see growth in competitive spring | Orioles.com
OK, that’s nice. Now let’s play some games that count and are actually on TV.

Jorge López makes strong case | Steve Melewski
It has seemed for much of spring training that Jorge López had a decent shot at a place in the Orioles starting rotation. The demotion of Akin on Friday paired with what has been an effective pre-season for López has almost guaranteed it. There is reason to believe that he is better than the 6.34 ERA he posted with the Orioles in 38.1 innings last season, so why not find out.

J.J. Hardy, Mike Devereaux, Joe Angel added to Orioles Hall of Fame; 2021 class, Mo Gaba to be honored in August ceremony | The Baltimore Sun
This is a really good class of O’s Hall of Famers. Of course, I am partial to J.J. Hardy’s induction, and my wife has already told me that we need to buy tickets to that August 7th game as soon as they are available.

Birdland Tonight (Ep. 61) | The Warehouse Podcast
My weekly shameless self-promotion! This was a fun one as we did it live on the various social media channels of Birdland Tonight, a fan-run project that aims to broadcast post-game shows following every Orioles game this season. Check them out if you are interested in a MASN alternative. It will feature folks from all around the O’s blog and podcast scene, including yours truly.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Junior Lake turns 31 today. The outfielder appeared in eight games for the 2015 Orioles, going 3-for-22 with a trio of doubles and nine strikeouts. He has not played in a major league game since 2016.
  • Dave Van Gorder celebrates his 64th birthday. He wrapped up his big league career with a 12-game stint on the 1987 O’s. The catcher went 5-for-21 while in the black and orange.

This day in history

1994 - First baseman David Segui is dealt from the O’s to the Mets in exchange for shortstop Kevin Baez and pitcher Tom Wegmann