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Sunday Bird Droppings: A late addition to the Orioles pitching picture

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The Orioles acquired Adam Plutko from Cleveland yesterday and designed Yolmer Sanchez for assignment.

2021 Cleveland Indians Photo Day
The Orioles acquired Adam Plutko from Cleveland yesterday. The answer to why is not immediately apparent.
Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now four days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. It’s almost here. Hooray! Between now and then are another two exhibition games, after which the Orioles will have to set the roster and head up to Boston.

Saturday night saw the Orioles open up one more roster mystery. In a surprise move, presumptive second base regular Yolmer Sánchez was designated for assignment. This was such a surprise that Sánchez had been inserted in the starting lineup of yesterday’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves, then had to be scratched when the move was announced minutes before the game was set to begin.

The Orioles had to clear a roster spot because they also announced that they’ve acquired right-handed pitcher Adam Plutko from Cleveland. Plutko has put up a 5.05 ERA in parts of four big league seasons. He’s been used mostly as a starting pitcher, although he swung between the rotation and bullpen in a 2020 campaign that saw him post a 4.88 ERA in ten games.

Nothing good jumps out when looking at Plutko’s career statistics. His career K/9 of 6.5 is sad. His HR/9 of 2.0 is also sad. The 29-year-old averages about 91 miles per hour on his fastball, which for a righty is sad as well. If he is going to displace someone that you would have thought 24 hours ago was a lock for the starting rotation, that’s a sign that Mike Elias must have really, really disliked his existing rotation options for whatever reason.

Of the six games Plutko has pitched this spring, his longest outing in any of them was two innings. So maybe he’s not even a rotation option, at least not initially.

It’s a mystery to me. I don’t know why the Orioles wouldn’t just roll with John Means, Matt Harvey, Dean Kremer, Jorge López, and Wade LeBlanc. If Plutko isn’t a starting candidate, I don’t know why to bother kicking Sánchez to the curb just to bring him onto the team. I don’t know who is going to play second base now that Sánchez is out of there. Pat Valaika? Ramón Urias? Stevie Wilkerson? This is weird, and it’s not even the worst Orioles news that came across the wire yesterday.

In yesterday’s game, the Orioles fell to the Braves, 8-5. That drops their spring training record to 10-15-1. John Means allowed five runs in 3.2 innings of work in the game - not ideal for the last tune-up before Opening Day. However, after the game, he said that he had gotten his COVID-19 vaccine yesterday and was tired while pitching. I will accept this excuse for poor pitching up to two times per player, provided the second time is no more than three weeks after the first time. You can check out the full box score here.

There have now been Orioles roster moves each of the last two days that sent an expected Opening Day roster guy elsewhere. Perhaps they will make it three in a row today.

The last Orioles radio broadcast of spring training happens during today’s 1:05 game against the Pirates. Tune in if you can, or you’ll be waiting until Thursday to get another O’s game in your life.

Around the blogO’sphere

Santander hampered by oblique (Orioles.com)
Anthony Santander has not played in the last four games. MLB.com’s Joe Trezza says Santander has been nursing a sore oblique. That was the bad news.

The Orioles roster is becoming more clear after Friday’s moves (The Baltimore Sun)
I don’t remember hearing about how Chris Davis “didn’t seem to be at his best when camp started” at the time that camp was getting under way, but now that he’s on the 60-day IL, this is popping up.

Wade LeBlanc glad it all worked out with Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
That makes one of us. Snark aside, I hope every Oriole is able to have a successful 2021 season. I just don’t expect very much that’s good from a lot of them.

Harvey gets second start (School of Roch)
A smaller piece of news announced yesterday by Brandon Hyde is that Matt Harvey is going to be the #2 starter in the rotation to begin the season. I certainly would not have predicted that a month ago.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1999, the Orioles played a team of Cuban amateurs in Cuba, winning a 3-2 game in 11 innings, with future Hall of Famer Harold Baines driving in the winning run.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2014-15 cup of coffee guy Christian Walker, 1997 pitcher Shawn Boskie, and 1991-93 first baseman Glenn Davis. Today is Davis’s 60th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: Renaissance painter/architect Raphael (1483), Pabst Brewing Company founder Frederick Pabst (1836), jazz trumpeter Thad Jones (1923), singer-songwriter/actress Reba McEntire (1955), actress Julia Stiles (1981), and singer-songwriter/actress Lady Gaga (1986).

On this day in history...

In 1854, France and Britain declared war on Russia, joining the Crimean War on the side of the Ottoman Empire. The war had been ongoing for about five months at this point, and raged for another two years afterwards.

In 1862, during the Civil War, the Union Army triumphed at the end of the three-day Battle of Glorieta Pass, preventing a Confederate invasion of the New Mexico Territory.

In 1939, the Spanish Civil War effectively came to an end as Franco’s forces captured Madrid following a nearly three-year siege. The result was Franco establishing a dictatorship that lasted until his death in 1975.

In 1979, the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown took place. Cleanup for the accident cost about $1 billion and took nearly 14 years. The other reactor at Three Mile Island, unaffected by the famous accident, remained in service until 2019.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 28. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!