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Tuesday Bird Droppings: A mixed bag in Grayson Rodriguez’s spring debut

Making his first appearance this spring, the top pitching prospect in baseball was dominant in one inning and hit hard in the next.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Isn’t it nice to have actual baseball to talk about? Baseball players are out on the field, doing baseball stuff. It’s not something to take for granted, especially after the lockout seemed like it might put some or all of the season in peril as recently as two weeks ago.

Now then, on to that actual baseball. Yesterday, in their fourth game of Grapefruit League play, the Orioles bagged their first victory, a 10-8 slugfest against the Twins that was not exactly a pitching clinic. Of the 11 hurlers who worked for the Birds, one was of particular interest to Orioles fans: the best pitching prospect in baseball, Grayson Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, making his 2022 spring debut, entered the game in the third inning and flashed his dazzling potential...while also showing he might still have some things to work on. His initial inning was pure dominance, starting with a swinging strikeout of Kyle Garlick and then two easy groundouts for a nine-pitch frame.

Brought back for the fourth, though, Rodriguez ran into trouble. He loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and after a strikeout, was tagged for back-to-back RBI doubles that plated four runs and chased him from the game. Well, not the finest way to go out, but it’s a learning experience. It’s probably not the worst thing that Rodriguez will start the season at Triple-A Norfolk rather than cracking the Orioles’ Opening Day roster. Let him refine his craft a bit more, and we’ll see him in the majors soon enough. In the meantime, he might get another exhibition appearance or two before being sent to the minor league camp.

Spring training results carry very little weight, but yesterday was a particularly good afternoon for closer-turned-possible-starter Tyler Wells — who retired all six batters he faced and didn’t let a ball leave the infield — and a particularly bad one for fringe reliever Joey Krehbiel, who coughed up three runs and four hits while retiring just one batter. On the offensive side, 10 different Orioles collected a hit, including two doubles from newly signed utility infield candidate Chris Owings.

The O’s are back at it this afternoon, with John Means making his spring debut against the Pirates in Bradenton. If you have MLB.tv, you can check out the action on the Pirates’ TV broadcast.

Links

Grayson Rodriguez makes spring debut for Orioles - MLB.com
Rodriguez and Brandon Hyde offer their thoughts on the big right-hander’s outing. The gist: his stuff was very good. His command, not so much.

Tyler Wells tosses two clean innings in today’s start (O's win 10-8) - School of Roch
Roch has more details on yesterday’s action, which included contributions from prospects Colton Cowser, Joey Ortiz, Yusniel Diaz, and more. Again, spring training results mean nothing, but seeing these guys do well puts a smile on my face.

Orioles’ Rutschman says he's disappointed but feels good; Trumbo helps out; Ellis returns - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Mark Trumbo played for the Orioles just three years ago? Feels longer than that. Anyway, he’s back with the club as a camp instructor. Hopefully he’s teaching everyone how to hit dingers.

The Orioles are four months from another No. 1 overall pick. Expectations for who it could be, even now, could lead to disappointment. - Maximizing Playoff Odds
Jon Meoli warns O’s fans not to pin all their draft hopes on highly touted high schoolers like Druw Jones or Elijah Green, given the Mike Elias regime’s preference for college players. I won’t pretend to know enough about any of these guys to have a strong opinion.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day: catcher Andrew Susac (32), outfielder Mike Morse (40), and the late infielder Billy Goodman (b. 1926, d. 1984).

On this day in 1981, AL president Lee MacPhail — the former Orioles general manager — issued a three-game suspension to O’s manager Earl Weaver. Earl had forfeited a spring training game the previous week, pulling his team off the field because the umpires didn’t give him an updated lineup card after the Royals made a bunch of substitutions. The suspension was the fourth of Weaver’s career.