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Monday Bird Droppings: Grayson Rodriguez heads for the minors, hopefully not for long

The sooner Grayson Rodriguez puts on an Orioles uniform again, the more exciting the 2022 season could be.

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Orioles pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez
The Mark Brown who took this photo is not the Mark Brown who is writing this caption.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 11 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. Baseball’s almost back! The home opener is two weeks from today. Between now and then are another nine exhibition games that will help the players hopefully get themselves ready for the season after this truncated spring training schedule. That includes a road contest against the Phillies at 1:05 this afternoon. The game will have a Phillies TV broadcast, but no Orioles TV or radio.

The Orioles beat the Tigers in their game yesterday, 5-4. That improved their Grapefruit League record to 5-4-1. John Means and Jordan Lyles each tossed three innings, giving up one run apiece. O’s batters knocked two homers, both from likely Opening Day lineup guys: Robinson Chirinos and Ramón Urías. For Urías, that was his third homer of the spring. Does it mean anything? Probably not, but it would be fun if it did.

After the game, the Orioles did a bunch of routine spring roster trimming, sending a number of players who weren’t ever anticipated to be in the Opening Day roster picture over to minor league camp. Four of these were 40-man players who were optioned: Rylan Bannon, Logan Gillaspie, Jahmai Jones, and Kevin Smith.

The rest were players invited to big league camp who’ve now officially been reassigned. The biggest name there is Grayson Rodriguez. It’s cool Rodriguez was in camp. Maybe in a longer spring training we’d have seen him a little more. Now what O’s fans can hope for is that it’s not too long into the 2022 season before we see him back in an Orioles uniform. I’ll be surprised if we end up seeing him before September, but Mike Elias has surprised me before.

Others reassigned: Catchers Brett Cumberland and Maverick Handley, infielder Patrick Dorrian, outfielder Robert Neustrom, and several pitchers. In addition to Rodriguez, Marcos Diplán, Cody Sedlock, and Nick Vespi were sent over to minor league camp.

That leaves the Orioles with 48 players left in the big league camp. There are a lot of cuts still to make to get down to an Opening Day roster of 28. Players on the fringe won’t have many more opportunities to make their roster case, and nearly half of them will be sent off to the minors. The ones who perform well there will probably get a big league chance eventually.

Through ten games, the O’s leaders in exhibition at-bats are Yusniel Diaz, Ryan McKenna, Tyler Nevin, and Kyle Stowers. None of these guys figure to be Opening Day starters. We’ve seen some Opening Day-ish starting lineups for home games, but we’ve yet to see the people who are going to be the Orioles in a week and a half for a whole game. Pitchers are being brought along slowly.

Manager Brandon Hyde said earlier in camp that he thinks it’ll be fortunate if starting pitchers can go five innings by the time the season starts. This is not the kind of thing to build excitement for the season. The pitching staff was already going to be a mess in the best of circumstances. For anybody vying for the rotation, these are not the ideal circumstances. But that’s a problem starting eleven days from now. No sense losing sleep over it today.

Around the blogO’sphere

Means, Lyles say they have a lot to learn from each other (Orioles.com)
There are worse buddy comedy pairings than this. Maybe there can be a positive feedback loop of some kind.

Rotation and infield questions mark short Orioles spring (Baltimore Baseball)
Going along with Hyde’s expectation that guys will be going five if they’re lucky is a possible plan that will involve piggybacking pitchers (planning multi-inning relief behind a start that might be planned for four innings).

Top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez on his adjustments to big league camp (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly’s lucky he got this one posted before the Orioles reassigned Rodriguez. Grayson predicts he’ll be going a bit deeper into games this season now that we’re more than a year removed from the pandemic-canceled 2020 season that robbed everyone of development time.

Neustrom: “I want to play in the bigs” (School of Roch)
Neustrom, just reassigned to minor league camp, is one player who might have gotten a look from other teams in the Rule 5 draft, if there had been a draft this year. He figures to be headed for the Triple-A outfield. If his performance makes the team want to give the 2018 fifth round pick a big league look, that would be great news for team and player.

For 30th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, O’s throw back ticket prices to 1992 levels for first two series (The Baltimore Sun)
This is the kind of stuff the Orioles need to do a whole lot more of to draw in fans during these lean years. This is a great start, with five games of mega-discounted tickets that include $4 Eutaw bleachers, $8 upper reserve between bases, and $18 club box outside bases. I mean, they might hit you with a lot of fees on top of that, and you have to know about the discount code 1992 for the pricing, so maybe it’s not that great. But it is a start.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1999, the Orioles played an exhibition against a Cuban team in Cuba. It took 11 innings to settle, with now-Hall of Famer Harold Baines driving in the winning run in extra innings. Future 10-year big leaguer Jose Contreras threw eight innings for the Cuban team, striking out ten batters.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2014-15 first base reserve Christian Walker, 1997 swingman Shawn Boskie, and 1991-93 first baseman Glenn Davis.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: beer man Frederick Pabst (1836), musician/actress Reba McEntire (1955), actor Vince Vaughn (1970), actress Julia Stiles (1981), musician/actress Lady Gaga (1986), and very recent gold medal figure skater Anna Shcherbakova (2004).

On this day in history...

In 1854, the Crimean War saw an escalation as France and England both declared war on Russia, joining on the side of the Ottoman Empire. The war went on for almost two more years exactly from this day.

In 1939, forces of Francisco Franco captured the city of Madrid after a three-year siege, setting the stage to end the Spanish Civil War within days with Franco setting up a dictatorship.

In 1959, the People’s Republic of China dissolved the separate government of Tibet, thereafter ruling it directly.

In 1979, a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown after a coolant leak.

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