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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles roster is slowly taking shape

The Orioles have another 14 players to cut from camp to set their Opening Day roster.

MLB: MAR 28 Spring Training - Orioles at Phillies
Jorge Mateo hit a home run yesterday, which can’t hurt his roster case.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In the original schedule for the 2022 season, today would have been Opening Day. The lockout has robbed us of that, but thankfully it didn’t push the beginning of the season too far back, nor prevent a full 162 game season from being scheduled. The new Orioles Opening Day is eight days away. For those waiting to see a game at Camden Yards, there are eleven more days to go.

In the meantime, spring training rolls on, with another seven exhibition games that will presumably help the Orioles make their last decisions about who should be on the roster and who should start elsewhere. The O’s play the Pirates at 1:05 today. It’s a road game, which may affect the caliber of the Orioles lineup. This will not be on Orioles TV or radio, but if you can get the Pirates TV feed, you can watch the game there.

Yesterday, the Orioles pulled off a comeback win over the Rays, with Kelvin Gutierrez clearing the bases with a walkoff double to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 win. Earlier in the game, Trey Mancini, Jorge Mateo, and Ryan Mountcastle all had two hits each. Mancini, Mountcastle, and Austin Hays all batted four times each for the first time this spring.

Cedric Mullins hit an impressive homer against the wind in the game; he’s scuffled through spring to date, so hopefully that’s a sign he’s going to start turning things around. Others riding the small sample spring struggle bus include Rougned Odor, Ryan McKenna, and Kyle Stowers. Batting under .100 through 14-21 at-bats isn’t the final indicator of a guy’s quality, but it would be nice if these guys were doing better.

Following yesterday’s game, Stowers was reassigned to minor league camp, along with pitcher Conner Greene. Neither of these guys was likely to break camp with the big league team, so no surprise there.

Wednesday’s two cuts leaves the Orioles with 42 players still on their camp roster. They’ll have to trim 14 more to get down to an Opening Day roster of 28. That roster has to be set by noon a week from today. Adley Rutschman is still technically on the camp roster, having not been formally reassigned while out with the triceps strain.

A number of roster questions large and small remain, including “Who the heck is going to be in the rotation?” and “Who the heck is going to be in the fringes of the bullpen?” The initial answers to these questions may not be particularly exciting. We can hope that the roster gets more interesting as the season goes along. For April at least, we’re stuck with some of these other guys.

Around the blogO’sphere

Stewart nearing return to games (School of Roch)
Speaking of some of the other guys we’re stuck with... no, look, I want DJ Stewart to have something to contribute. I am just skeptical that a 28-year-old outfielder who isn’t particularly good at fielding or at doing things at the plate other than take walks has much to contribute.

Looking at the Orioles battles for roster spots (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff runs through the roster battles as things stand now. The list of rotation contenders is not confidence-building for initial success of the 2022 team.

Bruce Zimmermann makes case for home opener (Orioles.com)
Zachary Silver looks at yesterday’s Zimmermann outing, predicting that he’s got an inside track for a rotation spot. I think he’s right about that.

Possible Opening Day lineup, piggyback starters, and PitchCom (The Baltimore Sun)
Yesterday’s lineup might get run back on Opening Day. It’s not exciting! Neither are piggyback starters unless you’re our one commenter who’s been stumping for years for a 3x3 rotation.

Taking a shot at projecting O’s minor league rosters (Steve Melewski)
If we end up with a Norfolk rotation of Kyle Bradish, D.L. Hall, and Grayson Rodriguez early in the season, that’s going to be an exciting group. The Bowie infield that’s going to start out with Gunnar Henderson, Joey Ortiz, and Jordan Westburg also figures to be an interesting one.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The Orioles were most recently victorious on this day three years ago, when they took down the Yankees, 7-5, to seal a series win to start off the 2019 season. Things went downhill shortly afterwards. John Means notched his first major league win in relief of Dylan Bundy, who nearly hit 100 pitches while failing to complete four innings. Renato Nuñez, Trey Mancini, and Joey Rickard each homered for the Orioles, accounting for six of their seven runs.

Of all the players to ever play for the Orioles, only one was born on March 31. That’s Dave Koslo, who pitched three games for the inaugural 1954 team before being released. He passed away in 1975 at age 55.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: mathematician/philosopher René Descartes (1596), composer Joseph Haydn (1732), boxer Jack Johnson (1878), farm worker labor leader Cesar Chavez (1927), designer Liz Claiborne (1929), and actor Christopher Walken (1943).

On this day in history...

In 1774, America’s colonial overlord, Great Britain, passed the Boston Port Act, which mandated the closure of the port of Boston starting June 1 as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. One result of the closure was the meeting of the First Continental Congress later in the year.

In 1889, the Eiffel Tower officially opened in Paris after about two years worth of construction. At 1,083 feet (330 meters) tall, this was the tallest building in the world until 1930, when it was passed by New York’s Chrysler Building.

In 1918, the first Daylight Saving Time went into effect in the United States.

In 1995, Tejano singer-songwriter Selena was shot and killed by the former manager of her fan club, who had been caught embezzling money by the singer’s family.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 31. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!