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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Orioles pitching had a rough day

The Birds took their first loss of spring training in a 14-2 rout, which also saw Anthony Santander leave with an injury.

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MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Bruce Zimmermann was one of four O’s pitchers to give up multiple runs yesterday.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The dreams of an undefeated Orioles season are shattered. The O’s took a lopsided 14-2 loss at the hands of the Rays in Sarasota yesterday, dropping them to 2-1 in Grapefruit League play.

Oh well. We’ll just have to settle for an undefeated regular season.

It was a rough afternoon for a few pitchers battling to make the Orioles roster. Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann, who’s on the outside looking in for a rotation spot, gave up a pair of runs on a Wander Franco first-inning homer. Joey Krehbiel, one of a crowded field of candidates for the bullpen, coughed up three runs in an inning of work, including dingers by Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena. And lefty Darwinzon Hernandez, acquired from the Red Sox in December, was a mess, issuing three walks and giving up two hits en route to a four-spot in the fourth. (The other five runs were allowed by organizational player Easton Lucas, the return from the Jonathan Villar trade in 2019.)

Still, there were some bright spots. Rule 5 right-hander Andrew Politi, whose chances of cracking the roster may have increased after the Dillon Tate injury, tossed a scoreless inning. Righty Noah Denoyer, added to the 40-man roster this past winter, threw two shutout frames. On the hitting side, Ramón Urías contributed an RBI single and non-roster first baseman Lewin Díaz doubled, his third extra-base hit in two games.

The O’s didn’t escape without a health scare. Anthony Santander left the game after being hit in the knee with a pitch from former O’s prospect Garrett Cleavinger. He’s considered day to day, and it’s unclear whether he’ll play again for the Birds before leaving on Monday to play for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

The Orioles are back at it this afternoon, traveling to LECOM Park in Bradenton to take on the Pirates at 1:05, with Kyle Bradish making his first start of the spring. As usual, the Orioles will be offering no TV or radio feed of the game, but it is available on the Pirates’ TV broadcast if you’re able to access such things.


Zimmermann pleased with start, Santander limps off field (updated after 14-2 loss) - School of Roch
Zimmermann feels good about how he’s throwing and hopes to put up a good competition to make the team. I’ll be pulling for him, but I think he’s more likely to be a 40-man roster casualty than he is to pitch another regular season game for the Orioles.

Connolly: Orioles are more interesting to watch with depth on the dirt - The Athletic
The Orioles’ infield has the potential to be really, really good, in case you hadn’t noticed. Dan Connolly has.

Elias talks roster, opt outs, WBC and more in radio appearance - Steve Melewski
Mike Elias doesn’t seem too concerned that veteran non-roster guys like Díaz, Nomar Mazara, and Daz Cameron could choose to opt out if they don’t make the team. I agree that it’s not exactly worth losing sleep over.

James McCann making early impact in role as Orioles’ second catcher: ‘A great voice for our guys’ – Baltimore Sun
I normally wouldn’t think a backup catcher could be a difference maker, but the Orioles’ glowing praise for James McCann is making me rethink that assessment.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three ex-Orioles were born on Feb. 28: right-hander Mike Milchin (55), outfielder Dallas Williams (65), and the late outfielder Dick Kokos (b. 1928, d. 1986) of the inaugural 1954 Orioles.

Since there isn’t a Leap Day this year, let’s also wish happy birthday to former O’s reliever Stefan Crichton, who was born on that date in 1992. If you have a Feb. 29 birthday and it’s not a leap year, do you celebrate on Feb. 28 or on March 1? Discuss.

On this date two years ago, the Orioles began their Grapefruit League schedule with what turned out to be a momentous day for two longtime Orioles. In the Birds’ exhibition opener against the Pirates, Trey Mancini returned to the field for the first time since missing a full season after having a malignant tumor removed from his colon. Mancini received a standing ovation from the crowd at Ed Smith Stadium before his first at-bat.

That very same game was also the last of Chris Davis’s career. The embattled slugger, who promised he’d made some swing changes after a four-year freefall, went 0-for-2 that afternoon, left the game with a sore back, and never played again. He retired that August.