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Saturday Bird Droppings: Cedric Mullins and Team USA begin WBC tonight

Mullins and Santander to see first WBC action, Kjerstad impressing, and the young guys lead the way.

United States v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The baseball schedule has quickly gotten packed with games. Group play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic has been underway in Asia for a few days already, and that will continue through the weekend. But today is when the action gets started in Miami and Phoenix. That enables those that are interested to watch baseball all day long, and there is even time for a mid-morning nap.

There are eight WBC games on the docket, the first started at 5 a.m. on the east coast, and the final one gets going at 11 p.m. Perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the day is the Dominican Republic and Venezuela at 7 p.m. on FS1, but there will surely be oodles of eyeballs on the duel between Great Britain and the United States at 9 p.m. on FOX. Between those two games we could get a chance to see Anthony Santander (Venezuela) and Cedric Mullins (USA) play in something other than black and orange.

In the midst of all this action is the continuation of Grapefruit League play. The O’s tied the Twins 5-5 on Friday evening.

It provided some positive signs for the big league squad. Kyle Bradish struck out eight and allowed just one run (on a solo home run) over four innings of work. His spot in the rotation is close to sewn up at this point. Mychal Givens followed him with two strikeouts in his inning of relief. The lineup compiled 11 hits and five hits to just eight strikeouts. Terrin Vavra was back in the lineup, going 1-for-2. Ryan McKenna had the lone multi-hit performance, a single and a double.

Today they head to Dunedin for a matinee against the Blue Jays. Austin Voth is on the bump for the Birds, and it’s a big one for him. His roster status is a tad shaky given the packed rotation, Spenser Watkins surging, and his own struggles (five earned runs over five total innings). First pitch is 1:07 with a radio broadcast from 98 Rock and WBAL locally as well as a TV feed featuring the Blue Jays announcers if you can access it.


Questions remain with bullpen, infield rotation as opening day looms | The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles are closely guarding how the infield shakes out. I would really prefer Gunnar Henderson to be given the same role every single day rather than moving between third and short from day-to-day. That just seems better for his long-term development.

Comfort and competition could be big for O’s young talent | Steve Melewski
This team will go as far as Henderson, Adley Rutschman, and Grayson Rodriguez can take them. Hopefully this growing comfort is a sign that they feel pretty good about the potential for this squad.

Orioles waiting to see how Politi rebounds, Mayo and Kjerstad bringing the power | Roch Kubatko
Andrew Politi’s profile certainly isn’t the most exciting of the arms in camp, but the Orioles seem to believe in his ability. My expectation is he makes the Opening Day roster unless he completely falls apart in the spring’s final weeks. Maybe that would not be the case if Dillon Tate and DL Hall were on track.

Kjerstad making big impression in Orioles’ camp | Baltimore Baseball
What a spring from Kjerstad! Competition in the spring is spotty, but a 1.441 OPS is good in all circumstances. This, paired with his great showing in the Arizona Fall League, sure makes it feel like the outfielder is right back into the big league mix in the near future.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Frank Mata turns 39 today. The right-handed pitcher made his way into 15 games for the 2010 Orioles.
  • Rich Hill celebrates his 43rd. A rumored target of the Orioles this past offseason, the long-serving lefty did pitch for the Birds back in 2009, appearing in 14 games that season.
  • Steve Reed is 58 years old. He made his way into 30 games as a reliever with the O’s back in 2005.
  • Phil Bradley is 64. He was the Orioles’ everyday leftfielder from 1989 through the 1990 trade deadline, when he was dealt to the White Sox for Ron Kittle.

This day in O’s history

1991 - Jim Palmer’s comeback attempt appears over. In camp with the Orioles as non-roster player, the Hall of Famer allows five runs in two innings. He announces his retirement the following day.