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Monday Bird Droppings: Santander is a standout in the WBC

Santander and Kremer are doing big things for the WBC while Grayson and Adley team up at Orioles spring training

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World Baseball Classic Pool D: Venezuela v Puerto Rico Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! If you like baseball, there sure was a lot of it to watch over the weekend. The World Baseball Classic is in full swing, and several Orioles are making a difference. But first, let’s talk Orioles’ spring training.

Grayson Rodriguez starts are always worth looking forward to, even in spring training. And for three innings yesterday, Grayson looked great. Grayt? No.

Through three innings, Rodriguez racked up six strikeouts while allowing just one baserunner on a single. But in the fourth inning, things went sideways. He faced five batters without recording an out, sandwiching three singles around two walks. It was like a club sandwich, lots of layers.

Two runs scored with Rodriguez on the mound, two more after he left. Not what you want to see, but it’s spring, right? That’s what you say when things go poorly for the players you’re pinning your hopes onto. It’s spring! It means nothing!

On the other hand, when Adley Rutschman hits a grand slam in spring training, it’s just further proof that he’s amazing. The salami came in the bottom of the fourth inning, just after Rodriguez’s meltdown. He really will do whatever he can for his pitchers! It was one of just six hits for the Orioles in the game, which ended as a 6-4 win for the Orioles.

Now, how about the WBC? There were so many games this weekend and I watched at least part of most of them. There were so many fun moments, but this is an Orioles blog so let’s stick to the Orioles.

First, there is Anthony Santander, who is on fire as part of Team Venezuela. On Saturday, Venezuela pulled off a huge win against the absolutely loaded team from the Dominican Republic. Santander first hit a game-tying home run off of reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, and it wasn’t a cheapie. It went into the second deck of the stadium in Miami, an estimated 393 feet. He also tripled and scored another run later in the game, and he flashed some leather in the outfield.

Yesterday, Venezuela beat Puerto Rico by a score of 9-6. Santander was again in the middle of the action, this time with a three-run homer in the top of the first inning. Save some of those for the regular season, Anthony! Team Venezuela is in a great position to move on to the next round. They are 2-0 with games remaining with the two weakest teams in their pool, Israel and Nicaragua.

Speaking of Team Israel, they started their pool play with a 3-1 win over Team Nicaragua. Dean Kremer started the game for Israel and pitched four scoreless innings with just three hits. He struck out four. Great job, Dean! Former Oriole Richard Bleier picked up the win in relief.

And what about our star center fielder, Cedric Mullins? Well, he may be number one in our hearts but he is number two on the Team USA depth chart. That’ll happen when Mike Trout is on the team. Mullins did not appear in USA’s 6-2 win over Great Britain on Saturday and was not in the starting lineup for yesterday’s game against Mexico. I’ll be tucked into bed before it ends, so here’s hoping he hit a pinch-hit homer after I turned the game off.

If you haven’t been watching the WBC, I highly recommend it. The games are fun with a great atmosphere and you never know what you’re going to see.


Rodriguez struggles in fourth, Rutschman hits grand slam as O's top Boston - MASN Sports
Brandon Hyde had a positive spin for Grayson Rodriguez's tough fourth inning. It was a good learning experience! That and other thoughts from Hyde here.

Injury Notes: Walker, Vespi, Votto - MLB Trade Rumors
Nick Vespi is going to pitch today! He had hernia surgery over the offseason and has been recovering. Hopefully he can make things interesting in the bullpen competition.

Q&A with Dean Kremer: Talking Team Israel, culture, cooking and great hair game - The Athletic
If you're interested in learning some non-baseball stuff about Dean Kremer, Dan Connolly has you covered.

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have just one Orioles birthday buddy. Will Clark turns 59 years old today. Clark had a long, successful career with the Giants and Rangers before signing with the Orioles ahead of the 1999 season. He spent 1.5 years with the Orioles before finishing his career with the Cardinals. He was dealt at the 2000 trade deadline for José León.

Baseball Reference doesn’t note any Orioles history on this date but there are a few very interesting baseball facts all the same.

In 1917, the manager of the Brooklyn Robins, Wilbert Robinson, attempted to catch a baseball dropped from an airplane at spring training. Casey Stengel, who played for the Robins at the time, swapped out the baseball for a grapefruit, which exploded when it hit his glove. Robinson thought he was drying and the grapefruit juice was blood. Oops!

In historic events that had a more lasting impression on baseball, it was on this day in 1960 that the Chicago White Sox wore player names on the backs of their jerseys, the first team to do so. The reason for it was to make it easier for people watching on TV to identify the players.