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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The World Baseball Classic is underway

Adley is heaped with praise, an off-season reminder, and players impressing in Sarasota.

World Baseball Classic Pool A: Cuba v Netherlands Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Baseball games that count are happening. The Netherlands beat Cuba 4-2 yesterday to nab the first win of the tournament, and there are a few more games on tap today. But you will have to stay up late to catch the action taking place in Asia. For those of you most interested in Orioles (current and former) taking part in the tournament, Mark put together a guide for you this week.

As for the Orioles still in Sarasota, the exhibition games March on. The Birds lost 7-6 to the Twins on Tuesday.

Grayson Rodriguez pitched again, giving up one run over 2.2 innings, walking two and striking out four. His 55 pitches would seem to indicate he is on a fine trajectory to be fully stretched by Opening Day. Better yet, his velocity and stuff continue to show up. He sure seems healthy and ready to head north with the big league club.

Spenser Watkins also delivered three innings and allowed one. It’s still tough to see him making the rotation, but he could be putting himself into the long relief role considering the struggles of Austin Voth.

The offense saw a big three-hit game from non-roster invitee Josh Lester, and a pair of walks for prospect Colton Cowser.

The Pirates are back in Sarasota today, where Kyle Gibson will make his second start for the O’s. First pitch is 1:05 with a Pittsburgh radio feed available on


Adley’s other elite defensive skill |
Adley Rutschman is very good at baseball. If you needed even more evidence, here it is. The Orioles have endured some rough play behind the plate in-between Matt Wieters’ hayday and the Rutschman era. For the next few years, at least, we will get to see a master at work.

Adley Rutschman Steps Up as Leader for Baltimore Orioles | The New York Times
A profile story of an Orioles the New York Times? Adley’s agent must be working overtime pitching these stories. This piece also paints the organization in a rather favorable light, calling them “careful” and “considered” this offseason rather than some of the adjectives I would probably use.

Three players who earned notice in Orioles camp | Roch Kubatko
I do not buy that the Orioles are going to use a major league roster spot on a backup first baseman unless that person can also truly handle another position on the field. Lewin Díaz is said to be a defensive whiz at first, but there is no indication he can move to the outfield. Ryan O’Hearn has some more varied experience, playing left and right field previously and some this spring. But even so, it makes more sense for switch hitters Anthony Santander and Rutschman to serve as Ryan Mountcastle’s understudy once or twice a week. Should an injury arise, then by all means bring up Díaz, O’Hearn, or someone else to fill a need for a week or two.

Off-season In Review Chat: Baltimore Orioles - MLB Trade Rumors
Ah yes, another reminder that the Orioles had a boring off-season in which they did relatively little to support their talented young core. Woo!

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Mark Worrell celebrates his 40th today. The righty relieved four games for the 2011 Orioles.
  • Chris Lambert is also 40 today. His O’s stint lasted four games in the 2009 bullpen.
  • The late Ryan Freel (b. 1976, d. 2012) was born on this day. The outfielder played in nine games for the 2009 Orioles.
  • Mike Moriarty turns 49. His only MLB experience was eight games with the 2002 Birds.
  • A posthumous birthday for Marv Breeding (b. 1934, d. 2006). From 1960 through ‘62, the Alabama native played all over the Orioles infield.

This day in O’s history

2001 - The Orioles announce that outfielder Albert Belle had “been found to be total disabled and unable to perform as a Major League baseball player.” This came about as a result of Belle’s degenerative right hip

2016 - Pedro Alvarez agrees to a one-year, $5.75 million deal with the Orioles to be the team’s designated hitter.