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Thursday Bird Droppings: Three weeks until the Orioles season gets under way

Félix Bautista and DL Hall are set to throw BP soon. They remain in the Orioles Opening Day mix.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Félix Bautista will throw live batting practice in a few days. Can the Orioles ramp him up in time for Opening Day?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now only three weeks remaining until Orioles Opening Day. That’s just 21 days from today, a uniform number currently in use by Austin Hays. The real deal approaches.

Between now and then, another 20 spring training games remain to be played. Two of the days have split squad games. Today’s spring training contest, like so many have been, will not have an Orioles TV or radio broadcast. However, the 1:05 game in Phillies camp is going to be on that team’s television network, so if you can watch through or other means, you can tune in to the game and see whoever is there to see.

In yesterday’s game, the Orioles beat the Pirates, 7-4. Austin Hays connected for a three-run home run and Ryan Mountcastle hit a grand slam. That was the O’s offense. These righty batters are going to face a tougher environment in Baltimore, as they did last year. Possible Opening Day starter Kyle Gibson tossed three scoreless innings and possible multi-inning relief option Keegan Akin added a pair of scoreless frames himself. The Orioles are now 5-6-1 in the exhibition schedule, having won three of four.

The main goal of the spring training preparation is to get people in shape for the season without anyone getting hurt. Thus far, the Orioles have been successful at this, although they did open up camp with a couple of “Surprise! This guy got hurt over the offseason” developments.

Manager Brandon Hyde told O’s reporters yesterday that DL Hall (back) and Félix Bautista (knee) are both going to be throwing live batting practice within a few days. Bautista and Hall seem to still be in the mix for Opening Day, though Hall’s injury officially rules him out of beginning the season in the major league rotation. Also, Dillon Tate threw from a half-mound as he works his way back from a forearm strain that’s expected to knock him out for the first month of the season.

Around the blogO’sphere

‘Those precious seconds’: Orioles hitters having more trouble than pitchers adjusting to new pitch clock (The Baltimore Sun)
One of the things that’s strange about trying to look forward to this season is that the rules have radically changed and we can’t even guess whether that impact will be shared equally. Some could be wrecked by the pitch clock or the shift ban while others are revived by either or both.

Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle aim for consistency (
The two guys who homered yesterday are looking to put together their first full seasons where they are good for the whole year. Hays had a .626 OPS after the All-Star break in 2022. Mountcastle was better, but still not good, with a .691 second half split for OPS.

Orioles don’t need to worry about some slow starters (School of Roch)
After the obligatory reminder to take spring training stats with a grain of salt, Roch highlights a few guys who’ve sucked so far, including new acquisitions James McCann and Adam Frazier.

Rutschman profiting from his first full Orioles spring training (Baltimore Baseball)
Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin are both impressed with Adley Rutschman. As well anyone should be!

After surprising 2022 season, Spenser Watkins hopes a new pitch will make his spot in the O’s rotation permanent (The Baltimore Banner)
I’ve got to admit that I’ve been pretty much ignoring Spenser Watkins as a rotation option, but if he can beat the odds to take a step forward in his age 30 season, he could be a cromulent choice. Of course, there are a lot of guys pinning hopes on a new pitch in spring training that will totally evaporate as soon as they make contact with the regular season.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today: Happy 29th to reliever Yennier Canó, who arrived in last year’s Jorge López trade. A couple of former Orioles also have birthdays today: 2021 one-gamer Zack Burdi, and 2011 reliever Clay Rapada.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: continental namesake Amerigo Vespucci (1451), first man in space Yuri Gagarin (1934), actor Oscar Isaac (1979), and actress Brittany Snow (1986).

On this day in history...

In 1862, during the Civil War, ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia fought against one another in the Battle of Hampton Roads. The Confederate ship had sunk two wooden-hulled American ships the previous day in an attempt to break the blockade of Southern ports; Monitor’s arrival halted the effort. Neither ship inflicted much damage on the other, but the battle is influential to history anyway as all shipbuilding powers realized wooden hulls would never be effective again.

In 1959, the Barbie doll appeared for the first time. It was shown off at an international toy fair in New York.

In 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed. The murder is still unsolved.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 9. Have a safe Thursday.