As a Rule 5 pick, Joey Rickard has to be on the Baltimore Orioles lest they want to send him back to Tampa.
The Baltimore Orioles have no choice but to include Joey Rickard on the big league roster out of camp, otherwise he goes back to Tampa. That’s part of the deal when you’re a Rule 5 pick. At this point it’s all but a given because the last thing the O’s will want to have done would be to showcase another team’s player during spring training – and end up losing him.
However there’s another aspect to the Rickard story. He’s earning his way onto the roster – if in fact he ends up making it (which I believe he will). Rickard’s hit .356 thus far this spring, with a home run, 5 RBI, and three stolen bases. His glove has also been an asset in the field, which gives continual fuel to the fire of the potential that he could be a utility outfielder for the Birds.
Coming out of this afternoon’s game, Miguel Gonzalez continued to be a concern for the Orioles. Gonzalez’s line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K. Gonzalez struggled from the outset, giving up a leadoff home run and an RBI-double in the last of the first. Tack on another RBI-single an inning later, and the Orioles trailed 3-0 early.
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With the likes of Gausman already on the shelf for the start of the season, the O’s really need for Gonzalez to be strong. Are we to the point yet to where his spot on the final roster is in question? We might be getting there – but there’s still some time left. For what it’s worth, Gonzalez does have an option left.
Rickart got the Orioles on the board in the third with an RBI-double, which was followed by Daniel Alvarez‘s RBI-ground out later in the inning. That cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-2, however they’d add a homer in the last of the third. But wind-aided (which most home runs were today) or not, the Birds aren’t going to be outdone in the home run department. Paul Janish would smack a solo shot of his own in the fifth, only to have Pittsburgh come back with a two-run shot in the last of the inning.
The good news is that these “baby Birds” battled this afternoon. L.J. Hoes tacked on an RBI-ground out, and Cedric Mullins an RBI-double. That cut the lead to 6-5 with a tying run in scoring position, however the O’s couldn’t bring him home and dropped the game to Pittsburgh.
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Win or lose today, to me the story was Rickart. He’s been a big asset to the Birds thus far this spring, and he’s played his way onto the team so far as I’m concerned. Again, if he’s not on the 25-man roster he goes back to Tampa. That sounds easy enough, but of course the Orioles have to keep him all season as well.
It’s also worth noting that Rickard has hit leadoff a few times, and has faired well. The Orioles are looking at using Machado as their leadoff guy again this year, but we all know he isn’t a true leadoff guy. Could the Orioles not only keep Rickard, but find a way to put him in the lineup regularly so as to have a decent guy batting leadoff?
The Orioles will take on Pittsburgh once again tomorrow, this time in Sarasota. Tyler Wilson will get the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Jonathan Niese of Pittsburgh. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.