Let the games begin! The Baltimore Orioles will take the field today for their first of many spring training games.
After months of sitting around and stewing over a 115-loss season, fans of the Baltimore Orioles get the chance to see the Birds return to the field as spring training 2019 kicks off today.
Yefry Ramirez will take the ball against Chase De Jong and the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon in a televised game at 1:05 pm EST on MASN. It will be the only time fans will have an opportunity to watch a spring training game until February 28th when Baltimore travels to Spectrum Field to take on the Philadelphia Phillies (NBCSP, MLB.TV).
The Twins have made a few notable additions to their roster over the offseason, including former Orioles’ Nelson Cruz and Jonathan Schoop. Neither of whom will be traveling to Sarasota, per MLB.com’s Joe Trezza.
Minnesota has also added C.J. Cron, who slugged 30 home runs with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, and super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez, who was just added Friday morning. Minnesota still may have difficulty in catching up to the Cleveland Indians, however, if the pitching can hold up, a wild card spot may not be out of the picture.
Rogers made three starts as a rookie in 2018, posting an 8.49 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in 11+ innings of work. The lefty showed great control as a New York Yankees prospect and will need to show that if he wants a shot at securing the fifth spot in this Orioles’ rotation.
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If you’re going to watch the first spring training game of the year, you need something to keep your interest, right? Bo Shultz hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2016 after missing 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery and spending 2018 rehabbing in the minor leagues. The former undrafted pitcher who worked his way through indy ball before landing a job with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who he made his MLB debut with, has had limited success in the majors but is a long shot to make the team.
Getting a look at Zach Pop will be well worth your Saturday afternoon. Pop came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, can run his fastball up to 97-98 mph, and just might become an exciting piece to the Baltimore Orioles bullpen in the near future.
Baltimore will stay in Sarasota for their second game on Sunday, when David Hess takes the bump against the Toronto Blue Jays. The game won’t be televised, but the weather for Sunday afternoon around the DMV looks warm and dry (finally), so it might be a great time for a nice long drive and a little Orioles baseball on the radio.
What spring storylines are you excited to follow over the next month? Let us know, Baltimore Orioles fans!