Lineup and notes for tonight’s game against Yankees
As mentioned earlier, the Orioles are in the midst of their second day featuring split-squad games. Earlier today, the Orioles – and ten players brought from minor league camp – traveled to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. This evening, the other half of camp is home to host the New York Yankees.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast on MASN and will be the second of four matchups between the Orioles and Yankees this spring. In their first matchup, they played to a tie, with each team scoring two runs a piece after nine innings.
The Orioles struck first in their first meeting on March 1. Austin Hays who led off this afternoon’s game in Port Charlotte, hit his first home run of the spring, a solo shot, while Andrew Susac contributed with a solo home run of his own. Luis Gonzalez, brought over from Minor League camp, gave up a two-run single in the ninth.
David Hess will be making the start for the Orioles this evening in Sarasota. He’s pitched well this spring, only allowing two earned runs in three outings. His first appearance came on February 24 in his first start of the spring against the Toronto Blue Jays. He allowed one run on three hits in two innings, without walking or striking out a batter.
Following his first appearance, Hess made back-to-back relief outings, first on February 28 against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater and last on March 4 against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers. The Phillies struck for one earned run against him in two innings. He walked two batters and struck out one, however, the Twins were held scoreless over three innings and Hess struck out three batters without allowing a walk.
Yacabonis will make his third appearance tonight. He’s pitched four innings this spring and hasn’t allowed a run. He walked one batter during his outing on February 28 against the Phillies in Clearwater, but has struck out five of the 14 batters he’s faced.
Givens – the projected closer this season – will also pitch for the third time tonight. He’s not exactly having the spring everyone would like to see, but it probably won’t hinder his chances of flying north to New York for Opening Day in the Bronx on March 28. He first pitched back on March 1 in a split-squad game against the Rays. He made it through two outs in the third inning, giving up one run on two hits, while walking one and striking out two.
On March 5, Givens made his next appearance in relief and was tagged hard by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Surrendering five earned runs on four hits, he was removed after just two outs in fifth inning.
Araujo will pitch for the fourth time tonight, trying to have his third scoreless outing in-a-row. His first outing on February 28 against the Phillies in Clearwater saw him pitch just a third of an inning, while giving up one earned run on two hits. On March 3 against the Detroit Tigers, Araujo struck out two of the three batters he faced and on Wednesday in Port Charlotte, he allowed two hits to the Rays, while striking out one.
Bleier makes his debut tonight, recovered from lat surgery last summer. As MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported a few days ago, Bleier threw a simulated game that he said counted more than live batting practice because an umpire was used.
“It went fine. It was good,” Bleier told Kubatko. “Everything went fine with that now I’m in a game on Saturday, so we’re ready for game action. As ready as we’re going to be.”
Having recovered from his season-ending injury last season, Bleier told Orioles productions media before Grapefruit League games began that he was trying to impress the new coaches and not just assume he’s already written into the 25-man roster. “For me, just how things have gone my whole career, it’s always been trying to get a spot,” he said. “I just come in looking at it the same way. I’m not taking anything for granted.”
Tonight’s lineup will be led off by Cedric Mullins – who has struggled this spring with just four hits in 24 at-bats – playing center field. Trey Mancini will bat second and play left field, while Chance Sisco and his four home runs will hit third and be the designated hitter. Batting cleanup will be Renato Núñez and Jace Peterson will follow, playing first base, batting fifth. Hanser Alberto will hit sixth tonight and play second base, while Anthony Santander gets the start in right field, batting seventh. Richie Martin will bat eighth and play shortstop and Carlos Pérez will hit ninth, and catch.