We are just six days away from Opening Day! I know, right?!
It’s hard to believe that a full 162 will be played again, with fans in attendance at a limited capacity. But before you buy your tickets to the game, there are a few things you should know regarding the O’s roster.
So, without further ado, welcome to the third and final edition of SpringNotes!
1. Wade LeBlanc is Back
It didn’t take long for the O’s to re-sign veteran lefty Wade LeBlanc; in fact, it only took a day.
LeBlanc was originally in camp on a minor league deal, and the 12-year vet was fighting for a job in the starting rotation or a long relief job in the O’s bullpen.
Before his release from the team, LeBlanc put up solid numbers in the three games he pitched in spring. In eight innings, LeBlanc gave up just three runs, while also striking out seven and pitching to a 2-1 record and 2.25 ERA.
The O’s granted LeBlanc his release from his $800,000 deal, only to sign him again a day later. LeBlanc will go back on the camp roster and earn $700,000 if he’s in the majors, as first reported by USA Today.
So yes, Mike Elias brought Wade LeBlanc back for $100,000 less. He is an absolute thief of a GM!
Putting LeBlanc back on the roster threatens the chances of other pitchers remaining in the competition, including Rule 5 picks Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells. However, with the recent news of Keegan Akin being optioned to Triple-A, there is still a chance all three names mentioned make the club out of spring.
2. Options, Reassignments, and Roster Configuration; O’ my!
The Orioles made a lot of roster moves, and that is typical at this point in spring.
First off, “The Dark Knight” Matt Harvey has officially made the team and has claimed a spot on the 40-man roster, which is now full but destined to change before Opening Day.
“I’m not trying to be as good as I was. I’m trying to be better.”Matt Harvey on his goals heading into 2021
Harvey signed with the O’s on a minor league deal this offseason, as the 32-year-old looks to regain his early career success on the mound. He will make $1 million this season.
In other news, the O’s optioned a handful of players to Triple-A Norfolk or reassigned them to the Twin Lakes Park.
This week, the O’s optioned Jahmai Jones, Richie Martin, and, to many fans’ surprise, Keegan Akin to Triple-A Norfolk. Akin was destined to be a member of the O’s starting rotation but has struggled in spring.
Left-handed pitcher Fernando Abad and outfielder Chris Shaw were both reassigned to Twin Lakes Park, as both will most likely begin the season at the Triple-A level.
The Birds still have a lot of decisions to make regarding their pitching staff before April 1. They have to decide whether they will go with a five-or-six-man rotation, along with whether they will carry 13 or 14 total arms.
They also have to decide whether to keep Rule 5 picks Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells or send them back to their original clubs. At least one of them looks like they will make the team, but which man will it be?
3. Injury Updates
There are a few injury updates that fans need to know before the start of the 2021 season.
Let’s start with the one everyone wants to know; Chris Davis. Yes, Davis has not played a spring training game since the first one. Crush has been dealing with a considerable amount of back pain, suffering the injury during the first game of spring.
It was announced by Brandon Hyde today that Davis has been officially placed on the 60-day injured list with a lower back strain. He will not be eligible to play until late May.
DJ Stewart has not played in Grapefruit League action in a few weeks due to a hamstring injury that he suffered on March 5.
Although taking at-bats in intrasquad games and participating in fielding drills, Stewart is still not 100 percent heading into the final days of spring training.
The most logistical move is to put Stewart on the 10-day injured list to begin the season, but we won’t know for sure until the very end of spring. However, Brandon Hyde said that he needs more at-bats.
Of course, we also found out a few weeks ago that Hunter Harvey will begin the year on the 60-day injured list with an oblique strain. He won’t be eligible to play until mid May.
O’s prospect Alex Wells has also dealt with an oblique issue for most of spring. Wells is on a throwing program, but there is no rush with him, as he will eventually go to the Alternate Training Site in Bowie while waiting for Norfolk’s season to begin in May.
Lastly, Félix Hernández threw a bullpen session yesterday, and Brandon Hyde said that it was “encouraging”. Hernández was scheduled to play catch today and be re-evaluated.
There is no timetable on when “The King” will return to the mound, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he will go on the injured list.
Did you write all that down? Did you take notes? Good, because we’re under a week away from the 2021 season! We hope you enjoyed this edition of SpringNotes!
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on any of the topics covered, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!