Bradish keeps racing towards the rotation point, Vavra singles in return (game ends 5-5)


SARASOTA, Fla. — Kyle Bradish tonight became the first Orioles pitcher to make three starts this spring. He is the first to work four innings.

Nobody did it better.

Bradish knocked out the Twins in the first three frames before Matt Wallner hit with an out on the fourth homer. He knocked out the next two batters to give him eighth for the game.

“Pretty happy,” he said. “Everything was really good. Commanded the zone from the second.”

“Did really good stuff again,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Some deep counts there early but I thought he got better as the game progressed. Really good breaking ball. I love that he’s throwing that two-seamer he introduced in the second half of last year which is a made a big difference. He just carried that work into this year. He’s doing a great job so far this spring.”

The switch was again a key part of his success tonight, accounting for about 30 percent of his stake.

“It’s just a playing field that helps me get back on the plane and keep time when I have big misses on my arm,” he said.

The right-hander has given up two runs and four hits in nine innings, and he’s hit 12 batters with just two walks. His impressive second half of the 2022 season bleeds into exhibition matches.

Will not affect his chances of challenging for an opening day start.

“He’s impressive,” said Terrin Vavra. “He goes about his business as well as anyone in the league and his stuff is up there too. It’s fun to play the defense, it’s fun to look at the radar gun every once in a while and see him ramp it up there. He’s a great teammate and it’s really fun to watch and play behind him.”

Bradish doesn’t see himself as a ready-made spring product. He enlisted the help of pitching coach Chris Holt tonight to fix a mechanical failure.

“The front was a bit sloppy today, it kind of sped down the hill,” he said.

“Slider just wasn’t really there. I probably threw away two or three good ones out of 10, so I’m still working on that, but I’m not overly concerned about it.”

Four of the eight strikeouts were searching. Bradish twice made Brooks Lee swing and threw away the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft and a player who was on the Orioles’ board.

Bradish credited catcher James McCann’s court selection for the called third shots.

“He kind of worked top-down, in and out for everyone,” Bradish said. “And then we worked backwards early and were a heavy fastball in the third and fourth innings.”

The Orioles haven’t committed to their five starters. Bradish certainly makes a strong case for his inclusion.

“Yes, I would like to believe that,” he said. “I think after my performance in the second half of last year and after getting my job this year and doing my business the way I do it, I think I should fight for it. But like I said, it’s not my fault. I just want to go out there, do my thing and let what happens.”

* Vavra returned to the lineup after being unavailable due to a left shoulder ailment. In his first at-bat, he hit a single in midfield and made it 7-on-12.

Delayed but not denied.

“Everything felt good,” he said. “It’s been a few days, I haven’t really had any symptoms. Just good to get back out there and get some bats, see some pitches.

And good to get another hit right away.

“This game is pretty tough, so when you can get a good result it always feels good,” he said. “I was just happy to put a barrel on it. I feel like I was on time with everything. It’s good to see some breaking balls and just measure yourself. Overall it’s just fun to get back out there.”

Vavra jumped the mound in third to strand Adam Frazier after a two-out double, and Josh Lester replaced him on third base. He should be out of the game.

“I think I’ll be back in there tomorrow,” he said. “The important part was just seeing a few pitches, sort of getting back into the game. I think that’s all part of their development. I don’t ask too many questions. When they told me to come out, I come out.”

Hyde confirmed Vavra will be in the line-up in Dunedin on Saturday.

Vavra played an inning of third base in the minors but has made a few starts this spring.

“I would be lying if I said I felt particularly safe. I haven’t played too many games over there, but I’m confident in my athletic ability, I’m confident in how many times I’ve played this game and watched this game, and ultimately I’m pretty confident in my ability to adapt,” he says.

“Having confidence in these things, knowing how I’m preparing, knowing how I’m working every day to get a little bit better at it, I think I find some confidence in that. But as far as just getting into the environment is concerned, it’s different. It doesn’t feel quite normal, so to speak, but I’m definitely pretty confident about how I’m working to get better there.”

* The Orioles broke a 3-3 tie at the end of the eighth, gave up two in the ninth and played to a 5-5 tie.

Maverick Handley went on an out, went to third base with Mark Koloszvary’s gift double – right fielder Wilie Joe Garry Jr. stumbled chasing the ball in the wind and rain – Jackson Holliday struck, Colton Cowser went around bases to load, and scored two runs when shortstop Danny De Andrade made a mistake trying to stop Connor Norby’s groundball.

Eduardo Bazardo allowed two runs in the top of ninth place while it was raining sideways.

Back-to-back doubles from Ryan Mountcastle and Kyle Stowers early in the last quarter split the game 1-1. Mountcastle has six hits this spring — four doubles, a triple and a home run.

Mychal Givens played a scoreless fifth inning with one hit and two strikeouts. He was also called up for his third balk in two appearances.

Seth Gray hit a game-defining home run off Bryan Baker in game six as the first rain felt since we arrived at spring practice. Baker allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Cade Povich allowed the go-ahead run to score on two walks and Mikey Perez’s double in the seventh, but he knocked out the next two batters and returned for a scoreless eighth that included a walk and a strikeout.

Josh Lester stayed hot, posting a game-defining RBI single into left field at the bottom of seventh after Ryan McKenna’s leadoff double. Lester is 6-for-11 in his last three games.

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