Rule 5 rookie Brandon Bailey throws well, Richie Martin drives in four runs in 11-4 win over Pirates

Rookie right-hander Brandon Bailey looked a little shaky when he took the mound for his first spring start Friday, but he worked out of that jam and pitched two scoreless innings in the Orioles’ 11-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park.

Bailey, who was chosen in December’s Rule 5 draft, must make the major league club out of spring training or be passed through waivers and offered back to the Houston Astros. That means he has a longer leash than some of the other young pitchers in camp, but it never hurts to make a good early impression.


He did that by shaking off a pair of first-inning walks and retiring the last four batters he faced in a hitless performance.

"I try not to think about the Rule 5 thing as much,'' he said, “I’m trying to go into it with the mindset I’m just like everybody else. I’ve got to earn my spot on this team and I think if I just continue trying to focus on my work ethic and getting all my work in and competing just like every body else that the rest will take care of itself.”

The Orioles scored two runs in each of the first three innings on their way to their second double-digit offensive performance in a row.

Most of the offensive production came at the bottom of the batting order, where No. 8 hitter Richie Martin had a single, a double and a three-run triple and No. 9 hitter Andrew Velazquez had two hits and three stolen bases. The two combined for four runs and five RBIs.

Martin was one of the Orioles’ Rule 5 players last year and stayed with the big league club all season. He can be optioned this spring, so he knows he has to have more days like Friday.

"It’s really important,'' he said. “I mean, I’m not in the position where I can be lax. So it’s important to go out every day...I always play like it’s my last game. I think that has to be your mentality no matter who you are.”

Velazquez started in center field and reached base three times. Manager Brandon Hyde is looking for versatility from his middle infield candidates and Velazquez certainly put that on display.

“He’s a speed guy," Hyde said, "and talking to coaches on other team he can do a lot of things, and he showed it today with the bunt single, a couple stolen bases…he’s played shortstop, now he’s played center field. He’s showcasing well and it’s fun to have a guy like that with that kind of speed on the team.”


Mountcastle starts at first, keeps hitting

Top hitting prospect Ryan Mountcastle, who had two doubles and a homer in Thursday’s game, was back in the lineup Friday and playing first base for the first time this spring.

"We’re going to play him at first and left this year and I wanted to give him a few starts out in left field first and get some time out there,'' manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’ll be playing in both spots this spring.”

Mountcastle made a nice save on an errant throw in the third inning and had two more hits, including an RBI double off Pirates starter Trevor Williams in the first.

Hanser stays hot

Hanser Alberto has picked up right where he left off last season. He had two hits, drove in two runs and raised his exhibition batting average to .385.

Around the horn

Top catching prospect Adley Rutschman entered the game in the fourth inning and reached base for the first time this spring with a sixth-inning walk. He also reached on an error in the eighth. ... Pitchers Wade LeBlanc, Hunter Harvey, Miguel Castro pitched in a simulated game Friday morning at Ed Smith Stadium. ... Right-hander Kohl Stewart will throw a side session Saturday. How that goes will determine how close he is to making his exhibition debut.