Orioles left-hander John Means made the road trip to Spectrum Field, and his reward will be the opportunity to face a semblance of the power-heavy Philadelphia Phillies’ regular season lineup Sunday.
Means’ only other start this spring was against the road roster of the Tampa Bay Rays, and he reached his pitch count before completing his second inning. But he showed solid command of his fastball, curve and nasty changeup in an outing that was blemished by a wind-blown leadoff triple that led to a run in the second inning.
This will be a bigger challenge, with Bryce Harper batting second for the Phillies, plus sluggers Rhys Hoskins and newly acquired Didi Gregorius in the four and five holes.
“It’s still his (second) start of the spring, so I’m not putting too much stock in the results,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I want him to feel like he’s executing pitches and he feels like he’s where he needs to be ... But yeah, it’s a nice test. There are some big-boy bats in there today, and I like that. I like it when we play against other team’s guys, and I know that John does, too.”
The Orioles lineup features hot-hitting Hanser Alberto in the leadoff spot, Dwight Smith Jr. batting second and sizzling Ryan Mountcastle third.
Hunter Harvey debut expected Monday
Right-hander Hunter Harvey pitched an inning in a simulated game situation and is expected to make his first exhibition appearance on Monday against the Rays at Ed Smith Stadium.
Harvey said he feels good and, despite the start of his spring throwing program being delayed by a bad case of the flu, he feels confident that he can get ready in time to be in the Opening Day bullpen if he wins a spot there.
DJ Stewart ‘itchy’ to play
Outfielder DJ Stewart is getting to the point in his rehab program and his recovery from microfracture ankle surgery that he can start thinking about getting back into the team’s spring outfield rotation.
“Obviously, I’m always itchy to play,” he said, “but then again, it’s a little bit of a different situation. I want to be out there, but I want to make sure that everything’s right before I get out there.
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“It’s not frustrating because I know this thing takes time to heal, and I’ve dealt with the whole not-playing thing and that’s more frustrating than not playing right now.”