Orioles’ Richie Martin sits for third straight game as Brandon Hyde tries to ‘let him have success’

Orioles shortstop Richie Martin spent Saturday morning at Roosevelt Park working with more than 300 youth baseball and softball players from the Baltimore area on defensive fundamentals as part of a Play Ball clinic.

Saturday afternoon, he was out of Brandon Hyde’s lineup for the third straight game as the Orioles’ manager tries to find ways to get his 24-year-old rookie into advantageous situations. Since doubling his extra-base hit total for the season with two in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Martin has appeared only once, entering as a late-game defensive replacement. Saturday was the seventh time in nine games with the opponent starting a right-hander that Martin has sat.


“Just trying to pick good matchups for Richie,” Hyde said. “Like the way he swung the bat that day, the doubleheader game, and if we have the lead, obviously, he'll go in there for defense. But yeah, this is more of just me trying to let him have success and find the right matchups for him.”

Before the doubleheader, Martin was batting .164 and had two hits with seven strikeouts in his prior 17 at-bats. His double and triple against Chicago raised his average 19 points.


Martin said his absence had nothing to do with an injury, with Hyde saying it was more related to getting the hot-hitting Hanser Alberto into the lineup. Martin expressed no qualms regarding his recent absences.

“It's not up to me,” he said. “I just do what I'm told. … I'm just here to do my job.”

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The Orioles acquired Martin from the Oakland A’s with the first pick of the Rule 5 draft, meaning they must keep him on the 25-man roster throughout the season or return him to his original organization. Although the leap from Double-A to the majors has challenged Martin, it hasn’t fazed him.

“It's the same game,” Martin said. “I don't think anything is really overwhelming. Differences? It's pretty much the same game. It's just bigger stadiums, bigger cities. That's pretty much it.

“Everyone always says you're gonna have a big jump, whether it be Double-A, Triple-A, going from High-A to Double-A, but they're throwing the same fastballs, the same breaking speed. They're definitely more consistent. A lot of the guys can throw what they want in what counts they want, but other than that, a 96 mile-per-hour fastball's 96 whether you're here or rookie ball. I don't think it's much of a difference."

Wilkerson thrilled

Stevie Wilkerson had 17 lifetime innings in center field before playing nine out there Friday.

He made a nice play tracking a ball to the warning track amid a clean game as the Orioles continue to experiment with different outfield looks since the demotion of Cedric Mullins left Wilkerson and Joey Rickard as Hyde’s lone center field options. Wilkerson, primarily an infielder throughout his career, has handled the test thus far.

“I think center field is the one outfield spot you hope you get a chance to play,” Wilkerson said. “When I saw my name in the card yesterday playing center, it was exciting. It was a good opportunity, and I had fun with it.”

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Despite the lack of experience, Wilkerson said the position felt somewhat natural because of the time he has spent out there during batting practice. Hyde has been pleased with the extremely small sample size he’s seen of Wilkerson in center.

“We're going to throw him out there again,” Hyde said. “We don't have a true center fielder on this club, so it's a little bit by committee right now and giving Stevie a look."

He’s open to more experimentation if needed, noting he’s caught some bullpens in case the Orioles ever need to turn to him as an emergency catcher.

“If Hyder told me to grab some gear, I'd grab some gear,” Wilkerson said.


Around the horn

Hyde said right-handed reliever Nate Karns will receive a second medical opinion on his forearm soreness Monday. … Right-hander Cody Carroll, who has not pitched this season because of lower back soreness, will resume throwing Monday and should be ready to throw a bullpen by the middle of the month, Hyde said.

A Major League Baseball arbitration committee issued its long-awaited decision that the Orioles-controlled Mid-Atlantic Sports Network must pay the neighboring Washington Nationals increased fees for the right to broadcast their games.

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