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Orioles observations on DL Hall’s ‘all-time high’ feel for his pitches, Tyler Wells’ final audition and more

The slow start to spring training might have set DL Hall’s timeline back, but it didn’t alter his stuff.

After his second spring outing Saturday, Hall was encouraged by how his pitches performed against a Pittsburgh Pirates lineup mostly filled with regulars.

“My feel is probably at an all-time high,” Hall said. “My feel for all my pitches has been great.”

Hall, the Orioles’ No. 2 pitching prospect, worked 2 1/3 innings in relief and threw 50 pitches — another step as the 24-year-old continues building up as a starter. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out three, displaying the pitch arsenal that made him a first-round selection in 2017 and ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect.

“The stuff was really good again tonight,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Really impressed with the strike throwing. The strike-throwing ability the last couple times has been really good. Good changeup, good slider with him and a mid-90s fastball right now that he’s commanding well.”

Hall struck out Ke’Bryan Hayes on a slider in his first inning and Jack Suwinski on a fastball in his second. He totaled eight swings in misses and averaged 93.2 mph to 94.8 mph on his fastball — a few ticks slower than his 96.2 mph average in his short stint in Baltimore last season that came mostly as a reliever.

“You always want to light up the radar gun, but right now for me it’s getting that feel back, getting that stamina back,” Hall said. “Once we’re in Camden Yards, we’ll start letting it go.”

Hyde and Hall both said the left-hander got tired in his final inning, which ended with a walk before Hall was pulled.

“Obviously, I finished out of the bullpen last year, so just getting back into that starter routine and getting that stamina back after taking this time off [and] a late start,” Hall said.

The Orioles now have a few days to decide which path to choose with the talented pitcher: Send him to Triple-A to be a starter, or put him in the big league bullpen and continue building him up there.

“I’m ready for whatever they throw at me,” Hall said. “I’m just looking forward to taking the opportunity to get big league hitters out, no matter out of the pen or starting.”

To Wells, or not to Wells?

Did Tyler Wells do enough to make the starting rotation?

That question will be answered early next week, likely Monday. But Wells started his final Grapefruit League game Saturday, and it was easily his best outing of the spring.

In five efficient innings, Wells allowed just two hits and one run (zero earned) with no walks and two strikeouts in the Orioles’ 6-4 win. After allowing a leadoff single in the first, Wells retired 14 of the next 16 batters, including a double play. He threw just 62 pitches to get through five innings against a Pirates lineup with six regulars.

“Love what he did,” Hyde said. “Once again, he pounded the strike zone like he did his last start. He’s getting better feel for his offspeed. I thought his fastball had good life. He’s had pretty clean innings.”

Wells entered camp as one of 12 pitchers competing for the five rotation spots. That competition is down to six candidates for three spots, as veteran Kyle Gibson was named the opening day starter and Dean Kremer the No. 2 starter. It’s possible that the team’s choice for the final spot could come down to Wells, one of the club’s best starters for the first half of 2022, or Grayson Rodriguez, the organization’s top pitching prospect.

“To say whether I deserve it or not, that’s not up to me,” Wells said. “I think the organization’s going to do what they can do to put the best team out there.”

Wells struggled to open camp with nine runs allowed in his first seven innings, but he pitched well against the New York Yankees’ regulars Sunday and carried that over into his final spring start.

“Overall, I think spring has been pretty solid,” Wells said. ” I’ve had a couple of rough outings, and I think that overall the plan has been very consistent. I feel like I’ve thrown a lot of strikes. I feel like I’ve competed against guys. It’s also crazy to think, too, that it’s hard to compare to other spring trainings because this is the first normal one we’ve had in a long time. I’m overall very happy with it, and I think this is a good way to kind of top it off for the time being.”

Also against the Pirates, Jordan Westburg hit a two-RBI double, Anthony Bemboom hammered a two-run home run and Ryan O’Hearn blasted a solo homer. Westburg is one of the club’s top infield prospects, and O’Hearn is one of several hitters in the backup first base/left-handed bench bat competition.

Tate’s timeline

Hyde said reliever Dillon Tate’s forearm strain isn’t severe enough for him to open the season on the 60-day injured list.

However, Hyde did provide an update on Tate’s potential return, saying the right-hander would be back in mid-May “if all goes well.” Hyde said Tate has suffered “no setbacks” in his recovery, although the timeline of mid-to-late May that Hyde provided is a little later than the timeline of most or all of April that executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said to open camp.

Veteran reliever Mychal Givens said he’s taking his sore left knee “day by day.” Givens, 32, said there wasn’t a specific moment he injured his knee, instead joking it’s his “old age.”

Givens hasn’t pitched since March 16, and his readiness for opening day is in question.

“My last outing was real frustrating,” Givens said. “Even though it was good, it was tough getting over my front leg. Pretty much it was really frustrating, because I don’t deal with a lot of injuries in my career. Right now, I want to continue that and be able to not go on the [injured list] but do what’s best for the team and for myself.”

Third baseman Ramón Urías was back in the lineup Saturday after missing the past two games with a bruised thumb. Urías went 0-for-3 and made an error at second base.

Hyde said after the game that catcher James McCann, who hasn’t played since Monday, has soreness in his side. The team is being “precautionary” by holding him out and is hopeful he can play at some point in the Orioles’ final two spring training games.

Grapefruit League

Phillies at Orioles

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM


Source: Berkshire mont

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