Teheran begins building case for roster spot with O's

March 2nd, 2024

SARASOTA, Fla. -- For much of ’s 12-year MLB career, Spring Training results haven’t mattered. He was an anchor of the Braves’ rotation for most of the previous decade, making 30-plus starts every season from 2013-19. He reported to camp knowing he would have a job each year.

That’s no longer the case for the 33-year-old right-hander, who signed a Minor League deal with the Orioles on Wednesday. This spring, he needs to show he could be a valuable addition to Baltimore’s pitching staff. He’ll likely have to string together a handful of good outings to make the team.

Teheran made a strong first impression on Saturday afternoon, when he worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning in the Orioles’ 7-3 Grapefruit League win over the Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium.

“I feel like every game, every outing that I get here is going to count,” Teheran said. “For me, I don’t really put any pressure, I just want to come here and enjoy the game. I was out for two years [in 2021 and '22] and to come back, it was just like a game for me. Now, every time I get the opportunity, I just try to go out there and enjoy this as much as possible.”

It wasn’t hard for Teheran to do that against New York. He first got Trent Grisham to pop out, as catcher Adley Rutschman made a terrific sliding grab on the warning track behind home plate.

Jose Rojas flied out to right field for the second out, then Teheran capped his O’s debut with a strikeout, as Kevin Smith went down swinging. Teheran threw 10 of his 14 pitches for strikes.

“Nice to see him come out here right away and throw strikes, with good offspeed stuff,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

The Orioles are building up Teheran as a starter, but he could have a tough time making the rotation with five starters seemingly in place (, , , and ). But he could be a great option to serve as a long reliever out of the bullpen.

Last year, Teheran recorded a 4.40 ERA in 14 games (11 starts) for Milwaukee after making only one big league appearance with Detroit in 2021, due to a right shoulder injury. He then spent all of '22 pitching in multiple independent leagues.

During the winter, Teheran was working out in Miami, where he threw live batting practice to hitters such as free-agent infielder Jean Segura and Baltimore outfielder Anthony Santander. Teheran is pleased with his stuff and felt a jolt of energy with his return to game action Saturday.

“Especially coming into a new team, it’s a lot of adrenaline,” Teheran said. “You just go out there and compete and show that I’m able to stay here and help the team.”

Irvin continues strong spring
After showcasing increased velocity and a retooled arsenal in his spring debut last Sunday, Irvin had another scoreless showing in his three-inning start vs. the Yankees on Saturday.

Irvin labored more in this 52-pitching outing than he did in his first Grapefruit start -- when he retired all six Pirates batters he faced -- as he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach in all three innings. But the 30-year-old left-hander worked out of trouble each time, inducing double plays in both the second and third.

“Today was nice to get a little sweat -- a little sweat, it was a lot of sweat -- to get a little work in and hold runners and get back in the swing of things there,” said Irvin, the first Orioles starter to pitch into the third inning this spring. “Just all the experiences, right? Just little by little, trying to get better. But all in all, I thought the command of the hard stuff was real good today.”

Worth noting
went deep for the first time this spring, opening the scoring with a fifth-inning solo home run off New York right-hander Cody Morris. Hays finished 2-for-3, adding a two-run single in the sixth.

continued his impressive swing with a two-run homer off left-hander Nick Martinez in the seventh. All three of the left-handed-hitting Stowers’ Grapefruit League home runs have come against southpaws as the 26-year-old outfielder keeps improving his odds to make the Opening Day roster.

• David Rubenstein attended Saturday’s game, taking in the action from one of the suites behind home plate. The private equity billionaire (and Baltimore native) has an agreement in place to buy control stake of the Orioles from the Angelos family. John Angelos, the team’s current chairman/CEO and control person, was seated next to Rubenstein for portions of the game.