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Notes: Zimmermann solid; Alberto OK after HBP

@Sportsgal25
March 7, 2020

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- If a strong showing at Triple-A Norfolk during the second half of last season brought Bruce Zimmermann to the front stoop of the big leagues, his spring outings so far have him banging on the door. On Saturday afternoon, Zimmermann impressed again with a good mix

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- If a strong showing at Triple-A Norfolk during the second half of last season brought Bruce Zimmermann to the front stoop of the big leagues, his spring outings so far have him banging on the door.

On Saturday afternoon, Zimmermann impressed again with a good mix of fastballs and floating changeups during the Orioles’ 1-0 loss to the Rays’ “A” lineup at Charlotte State Park, allowing just one hit over three scoreless innings, with three strikeouts and one walk, signaling once again that he’s ready for his chance.

“It's been exciting; that’s for sure. Going out there and seeing those names in the box that I’ve been watching for the past three or four years,” said Zimmermann, the O’s No. 28 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. “Mainly, it’s just about going out and ... proving to be at this level, you’ve got to pitch well, and to know that I can go out there and do that every five days right now is a big confidence boost.”

Zimmermann gained steam as he went along on Saturday, allowing his lone hit and walk to consecutive Rays in the first inning. A sharp double play ended that threat, and Zimmermann was off to the races from there, facing the minimum in the second and third innings.

The lefty bookended the second inning with strikeouts -- the latter punchout freezing Rays star Kevin Kiermaier in his tracks.

“I thought he threw great,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I thought he had better location of his pitches today, [he] worked ahead of hitters. I thought the changeup was really good.”

Barring injury, Zimmermann is expected to join the Orioles at some point this season, along with fellow top pitching prospects Dean Kremer (No. 9) and Keegin Akin (No. 11).

Sign here, please
The O’s announced on Saturday they have agreed to one-year contracts with all 28 players not elibible for salary arbitration for the 2020 season: Right-handers Shawn Armstrong, Cody Carroll, Hunter Harvey, David Hess, Kremer, Travis Lakins, Evan Phillips, Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate and Asher Wojciechowski; left-handers Akin, Paul Fry, John Means and Tanner Scott; infielders Richie Martin, Renato Núñez, Rio Ruiz and Ramón Urías; outfielders Austin Hays, Ryan McKenna, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Dwight Smith Jr. and DJ Stewart; and catchers Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns.

Better late than never
The Orioles’ team buses were delayed on their way to Charlotte Sports Park on Saturday morning when an active police investigation in North Port, Fla., shut down a 12-mile stretch of southbound Interstate 75.

Three of those miles were on the team’s direct route to the Rays’ ballpark, stretching the 50-minute trip to nearly two hours. The team arrived to the park about half an hour before first pitch, but the game began on time.

Alberto avoids injury
Hanser Alberto was sore but OK after he was hit on the left hand by a Chaz Roe pitch in the third inning. The second baseman stayed in the game long enough to bat again in the fifth -- he flew out to center field -- and he was replaced by Mason McCoy on defense in the bottom of the frame.

Up next
The Orioles return home to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Sunday to face the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET. Kohl Stewart is slated to make his spring debut after being sidelined with right biceps soreness since early camp. Fans who attend the game are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items and/or monetary donations to benefit the All Faiths Food Bank, which aids people in need in the Sarasota community

Dawn Klemish is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow her on Twitter @Sportsgal25.