Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Notes: Akin impresses; Phillips has MRI on elbow

@Sportsgal25
March 5, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Keegan Akin made another strong push for the rotation on Thursday, then looked back fondly at the difference between his current situation and working in Minor League camp last spring. It goes without saying that the Orioles’ No. 11 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is having a lot

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Keegan Akin made another strong push for the rotation on Thursday, then looked back fondly at the difference between his current situation and working in Minor League camp last spring.

It goes without saying that the Orioles’ No. 11 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is having a lot better time in 2020. With the experience comes elevated competition, though: Veteran slugger and former Oriole Nelson Cruz caught a misplaced Akin pitch for a long homer in the first inning of a 3-3 tie with the Twins on Thursday.

Thankfully, at just 24 years old, Akin is already able to put things in perspective.

“Cruz is going to hit his home runs, that is what he’s done his whole career,” he said. “I’ve still got some stuff to work on.”

It was the lone mistake of the day for Akin, who admitted his offspeed pitches weren’t quite where he’d like, but said that was typical for him this early on. Akin may begin the season in Triple-A, but he could also easily linger on late into spring with more outings that show his progression while the O’s whittle down their roster.

“I thought he got better as the game went on,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of Akin, who allowed just the one run on three hits while striking out two and walking one in 2 2/3 innings. “I thought the velo was up early, which was fantastic to see.

“I think there’s still improvement to be made, but I was impressed by the performance.”

“It’s my first [Major League] camp; I’m taking it pretty serious and I want to win a spot,” Akin said. “It’s obviously a little more competitive [than Minor League camp].

“I’d much rather be in this atmosphere playing games rather than throwing sim games or bullpens on a back field. It’s been fun and exciting so far.”

Phillips has MRI on elbow

An MRI on Evan Phillips' sore right elbow revealed a mild strain, and he will head for a second opinion to be sure, Hyde said Thursday. Phillips first noticed a weakness in the arm and approached team staff following his last start, a hitless one-inning outing against the Braves on Feb. 26.

Phillips appeared in 25 games for the O’s out of the bullpen last season and had a 6.43 ERA. He was on the outside bubble of landing a relief role this season, and it’s unknown how much time he’ll miss.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane...

Cedric Mullins held nothing back in the first inning, charging hard to his glove side on a Miguel Sanó liner in the left-center-field gap, then leaping into a full layout to rob the Twins’ slugger of a hit and end the frame.

It may have been just another day at the office for the Orioles’ speedy center fielder, who ranks best among Baltimore outfielders in Outs Above Average and ranks in the 94th percentile in baseball in terms of speed.

Later, Mullins singled to right and came around to score in the third inning, but Akin was more grateful for the Superman dive that kept the lefty moving forward.

“For Cedric to make that play for me was huge,” Akin said. “He’s a really good outfielder and he’s got a lot of speed out there, so that was huge to get me out of the inning after that home run.”

Quick hits

Chris Davis continued his torrid spring, cracking a sinking liner just over third baseman Willians Astudillo’s glove for an RBI single in the third inning. Davis is hitting .500 (6-for-12) and is tied for the team lead with three homers and has taken a team-high six walks through seven Grapefruit League games

José Iglesias did not play Thursday, one day after he was scratched with a cramped right quad, but the O’s shortstop said the measure was purely precautionary.

“Just normal Spring Training soreness,” Iglesias said. “I was able to play today. [Hyde] was, I guess, being conservative, but it should be 100 percent tomorrow.”

Ramón Urías is day to day with shin splints.

• Hyde was hopeful Tommy Milone, who’s dealing with soreness in his trapezius, would throw a side session on Thursday or Friday.

Up next

The Orioles will travel to Tampa on Friday to face the Yankees in a night game. Right-hander Tom Eshelman is slated to take the ball for Baltimore, and New Yok will send Deivi Garcia to oppose him. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. ET.

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