Orioles to honor Frank Robinson on uniforms

February 20th, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles will honor late icon Frank Robinson during Grapefruit League play and will continue to do so throughout the season, with a patch on the sleeves of their uniforms. The patch features Robinson's No. 20 in orange against a black background.

Robinson, who passed away on Feb. 7 at age 83, spent nearly a quarter of his four-decade Major League career with Baltimore, serving separate stints as a player, manager and coach. Among his many accomplishments, Robinson won the Triple Crown and the American League MVP Award with Orioles in 1966, led the club to World Series titles in '66 and '70, and was the first black manager in franchise history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1982 and ranks among the franchise leaders in on-base and slugging percentage, among other categories.

“I was a kid when he was manager of the Giants, and that’s when I started loving baseball,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I have so much respect for what he’s done in the game, and how much he means to the city of Baltimore as well as the other cities he played and managed in. That was a tough day when he passed away. My heart goes out to his family. I know how much he impacted so many people, not just in the game but in life in general.”

The Robinson patch will make the right sleeve of the Orioles’ jersey a crowded place come Opening Day. All 30 Major League teams will wear special “MLB 150” patches on their right sleeves for the entire 2019 season, and the Orioles are no exception. The MLB 150 strips, meant to honor the 150th anniversary of the 1869 Red Stockings, will be located below the Robinson logo and wrap around the arm.

Spring rotation

Competition for the Orioles fifth starter job is set to begin immediately, with the club tabbing right-hander Yefry Ramírez to start Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Twins.

The club has not revealed who will follow Ramirez, whose pitch count figures to be limited.

What’s clear is that after nearly two weeks of side sessions, the 1:05 p.m. ET opener at Ed Smith Stadium will provide Hyde and his staff their first in-game looks at a group of hurlers, including Ramirez, who went 1-8 with a 5.92 ERA in 17 games (12 starts) as a rookie in 2018.

“I’m impressed and excited to watch him,” Hyde said. “I think talking with him, looking at his stuff, I think he wants to improve his command and be more aggressive in the zone. Not shy away from contact and attack hitters. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Other candidates for the fifth starter spot include right-handers , , Luis Ortiz, Dillon Tate, and southpaws Josh Rogers and John Means.

“There are not a whole lot of opportunities out there, so I’m very thankful for that and hopefully things go well," Ramirez said. "I think (starting the first game) is very important.”

Machado reaction

Right-hander Alex Cobb was one of several Orioles to react positively to the news of former teammate Manny Machado's record 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres.

“Obviously he got the deal he was looking for,” Cobb said. “I wish the process went a little quicker. That’s what’s been frustrating for a lot of people, the time it’s taking. It’s getting close to cutting into getting prepared for the season. But overall, I think Manny did really well. He got what he was looking for. He signed the richest contract in history so it’s hard to find many faults with it.”

Cobb, though, stopped short of saying the deal was enough to alleviate concerns about the slow-moving free-agent market. It took Cobb until after camp opened last year to ink his four-year, $57 million pact with the Orioles.

“I don’t think you can look at one deal and say, 'We’re fixed,’" Cobb said. “There are still a lot of issues going on. There are still three All-Star, MVP, World Series champion, Cy Young-types looking for jobs. ... I think there are very deserving and talented big league players who have had to settle for Minor League deals this year. To say that it’s all set and both sides are content at how free agency has gone, after one good deal, isn’t responsible to say.”

Around the horn

• Non-roster infielder Jack Reinheimer was back on the field a day after being struck in the left biceps with a pitch during live batting practice. The resulting contusion is not considered serious.

• Without going into specifics, Hyde said he received good news about catcher Jesus Sucre, who has yet to arrive in camp due to visa issues. Sucre was signed to a Minor League deal earlier this month to compete for a job, but he remains in his native Venezuela.