Notes: Mountcastle out; Kremer; Lowther

March 25th, 2021

The Orioles have played regularly in left field this spring, prepping the rookie for everyday reps at the position in 2021. His short-term status is now uncertain.

Mountcastle was scratched from the Orioles’ lineup Wednesday night with what manager Brandon Hyde called “a non-physical injury.” instead started in left field in the Orioles’ 2-0 loss to the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.

Hyde did not provide further detail on the injury, saying Mountcastle could return to the lineup Thursday. Mountcastle did not address the media on Wednesday.

“It’s something I can’t disclose right now,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, he’s out there tomorrow.”

Mountcastle, 24, seemed to be getting hot at the plate after a slow start to spring, having homered in two of his past three games before Wednesday. He has a slash line of .256/.250/.615 in 14 Grapefruit League games overall.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Orioles’ No. 5 prospect, Mountcastle is projected to join Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini in the middle of the order after slashing .333/.386/.492 with five homers in 35 games in 2020.

Nevin collected one of the Orioles’ four hits as they were shut out by Nathan Eovaldi and three others in their final game against Boston this spring. The O’s and Red Sox open the regular season against each other April 1 in Boston and play each other 10 times over the season’s first two months.

From the game
Has done enough to claim a rotation job? Though it has been an uneven spring for the rookie, the answer is likely yes.

Kremer’s likely final audition came Wednesday. He struck out five over 4 2/3 innings and allowed a two-run homer by Hunter Renfroe. The right-hander produced 6.32 ERA in five starts in Grapefruit League play across 15 2/3 innings.

Before the game, Hyde challenged Kremer to improve his fastball command. Kremer did struggle at times with control both in 2020 and this spring, walking eight in Grapefruit League play. He issued 12 free passes in 18 2/3 innings down the stretch last summer, when he went 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in four starts.

"It definitely had its ups and downs,” Kremer said of his spring. “For the most part, I think I accomplished what I came here to do: Get a better feel for my stuff and get a spot on this roster.”

More from the game
Providing a highlight in the losing effort Wednesday was No. 12 prospect Zac Lowther, who was summoned from Minor League camp and fired three innings of relief without allowing a baserunner. The right-hander had one strikeout.

Lowther had been optioned to the Minors previously and spent much of his first big league camp on the back fields before that, likely to open the season at Triple-A Norfolk with No. 9 prospect Michael Baumann and No. 21 Alexander Wells. All could be in Baltimore by season’s end.

“That was the first time I’ve seen him in extended game action, and I thought he really threw the ball well,” Hyde said. “I liked the amount of strikes that he threw and how he went out there without fear and attacked their hitters.”

On the airwaves
The Orioles have a new Washington, D.C., radio home. It was announced Wednesday that ESPN 630 AM will be the new D.C. host of the Orioles Radio Network, effective immediately. The station will carry all 2021 Orioles games broadcast on the network.

“Pretty much every guy in this clubhouse is super helpful and friendly, man. In terms of helping each other out, whether or not we’re competing for the same position, everyone is offering their help. Which I think is really cool.”
-- Rule 5 Draft pick Mac Sceroler, on competing for a bullpen spot