Orioles FAQ: Details on the upcoming season

June 24th, 2020

Baseball is back. After more than a three-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, Orioles players, coaches and staff are en route to Baltimore to report for a second training camp and to prepare for a 60-game regular-season schedule.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2020 MLB season and what it means for the Orioles:

Where will camp take place, and when?
The Orioles are holding their summer camp at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, beginning on July 1. Camps will consist mostly of workouts and intrasquad games, with the chance that a few exhibition games against other teams could be played toward the end of camp.

When and where is Opening Day?
MLB anticipates Opening Day occurring on July 23 or 24, per its official release. The schedule will need to be approved by the Major League Baseball Players Association -- expected in the next week or so -- before being released. So for now, we don’t know if the O’s will start at home or on the road, or who their opponent will be for the opening series.

Which teams will be on the schedule?
Each team is scheduled to play a 60-game schedule, two-thirds of the games against their regular interdivision rivals and the other third against regional Interleague clubs. The Orioles will play 40 games against the American League East and 20 against the National League East. That equates to 10 games each against the Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, and four each against the Braves, Mets, Marlins, Nationals and Phillies.

How are the Orioles' injured players doing?
The Orioles’ most significant injury situation is not affected by the truncated season, as Trey Mancini was expected to miss the entire year regardless of length while undergoing treatment for colon cancer.

At the time baseball was paused, the O's next most pressing injury involved Mancini’s likely replacement in right field, DJ Stewart. Stewart was in the final stages of recovering from right ankle surgery in March, but he is expected to be fully healed at the start of summer camp.

Right-hander Evan Phillips was sidelined by a sore elbow when camp closed in March, so the Orioles must decide to place Phillips on the injured list or include him on their taxi squad (more on that below).

What are some competitions to watch when camp resumes?
Stewart will have to earn his reps in right field, battling Dwight Smith Jr. and possibly Ryan Mountcastle for time at the position. Depending on how they handle their taxi squad, it’s possible the O’s could throw No. 7 prospect Yusniel Diaz in the mix, as well.

Andrew Velazquez and Pat Valaika were battling for a utility spot when camp was paused, but expanded rosters could allow the Orioles to initially squeeze both players and Richie Martin on without issue. That would mean the likes of Stevie Wilkerson, Dilson Herrera and Richard Ureña are probably destined for taxi squad duties to start.

The O's rotation competition was mostly settled when camp closed, with Wade LeBlanc and Kohl Stewart set to follow John Means, Alex Cobb and Asher Wojciechowski, and Tommy Milone and Hector Velázquez profiling more as swingmen. No. 28 prospect Bruce Zimmerman looks like a taxi squad candidate after his strong spring in Sarasota.

Travis Lakins, Tanner Scott, Dillon Tate, Cole Sulser and Cody Carroll all left camp on the bubble for one or two open bullpen jobs. Expanded rosters could allow Baltimore to carry several of them if it wishes.

How do the roster rules affect the Orioles?
Expanded rosters will work like so: Teams can field a 30-man Opening Day active roster, which they must reduce to 28 players at the season’s two-week mark. Two weeks later, on Day 29 of the season, they must slice that roster to 26 players. They will then carry 26 players for the rest of the season.

The initial expanded roster could allow the Orioles to carry several more utility types and pitchers than they originally planned. It also presents the opportunity to carry nearly ready prospects like Mountcastle, Diaz, Zimmerman and/or Keegan Akin (No. 11 per MLB Pipeline), all of whom were expected to debut at some point in 2020.

In addition to the 40-man roster, teams will be allowed to carry an additional 20 players. The Orioles could use those spots to keep top prospects like Adley Rutschman active, even if they weren’t on track to debut in the Majors this year. Each team will also be permitted a three-player Taxi Squad for every road trip, picked from the 60-player pool. Inclusion on a taxi squad would not affect said prospect’s service time, per the new rules.

The regular injured list will be for 10 days in 2020 for both position players and pitchers, as it was in '19. MLB is also instituting a special COVID-19-related injured list for players who test positive, have confirmed exposure or are exhibiting symptoms. There would not be a minimum or maximum number of days players can spend on this list.

Players optioned or outrighted off the roster must remain that way for a minimum of 10 days before they can be recalled.

How can I watch the games?
While it is not yet finalized, it’s expected that all Orioles games will be televised exclusively by MASN, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Out-of-market Orioles games can be streamed LIVE on MLB.TV on your favorite supported devices.

How can I listen?
Radio broadcasts of Orioles games are expected to be carried on Entercom 105.7 The Fan, the flagship station of the Orioles Radio Network. All O's games can be listened to LIVE online or on the go with MLB Audio.