When Buck Britton was promoted to the manager of Triple-A Norfolk, among the duties he was most looking forward to was telling players they were heading to the majors for the first time.
Friday night, he got to deliver that news to top Orioles prospect Adley Rutschman.
Rutschman, baseball’s No. 1 prospect, was officially added to the Orioles’ roster Saturday morning. The night before, Britton called him into the visiting manager’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Rutschman had received a night off after catching three straight games.
Rutschman and his teammates had waited around in the clubhouse after the Tides’ game finished, watching the 13-inning walk-off win for the Orioles over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“They sold it pretty good,” Rutschman said Saturday at Camden Yards. “I thought, if at any time it would’ve been, it would’ve been pretty quick after the game. But they waited a while afterwards, so I didn’t have too many suspicions.”
Here’s how Britton told Rutschman he was heading to the majors, thanks to a video the Orioles shared.
Britton: “You can have a seat. I was just going to tell you, dude, you’ve had a lot going on, all right?”
Britton: “A lot of hype. Today, I think, was a lot about managing your workload. You caught three games in a row. I don’t want you to feel like, ‘Oh, why didn’t I play?’ I know you had that question.
“But they’re trying to be as careful as they can with you. I will say, like, the way you’ve handled all of this has been super impressive. I’m not shocked because the first day I saw you in 2020, there was something different, but the way you’ve handled it and carried yourself, I just want to make sure that you know that you don’t have to do more than you’re doing, all right? What you’re doing is plenty. Don’t go out there and do anything more than you have to.
“We’re not looking for a hero. Be Adley Rutschman. Because the regular Adley Rutschman is plenty, all right, you get what I’m saying? Especially, when you’re going to Camden Yards and you’re going to play in the big leagues for the first time.”
A small smile appeared on Rutschman’s face, then outfielder DJ Stewart stormed into the office and yelled, “Let’s gooooooooo!” with Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall, Kyle Stowers and Greg Cullen coming in behind him and grabbing Rutschman as they all began to bounce around the room in excitement.
There’s always been plenty of hype surrounding Rutschman. Friday night, it came in the form of his teammates’ joy in Britton’s office.
“It was unbelievable,” Rutschman said Saturday. “It really is what this is all about, just the people that you have around you, the teammates that you have, and the people who are able to share those moments with you. It makes everything that much better.”