PITTSBURGH - The Orioles may bring up a pitcher from their minicamp before tonight’s game against the Pirates, which closes out their brief interleague series.
The candidates include Alec Asher, Stefan Crichton, Chris Lee and Yefry Ramirez, the latter having made six starts at Double-A Bowie after the Orioles acquired him from the Yankees on July 31 for international signing bonus pool money.
All four pitchers are on the 40-man roster. Asher and Crichton have been used by the Orioles this summer.
The primary objective is to provide a fresh arm for the bullpen, but the rotation is far from set this weekend. All we know is that Gabriel Ynoa starts tonight, the team is off Thursday and Jeremy Hellickson, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman appear to be done.
Hellickson has tightness in his back, Bundy has a sore hamstring and plenty of innings, and Gausman pitched last night and won’t come back on normal rest.
Miguel Castro also is unlikely to start, due to his innings total.
Ynoa has never faced the Pirates or anyone on their current roster. Tonight marks his seventh major league start and his fourth this month with the Orioles.
The most recent work was the finest. Ynoa lasted a career-high eight innings and held the Rays to one run. Manager Buck Showalter could have waited and paired Ynoa with the Rays again, but chose to send him to the mound tonight.
The decision may have been influenced by the number of pitchers unavailable tonight.
“It’s the same thing,” Ynoa said via translator Ramon Alarcon. “Whether a new team or a team I already faced, I still have to prepare, I still have to get my job done, I still have to feel mentally confident that I can do it. So, the preparation is the same.”
The four starts with the Orioles this month are one more than he made last season with the Mets. Getting into a routine brings a certain level of comfort.
“It’s definitely so much better when you start to be in that routine, getting prepared and thinking ahead of the start,” he said. “So, it’s definitely something I appreciate and I value, for sure.”
Left-handers are batting .307 against Ynoa in his major league career and right-handers are hitting .293. Captain Obvious, hired today as a sideline reporter for a sport that doesn’t actually have a sideline, says Ynoa will need to lower those numbers from both sides.
Ynoa gets another chance tonight to audition for the Orioles and perhaps leave a nice impression that stretches through the winter. He figures to be given a shot at the rotation in spring training.
“I want to try to make the most out of it,” he said. “I know it’s very important for me, for my career. At the same time, I’m thinking about the team, helping the team now and helping the team in the future, as well.”
Ynoa probably won’t offer much assistance at the plate. He was 0-for-3 with the Mets last season. No one is expecting him to rake tonight.
Looking forward to it?
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “It’s something fun, something we don’t get a whole lot of a chance to do.”
The Orioles are somewhat familiar with Chad Kuhl. He pitched five innings against them on June 7 at Camden Yards and allowed one run with four walks and four strikeouts. Also, he’s most likely faced them in spring training with the close proximity of the two complexes.
No one has received more than three at-bats against him in the regular season. Caleb Joseph is 2-for-2. The current group is a collective 3-for-14.