Jimmy Yacabonis appears to be the choice to start Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rangers, which closes out the first half.
The assignment will mark Yacabonis’ third major league start. He’s allowed a combined five runs and 12 hits over nine innings, with two walks and 10 strikeouts.
Yefry Ramírez gets the start Saturday night and is expected to remain in the rotation after the break. If that’s the case, the Orioles will have to option another pitcher to make room for Yacabonis.
Left-hander Donnie Hart always is a candidate because he’s been recalled seven times this season.
Ramiírez has posted a 3.93 ERA and 1.255 WHIP in four games, including three starts. He returned to the Orioles this week while Andrew Cashner went on the disabled list with a strained neck muscle. He started the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Yankees and allowed four runs and nine hits in four innings.
Manager Buck Showalter has praised Ramírez’s demeanor and his confidence, citing how the right-hander was an infielder in 2011 in the Diamondbacks’ system before converting to pitcher, and the Orioles seem willing to extend his audition period.
“When you’ve played on both sides of the ball a little bit and the game speeds up, he seems to be in control of himself well,” Showalter said. “You see him bounce around off the mound. He’s cognizant of runners. He seems to be aware of game situations.
“He seems to maintain his stuff. The shape of his slider is a lot better than it was. It’s really improved for a lot of reasons.”
Ramírez is grateful for the latest chance to get back into the rotation, a smile coming to his face while relaying his answer via translator Ramón Alarcón.
“I feel great for the opportunity to start, and for the opportunity to be here and learn from all my teammates,” he said. “So, I feel very good, confident and very happy.”
Ramirez knows what has to be done in order to improve his results and avoid another trip to the minors. It doesn’t require a major adjustment in delivery or mindset. It’s simple execution that gets harder at the highest level.
“I think to be able to use all the quadrants of home plate - up and down, down and away, every single corner and not just stay on one side of the plate,” he said. “To be a little more versatile, more complete and use all the corners of home plate.”
It’s also important to avoid falling into the trap of applying more pressure based on what’s at stake beyond winning games. Being on a team that’s now 42 games below .500 allows for young, unproven players to make an impression and maybe fit into plans for the following season.
“I feel that sometimes there’s been instances in which I put pressure on myself,” he said. “At the same time, I tried to calm myself down a little bit and just concentrate on the things that I can do. Whether I stay here or they sent me down to the minors is really an organizational decision. I’m going to go out there, try to help my team, try to work hard and try to be consistent, and whatever the decision they make, I’ll be happy with it.”
The obstacles placed at a pitcher’s feet grow taller when the shuttle keeps him moving back and forth and altering rest and routines between starts.
“It’s definitely one of the challenges of being in the big leagues,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s a challenge that I’m going to be able to meet and defeat. Hopefully, I can stay here throughout the whole year. But whether I’m sent down to the minors, I’m going to try to be consistent. That’s the main goal for me, to be more consistent.”
Cashner will come off the disabled list shortly after the break and slide back into the rotation.
The Orioles signed left-hander Sean Gilmartin to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk. He’s insurance in case southpaw reliever Joely Rodriguez opts out of his contract in a few days and signs with a team in Japan.
Gilmartin, 28, appeared in 66 games with the Mets from 2015-2017 and went 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA and 1.340 WHIP in 78 1/3 innings. He registered a 2.67 ERA and 1.186 WHIP in 50 games (one start) in 2015.
Gilmartin, a former first-round pick of the Braves in 2011 out of Florida State University, appeared in 24 games this season, including six starts, with Triple-A Memphis and went 4-2 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.381 WHIP in 46 1/3 innings.
For fans asking about Chris Davis venting in the dugout after striking out last night, it wasn’t aimed at Showalter, despite the close proximity. Davis was scolding himself for swinging through a pitch that was up and over the plate.
Davis showed his frustration on his walk back to the dugout, and it continued in the dugout. A MASN camera showed part of his animated gesturing as he stood next to Showalter.
Nothing to see here.
Update: Joey Gallo led off the fifth inning with a home run off Alex Cobb to break a scoreless tie.
Update III: Pinch-hitter Ryan Rua belted a three-run homer off Tanner Scott in the seventh and Nomar Mazara added an RBI double to give Texas a 5-1 lead.
Update IV: Caleb Joseph’s bases-loaded double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh scored three runs and reduced the lead to 5-4.