NEW YORK - As Alex Cobb threw in the bullpen again today, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the right-hander is a candidate to start Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Yankees.
Cobb said earlier today that he was hoping to start again before the season ends. The Orioles are in the process of figuring out his availability and whether the cut on his right middle finger has sufficiently healed.
“We’re waiting,” Showalter said. “We’ll have a decision after he gets through throwing about where we are with that. The earliest it would be is Sunday. So, I’ll have an answer here shortly, after batting practice.”
Andrew Cashner’s sore knee still won’t allow him to pitch, and he isn’t an option for Sunday.
“I don’t think so,” Showalter said. “Unless something’s drastically changed, I don’t think Andrew’s in the mix, though he seems to be moving around well and doing OK.
“I know what a competitive guy he is and how much he’d like to do that, but if there’s any doubt at all we’re not going to pitch him.”
Cobb talked about how a non-contending team can influence a pennant race, as the Orioles did in the final game of the 2011 season on Robert Andino’s walk-off hit against the Red Sox. Showalter has talked to his players about the value of these remaining games, which the Orioles are playing against the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros.
“Everybody shook their head. They know,” Showalter said.
“I know what it’s like when you’re on the other side of that, counting on people to be competitive. So, it is something we talk about, whether it’s the lineup ... I talk to you all about the things that go through my mind. What’s best for the Orioles, what’s best for our fans, what’s best for the competitive integrity of the schedule. They change sometimes from game to game.
“Haven’t gotten there yet as far as what it might mean for Boston and Houston, but we’ll consider that when we get there.”
The Orioles have sent home young pitchers Josh Rogers and Luis Ortiz because they weren’t going to be used again this month. Pitcher Evan Phillips is close to his innings limit and nearing a shutdown, according to Showalter.
“We’re going to be real cautious with Phillips,” Showalter said. “I think he’s right toward the end.”
“We’re hoping not to need them,” Showalter said, “but you’ve got to prepare in case you do. In a perfect world we’d leave them alone.”
For the Yankees
Aaron Hicks CF
Aaron Judge RF
Andrew McCutchen DH
Didi Gregorius SS
Luke Voit 1B
Neil Walker 3B
Gleyber Torres 2B
Austin Romine C
Brett Gardner LF
CC Sabathia LHP
Update: Cobb is starting Sunday.
Update II: Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer off Yefry Ramírez in the first inning to give New York a 2-0 lead.
Update III: The lead grew to 4-0 in the fourth on Gleyber Torres’ RBI single and Austin Romine’s ground ball after a stolen base and Austin Wynns’ passed ball. Aaron Hicks hit a two-run homer for a 6-0 lead, as Ramírez lasted only 3 2/3 innings.
Update IV: Adam Jones’ two-run single with two outs in the fifth reduced the lead to 6-2.
Update V: Wynns homered off Jonathan Loaisiga in the seventh and Jonathan Villar had an RBI single off Zach Britton to cut the lead to 6-4.
Update VI: Cody Carroll let an inherited runner score and two of his own and the Orioles trail 9-4 in the seventh.