Orioles pregame notes on Mountcastle, Means, Cano and more

Ryan Mountcastle grey jersey

CLEVELAND – The Orioles are holding onto their optimism regarding Ryan Mountcastle’s return from the injured list.

Mountcastle is performing some baseball activities to test his left shoulder and stay sharp. He’s eligible to return on Wednesday at Camden Yards.

During Félix Bautista’s bullpen session yesterday, Mountcastle stood at the plate to simulate an at-bat and work on his timing. He didn’t swing the bat.

Mountcastle is also taking ground balls at first base.

“I think he’s going to be ready when the IL date’s up,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

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Orioles and Guardians lineups in third game of series

John Means grey jersey

CLEVELAND – The Orioles haven’t won a season series against Cleveland since 2016 and are hoping for a split this weekend after losing the first two games.

Gunnar Henderson is playing shortstop. He needs one more extra-base hit to reach 65 and tie Cal Ripken Jr.’s record for most by an Orioles rookie.

Since Sept. 8, Henderson is batting .324 (22-for-68) with four doubles, three triples, four home runs and 11 RBIs.

Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter. Aaron Hicks is in left field.

The bench includes Austin Hays, Heston Kjerstad and Jordan Westburg.

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Wells on role: "I obviously want to help the team win a World Series and that’s my main goal"

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CLEVELAND – Tyler Wells’ teammates missed his pitching while he was gone, and also his personality.

A plus changeup to the pressure of a division race.

“He’s a nice, loud guy. You know when he’s in the room,” said John Means, smiling at the description.

“It’s fun having him back and we’re all happy to have him here.”

Manager Brandon Hyde was asked about Wells during his pregame media scrum in the visiting dugout. He also went where Means had gone.

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Orioles reduce magic number to six while losing to Guardians (updated)


CLEVELAND – Dean Kremer struck out Kole Calhoun tonight to leave the bases loaded in the second inning and shouted as he began his walk to the visiting dugout. Maybe frustrated with himself for allowing 13 batters to reach base and surrendering an early lead. Maybe reacting to the importance of the pitch and how it kept the game from getting away from him.

Maybe right on both counts.

The Orioles responded by scoring three runs against Shane Bieber in the top of the third inning, but two errors in the fourth led to three unearned runs and another Guardians advantage. Kremer didn’t scream at the top of his lungs, but he would have been justified.

The game was filled with frustrations that could have led to a group vent, culminating in David Fry's two-run walk-off double against Yennier Cano in the Guardians' 9-8 win over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 22,567 at Progressive Field.

Despite suffering their third straight defeat, the Orioles (95-59) saw their magic number for clinching the American League East shrink to six as the the Blue Jays beat the Rays 6-2 in St. Petersburg.

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Wells excited for return and bullpen role with Orioles

Tyler Wells

CLEVELAND – Tyler Wells watched the Orioles’ playoff-clinching celebration from a distance. From the roster at Triple-A Norfolk. More enjoyment than envy.

He has a chance to be in the middle of Part 2 if the Orioles win the division for the first time since 2014.

The magic number is seven, and Wells is in the bullpen after the Orioles recalled him this afternoon.

“It feels great,” he said. “Missed the guys a lot. Excited to come back and contribute. I’m just really focused on enjoying my time with the guys, and then once it gets between the lines, take care of business.”

“Great to see him,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s all smiles, he’s happy to be here, he’s talking. I know we’re excited to have him back and he’s a big part of our club.”

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Orioles and Guardians lineups for second game of series

Westburg in the cage

CLEVELAND – Heston Kjerstad is the Orioles' designated hitter tonight and Aaron Hicks is starting in center field.

Cedric Mullins is on the bench.

Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop and stays atop the order. Jordan Westburg is playing second base and Ramón Urías is at third.

Tyler Wells is in the bullpen tonight after the Orioles recalled him from Triple-A Norfolk. His four-seam fastball averaged 92.5 mph in the majors this season but topped at 95.7 mph while he pitched in relief with the Tides.

The Orioles bullpen has registered a 3.65 ERA in the eighth inning and later since Félix Bautista’s last appearance on Aug. 25, when it was 2.99.

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Orioles recall Wells and option Baumann

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CLEVELAND – Tyler Wells is back with the Orioles.

Wells was recalled this afternoon from Triple-A Norfolk, with the club optioning Mike Baumann.

Baumann must stay down a minimum 15 days unless he replaces an injured player. Joey Krehbiel was optioned on Sept. 12, Cole Irvin on Sept. 13, Nick Vespi on Sept. 14 and Bryan Baker on Saturday.

Manager Brandon Hyde has used 26 relievers in five days, including five in last night's 5-2 loss.

Wells hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since they sent him down July 30, a day after he allowed three runs and three hits with three walks in 2 2/3 innings against the Yankees. He surrendered 11 runs and walked nine batters in nine innings in his three starts following the All-Star break.

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Rhodes, Baumler and Cook headline Orioles representatives in AFL


CLEVELAND – Nine Orioles minor league players and one coach are included on the Mesa Solar Sox roster in the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 2.

The organization is sending pitchers Carter Baumler, Zack Peek, Trey McGough, Carlos Tavera and Peter Van Loon, catcher Connor Pavolony, infielders TT Bowens and Billy Cook, and outfielder John Rhodes to Mesa. Double-A Bowie pitching coach Forrest Herrmann is on the coaching staff.

MLB Pipeline ranks Rhodes as the organization’s No. 20 prospect, Baumler No. 22 and Cook No. 27.

Rhodes was the 76th-overall pick in the 2021 draft who appeared in 108 games at Double-A Bowie this season and batted .228/.323/.422 with 22 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs and 69 RBIs in 108 games.

Baumler, a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft, has undergone Tommy John and right shoulder surgeries. He appeared in seven games between the Florida Complex League and Single-A Delmarva and allowed six earned runs with nine walks and 21 strikeouts in 17 innings.

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Three more questions confronting the Orioles

Tyler Wells

CLEVELAND - The Orioles must make it through the last three games of this road trip and the six that await them at home before their first playoff exposure since 2016. They don’t know whether they’re beginning at Camden Yards in the Division Series or as the top wild card.

Those are the two possibilities.

I’ve got three more questions as the club focuses on the present but also considers how to construct a postseason roster.

What’s the plan for Tyler Wells?

Or, is there a plan for Tyler Wells beyond monitoring his progress in the minors?

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Late relief fails Orioles after rally in 5-2 loss to Guardians (updated)

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CLEVELAND – If the Guardians couldn’t get a run off Grayson Rodriguez tonight, maybe they’d just concentrate on getting him out of the game. Build up his pitch count with extended at-bats fueled by foul balls, dive into an Orioles bullpen that’s screaming for rest.

Rodriguez kept escaping jams to record four scoreless innings, but the Guardians broke through with two runs in the fifth. DL Hall began to warm, staying on an unplanned schedule of being used every other day.

Hall was summoned in the sixth after Rodriguez threw 99 pitches, the last striking out Kole Calhoun. The Guardians got their wish, and eventually a win.

The Orioles battled back to tie the game in the eighth, but Cionel Pérez loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning, Ramón Laureano drew a full-count walk against Jacob Webb and the Guardians scored two more runs in a 5-2 victory at Progressive Field.

Coupled with the Rays’ walk-off win earlier today, the Orioles (95-58) saw their division lead shrink to 1 ½ games and their magic number for clinching stay at seven. They’re 50-28 on the road.

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Orioles pregame notes on Rays game, McKenna, Wells and more

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CLEVELAND – The trainers’ room on the visiting side at Progressive Field attracted a large crowd this afternoon.

The Orioles didn’t have injury issues. It wasn't about receiving treatment.

They had a strong curiosity about the finish of the Rays-Angels game, and that's the television they chose over the ones inside their clubhouse.

Tampa Bay rallied for a 5-4 win and reduced the Orioles’ division lead to two games. The magic number holds at seven to clinch it.

Players gathered to watch the ending and reacted to every missed opportunity by the Angels to help them. A botched double-play grounder in the ninth set up the Rays for the walk-off. The groans were audible.

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Orioles and Guardians lineups in Cleveland

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CLEVELAND – The Orioles’ magic number is down to seven to clinch the American League East, and they begin their final road series of the regular season with Aaron Hicks playing right field.

Hicks was out of the lineup the past two days after leaving Monday’s game with hamstring cramps.

Jordan Westburg is the third baseman tonight and Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop.

Anthony Santander is serving as the designated hitter. Ryan O’Hearn is batting cleanup and playing first base.

Rookie Grayson Rodriguez is making his 22nd start. He’s never faced the Guardians.

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More of this, that and the other

Ryan Mountcastle

HOUSTON – Had the Orioles discovered a way to more accurately predict Ryan Mountcastle’s recovery from an injury to his left shoulder, they wouldn’t have waited until yesterday to remove him from the active roster. The data would have driven them.

Mountcastle kept making incremental gains in his recovery. Manager Brandon Hyde told the media on multiple occasions that the first baseman was “a little better” and might be available off the bench, at least in the field.

A few attempts to hit in the cage demolished the optimism that was building.

The description of left shoulder soreness was replaced by a more specific term - AC joint inflammation. Located at the tip of the shoulder where the scapula and clavicle come together.

Most injuries in this area start to improve within a week but can take much longer for a full recovery depending on the severity. The Orioles are hoping that Mountcastle is ready when eligible to come back.

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Bullpen buckles after Bradish leaves game in Orioles' 2-1 loss (updated)

Kyle Bradish gray

HOUSTON – Kyle Bradish needed to be the stopper today on a team with a winning streak.

The right-hander and staff ace was tasked with halting the deluge of phone calls from the visiting dugout to the bullpen, to restore a sense of calm and resume his dominance of the Astros.

Bradish did what he could with six scoreless innings and nine strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 3.01 and raising his quality start total to 17, but what happens after he leaves?

Jacob Webb preserved a slim lead in the seventh, but Shintaro Fujinami issued a pair of walks in the eighth that set up Jeremy Peña for a game-tying double off Mike Baumann.

Manager Brandon Hyde turned to Danny Coulombe in the ninth and the game was over after three batters. A chance at a 10th series sweep was gone.

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Orioles place Mountcastle on injured list

Ryan Mountcastle shoulder injury

HOUSTON – The Orioles couldn’t wait any longer on Ryan Mountcastle.

The latest attempt to hit in the cage this morning didn’t show any improvement in his shoulder, and Mountcastle is going on the 10-day injured list with left AC joint inflammation.

Outfielder Ryan McKenna is flying to Houston as the corresponding roster move. He will be on the bench this afternoon.

Mountcastle was injured after fouling off a pitch in the first inning of last Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals at Camden Yards. He was removed in the third.

The move can be backdated three days, making Mountcastle eligible to return on Sept. 27 in Baltimore.

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Mountcastle sits again in Orioles' last game in Houston

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HOUSTON – Ryan Mountcastle remains out of the Orioles lineup for the seventh game in a row, as the first leg of the road trip concludes this afternoon.

Heston Kjerstad is receiving his third consecutive start, again serving as the designated hitter.

Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop, with Ramón Urías at third base. Adam Frazier is at second base, and Jordan Westburg is on the bench.

The club didn’t announce any roster moves this morning.

Kyle Bradish is 11-7 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.087 WHIP in 27 starts. He’s registered 16 quality starts.

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Leftovers for breakfast

O'Hearn and Hays celebrate

HOUSTON – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said he doesn’t have a player in the clubhouse who’s in completely good health. He can’t even find anyone who registers at 90 percent.

The usual wear and tear as the season inches toward fall. As the body begins to rebel.

“All of these guys are playing with stuff right now,” Hyde said.

Ryan O’Hearn isn’t slowing down. He's got the right stuff.

O'Hearn was 8-for-13 in his last three games before last night and 19-for-51 (.373) this month with five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs.

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Orioles hit four homers and claim another series in 9-5 win (updated)


HOUSTON – The homer hose is curled up like a snake on the Orioles’ bench, retaining its name and purpose. Only water is poured into it unless the celebration is tied to a clinching. And it can strike at any moment.

Ryan O’Hearn chugged from it in the first inning tonight, and Austin Hays took his turn in the third. Hays guzzled again in the seventh, as did rookie Heston Kjerstad. Hydrating in Houston and hoisting the Orioles closer to a division title.

O’Hearn and Hays accounted for five early runs, twice providing leads, and the Orioles kept mashing in a 9-5 victory over the Astros before an announced crowd of 35,050 at Minute Maid Park.

The magic number is eight to claim the first American League East title since 2014. The Rays also won and remain 2 ½ games behind the Orioles.

The bullpen covered 4 1/3 innings, including two by Jack Flaherty, and the Orioles won their 95th game and 31st series. They’ll attempt to record their 10th sweep before flying to Cleveland.

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Orioles reduce rotation to five starters by changing Flaherty's role

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HOUSTON – Jack Flaherty is moving to the bullpen.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is starting Kyle Bradish in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale in Houston, and rookie Grayson Rodriguez gets the ball Thursday night in Cleveland.

In a six-man rotation, Flaherty would have taken his next turn Thursday in his eighth game with the Orioles since the deadline trade. He’s carrying a 7.11 ERA and 1.674 WHIP in 31 2/3 innings since leaving the Cardinals.

Flaherty hasn’t worked more than 4 2/3 innings in three starts this month, and he hasn’t reached the same level of effectiveness as in his debut in Toronto, when he allowed one run in six frames.

The switch to relief isn’t necessarily a permanent assignment.

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Updating Hicks and tonight's lineups

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HOUSTON - Aaron Hicks is out of tonight’s Orioles lineup after leaving last night’s game in the ninth inning with cramping in his hamstring. However, Hicks is walking without a limp today and said he should be available.

“I feel good today,” Hicks said.  “I can play today. I’m good to go. Just got to hydrate and get things going a little quicker than normal.”

Hicks slid into second base last night and felt the hamstring grab, but it became much worse after he was ready to run onto the field for the bottom of the ninth.

“Obviously, it was enough to where I couldn’t finish the inning,” he said.

“I feel amazing because the last thing you want to happen is for it to keep happening. Today, I feel really good. I’ve been hydrating a lot. So, I’ll be good to go if I have to come in later in the game.”

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