Orioles pregame notes on Bautista, Means, Gibson's nomination and more

bautista exits w injury v COL

BOSTON – Orioles closer Félix Bautista played catch again today, increasing the distance on flat ground during his second session after a brief pause.

The club is downplaying the significance of it.

Bautista also threw in Anaheim while on the injured list with discomfort in his right elbow, described only as a “right UCL injury.”

“We’re going to see how he feels,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “We’re just kind of monitoring it day-to-day. It was just kind of a see how he feels, play a little catch today.”

Asked if Bautista throwing is a good sign, Hyde said, “I wouldn’t put any emphasis positive or negative about it. He was playing a little bit of catch, kind of seeing how he feels today.

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Orioles and Red Sox lineups and notes

bradish @ARI

BOSTON – The Orioles are a season-high 37 games above .500 and four games ahead of the Rays in the American League East as they reach the final stage of their road trip at Fenway Park.

They’ve won five in a row, seven of nine, 11 of 14, 14 of 18 and 25 of 35. On the line this weekend is a streak of 84 consecutive multi-game series without being swept.

Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop tonight against the Red Sox. Ryan O’Hearn is batting cleanup as the designated hitter, followed by first baseman Ryan Mountcastle.

Austin Hays is in left field. In 18 games since Aug. 15, Hays is batting .338/.413/.646/1.059 with eight doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs.

Adam Frazier is playing second base and Ramón Urías is at third.

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Three more Orioles questions as they prepare for their series opener in Boston

John Means

The Orioles are in Boston for the final series of their penultimate road trip in 2023. Three games at Fenway Park, seven at Camden Yards – including four against the Rays that could influence the division race – followed by visits to Houston and Cleveland.

The latest quirk to the schedule has the Orioles engaged in a trio of four-game series this month, versus the Rays, Guardians and Red Sox. They’ve won six consecutive series while building an 88-51 record, including 34-16 in the second half, that’s the second best in baseball.

The organization’s hesitancy to look too far ahead is softening. Adjustments are being made to the rotation as if prepping it for the postseason. Back down to five starters, with the possibility of weaving in a sixth here and there. A clearer read on innings totals and how to proceed.

Making the playoffs is a formality. The goal now is winning the American League East, with a first-round bye and home field advantage.

They haven’t won 100 games since 1980 and are on pace to blow past it. Also blowing the minds of the oddsmakers who put them below .500.

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McKenna playing major role off bench, Means close to rejoining Orioles

Ryan McKenna

The comeback that unfolded for the Orioles in the ninth inning Tuesday night, before the Angels rallied to tie and lost in the 10th, began with Adam Frazier and Ryan O’Hearn producing clutch hits in reserve. Frazier doubles with one out and scores on O’Hearn’s line drive single. Depth again playing its role in defining the 2023 club.

The Orioles keep finding ways. Many times, they only have to look as far as their bench.

Manager Brandon Hyde has done a nice job rotating players to multiple positions and out of the lineup. Frazier made 90 starts at second base and seven in the outfield. O’Hearn made 44 starts at first base, 16 in the outfield and 10 as the designated hitter.

“We’ve got really talented hitters up and down the lineup, and depth like that helps,” O’Hearn told reporters.

“We care a lot. We want to win. We want to win the division. We love each other. We play for each other. We trust each other. It’s not just me down there practicing and trying to get ready for every inning. It’s every guy on the bench, all (five) guys on the bench down there are getting ready to hit to potentially impact the game.”

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Orioles lineup vs. Angels to conclude series in Anaheim


The Orioles will try for their ninth sweep of the season tonight with Adley Rutschman serving as the designated hitter, Ramón Urías playing second base, and Jordan Westburg moving back to the bench.

Aaron Hicks is in center field, putting Cedric Mullins in a reserve role.

Gunnar Henderson is slugging .727 against Angels' fastballs this season and .362 against other opponents’ fastballs, per STATS. He’s the third baseman tonight.

The Orioles registered their 44th comeback win last night, tied with the Reds for most in the majors. They’ve won four games in a row and 10 of 13 to improve their record to 87-51, and they maintain a 3 ½ game lead over the Rays.

Kyle Gibson makes his 29th start. He’s 13-8 with a 5.15 ERA and 1.340 WHIP in 162 2/3 innings. His 172 hits lead the American League.

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Some business that awaits Orioles

Jorge Mateo

The Orioles are down to their last 24 regular season games. The final West Coast trip wraps up tonight, followed by an off-day and weekend series in Boston.

An actual finish line is out of sight. The Orioles can’t break through the tape and veer toward the airport. That’s for non-playoff teams.

Where they stop, nobody knows.

At least one more roster move is pending, with John Means scheduled to make his last rehab start tonight at Triple-A Norfolk. Tyler Wells is expected to be recalled but first had to resume pitching. He was shut down with arm fatigue until last night.

Means is on the 60-day injured list, but there’s an opening on the 40-man roster. He can slide into it.

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Orioles lineup in Anaheim and notes

kremer orange v SEA

Ryan McKenna is playing center field tonight in the latest Orioles right-handed heavy lineup in Anaheim.

Austin Hays is the cleanup hitter and left fielder. Jordan Westburg is starting at second base. Jorge Mateo is the shortstop.

Aaron Hicks is in right field, with Anthony Santander serving as designated hitter.

Adley Rutchman is back in the leadoff spot and catching.

Gunnar Henderson is too good to sit in any lineup. He’s the third baseman.

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This, that and the other

Anthony Santander

Outfielder Anthony Santander began last night’s series in Anaheim leading the Orioles with 26 home runs and 79 RBIs. He’s trying to finish first in both categories for the second year in a row, becoming the first Oriole since Chris Davis in 2012-13.

He’s doing a lot of other things, like how he’s pushing harder through the crowd for Most Valuable Oriole.

Don’t be too quick to concede the award to catcher Adley Rutschman, rookie infielder Gunnar Henderson, starter Kyle Bradish, closer Félix Bautista – whose value becomes more evident if the Orioles collapse from his elbow injury – or anybody else in contention.

Santander’s 33 doubles also ranked first on the club before Austin Hays tied him last night with an RBI double. And Santander was first with 60 extra-base hits, 239 total bases, a .489 slugging percentage and .818 OPS.

In case you missed it earlier, Santander is the first Orioles switch-hitter with at least 25 home runs in consecutive seasons since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in 1987-88.

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Orioles and Angels lineups in Anaheim

Grayson Rodriguez gray

The Orioles begin their series in Anaheim tonight with Adley Rutschman out of the lineup for the second time in six games.

The Angels are starting three left-handers, and Austin Hays moves into the leadoff spot tonight. Gunnar Henderson is playing third base and batting cleanup.

Jordan Westburg is playing second base and batting fifth. Jorge Mateo is the shortstop.

Aaron Hicks is in right field, and Anthony Santander is the designated hitter.

Rookie Grayson Rodriguez has allowed 11 runs in his last seven starts over 42 2/3 innings. He faced the Angels on May 15, before his reset, and allowed eight runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. Shohei Ohtani and Chad Wallach homered in the fourth.

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Orioles could be busy during awards season

Gunnar Henderson grays

After the final out is recorded in the World Series, and before the start of the Winter Meetings in Nashville, important business is conducted that can be downplayed or ignored in some circles.

The four Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards in November. A much bigger deal for the Orioles after they regained their contender status and inflated the level of talent on the roster.

I remember when I could skip the MLB Network programs, which run longer than the Oscars, because the Orioles didn’t have anyone in the discussion. My work was done. Let the other beat writers craft their stories while I tuned into "Jeopardy" or whatever was streaming on Netflix. Those poor fools.

Those days are over.

Gunnar Henderson has become the leading contender for Rookie of the Year in the American League. I won’t say he’s a runaway winner, but the kid sits in the driver’s seat - looking young enough to carry a learner’s permit.

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Mountcastle and Santander in today's Orioles lineup

santander and mountcastle

The Orioles are trying today to claim their 28th series as they conclude their visit to Arizona.

Ryan Mountcastle has returned to the lineup after missing the past few games due to an illness. He’s batting cleanup and playing first base.

Anthony Santander was hit on the right hand last night in the ninth inning, left the game and underwent testing, and is serving today as designated hitter.

Two positive developments before the first pitch is thrown.

Aaron Hicks, reinstated from the injured list today, is in left field. Ryan O’Hearn is the right fielder. Austin Hays is on the bench.

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López and Hicks added to Orioles' roster in Arizona

lopez and rutschman

The Orioles’ roster has changed again.

Get used to it.

Jorge López was activated this morning after the Orioles claimed him on waivers yesterday from the Marlins. Aaron Hicks was reinstated from the injured list.

To make room, outfielder Colton Cowser was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk and reliever Austin Voth was designated for assignment.

López enters a bullpen that includes Yennier Cano. They were involved in the 2022 deadline trade with the Twins.

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Thoughts on López's return and wondering what else is going on with the Orioles

jorge lopez pitches black

On the same day that the Orioles claimed their former closer, Jorge López, on waivers from the Marlins, manager Brandon Hyde told the assembled media at Chase Field that former Rule 5 closer Tyler Wells has arm fatigue.

I’m tired from trying to project this month’s bullpen. I’m not getting any closer.

My take from the East Coast is that López is insurance, a depth move with Félix Bautista on the 15-day injured list and Wells perhaps delayed in his return to the Orioles. The timing might be coincidental, but we honestly don’t know if that’s the case.

The trade deadline passed and the only way to acquire players is via claims and minor league deals. López isn’t eligible to make the postseason roster because he arrived in the organization after Aug. 31, but he can assist in the quest to win the division title.

Then again, is he equipped to do so?

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Orioles lineup missing Mountcastle again

ryan mountcastle upset orange

Ryan Mountcastle is out of the Orioles lineup again tonight in Arizona. He was scratched last night due to an illness.

Gunnar Henderson, who went 2-for-4 last night with two runs scored, stays at shortstop. Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter.

Ryan O’Hearn is the first baseman and Ramón Urías is playing third base. Adam Frazier is the second baseman.

Henderson is batting .330 or better when he’s ahead or even in the count, but .172 when behind.

Anthony Santander is slugging .809 against fastballs since the start of August after slugging .276 against them in July.

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This, that and the other

wells sad white

Another day has passed without an update on Orioles closer Félix Bautista beyond the injury to his ulnar collateral ligament. He walked off the field Aug. 25 with two outs in the ninth inning and two strikes on his last batter, and he underwent further testing to determine the severity of the injury and whether surgery was necessary.

Bautista earned his first hold of the season. Everyone else remains on hold.

The Orioles went 3-2 heading into last night’s game in Arizona after placing Bautista on the 15-day injured list. The last three margins were nine, six and five runs, making Bautista’s absence less noticeable.

Yennier Cano earned a save the night after Bautista’s removal from the bullpen, but he would have been the designated closer anyway. Bautista had appeared in three of the past four games and gone back-to-back. Manager Brandon Hyde wasn’t put in a bind.

The Orioles lost 4-3 to conclude the Rockies series. An unearned run scored off Cano in the top of the ninth inning. No save situation.

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Orioles and Diamondbacks lineups (Mountcastle scratched)

irvin pitches orange

The Orioles are in Arizona tonight to begin another three-city road trip, and their final excursion to the West Coast. They also travel to Anaheim and Boston.

The day began with the Orioles holding a 1 ½ game lead over the Rays, winners of four in a row. Tampa Bay is in Cleveland tonight.

The Orioles' 83-50 record through 133 games is their best mark since going 85-48 in 1997. They are the seventh team in major league history with back-to-back winning records following a 100-loss season, per STATS. The 1986-87 Giants were the most recent.

Outfielder Colton Cowser and reliever Joey Krehbiel were added to the expanded roster, as reported yesterday. Cowser isn’t in tonight’s lineup.

Anthony Santander is in right field and Austin Hays is in left. Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter.

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Because You Asked - Expend4bles

John Means

Because my mailbag hates dry heat and cross-country flights, I’m answering more questions today from home and waiting to join the Orioles in Boston.

I go where it goes.

You understand how this works after 15 years. How it’s a sequel to the beloved 2008 original.

You want heavy editing? Go to a movie. I don’t tamper here. We’re crazy with clarity, sinful with style, bold with brevity, loony with length, ga-ga over grammar.

Also, my mailbag expands like a September roster and yours splits like the back of Ye’s jacket.

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Cowser and Krehbiel joining Orioles' expanded roster

Colton Cowser

The Orioles won’t allow their roster to stop evolving. They are adding players for Friday’s expansion and figure to keep shuffling through the month of September.

The first two moves are decided, with outfielder Colton Cowser and reliever Joey Krehbiel joining the club in Arizona, according to a source. The club hasn’t made an announcement.

These are initial reinforcements who don’t close business.

Cowser made his major league debut on July 5 in New York and appeared in 26 games before the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. He went 7-for-61 with two doubles, four RBIs, 13 walks and 22 strikeouts.

Over 69 games with the Tides, Cowser batted .314/.440/.524 with 15 doubles, a triple, 12 home runs and 45 RBIs in 315 plate appearances.

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Posing three Orioles questions on the final day of August

Jack Flaherty

The Orioles are off today, flying into Arizona after yesterday’s loss to spend more time enjoying the dry heat. Think of it as a pizza oven except there’s no melted mozzarella.

Their roster expands by a pitcher and a position player on Friday. They’d do it anyway, but teams don’t have the option of staying at 26.

The dog days of August are gone. We’ve moved onto September baseball as a contender, and it’s the home stretch no matter where the schedule takes you.

“This is definitely an exciting time right now for our club,” manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday. “Going back to the West Coast. I feel like we were just there. It’s an important road trip, every game matters right now, every game’s important. And it’s a lot of fun playing in games that matter.”

Can’t flip the pages of the calendar without finding more questions, which isn’t as enjoyable.

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Orioles can't secure sweep against White Sox (updated)


A third fly ball landed on the other side of the fence today and an angry fan sitting near the Camden Yards press box couldn’t contain his emotions. Didn’t want to try.

“It’s the White Sox!” he yelled, the exit velocity of his words immeasurable.

A team that didn’t bring much energy to the series, lost the first two games by a combined 18-3 score and fired two senior members of the front office last week.

A team that fell behind by four runs this afternoon in the bottom of the first inning.

Kyle Gibson surrendered four in the top of the second and three more in the third, and the Orioles lost 10-5 before an announced crowd of 17,723 to deny them the sweep.

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