Ramón Urías was scratched from tonight’s Orioles lineup with spasms between his neck and right shoulder. Terrin Vavra starts at second base and bats eighth, with left fielder Austin Hays moving up to seventh.
“He’s day-to-day,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
Here’s the new lineup:
Cedric Mullins CF
Adley Rutschman C
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Gunnar Henderson 3B
Jesús Aguilar DH
Austin Hays LF
Terrin Vavra 2B
Jorge Mateo SS
Tyler Wells is eligible to return from the 15-day injured list on Oct. 5, the final day of the regular season, but he’s shut down with inflammation in his right shoulder.
“He felt a little shoulder soreness the next day after his last start,” Hyde said. “Went out and tried to throw an in-between starts side and the shoulder was still feeling a little bit sore, so we decided to put him on the IL and recall (Spenser) Watkins.”
Asked whether Wells’ season is over, Hyde said, “I think there’s a pretty good chance, yeah.”
Wells was placed on the injured list last September with right shoulder inflammation, and the present discomfort is “in a similar spot,” Hyde said. Wells’ only setback in 2022 before this week was a strained left oblique that cost him about six weeks.
“He’s thrown a lot of innings this year,” Hyde said, “and he just felt the shoulder got a little sore after his last start.”
The Orioles changed Wells’ role this spring, removing him from the bullpen and stretching him out to start after he shed his Rule 5 status. He posted a 4.25 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings, and his 23 starts ranked second on the team.
The transition was a success, with Wells being the team’s most consistent starter prior to the oblique strain. He went 4-0 in June with a 2.42 ERA and 0.962 WHIP in five outings.
“I don’t think any of us knew what to expect, honestly, with putting him in the rotation,” Hyde said. “We had a lot of conversations about it in the offseason, about what to do with Tyler. Ultimately decided to put him in the rotation with limiting his innings.
“I thought he was outstanding. He exceeded expectations. I thought he looked like a really good major league starter for the time he was out there and gave us a chance to win almost every time out. I thought he took a huge step forward this year. He’s going to be better next year for it.”
Wells is likely to remain a starter in 2023, though Hyde warned that “things can change.”
“But as of today, yeah,” he said.
The Orioles might loosen some restrictions on Wells with his innings increase this summer.
“I think we’ll always monitor him, but I do think that this was a nice platform for next year, to extend innings next year,” Hyde said. “He’s going to be 29 years old. Treat him more like a guy who’s in the rotation. This year we were pretty protective and I pulled him a lot of times when he was at a certain pitch count, which I didn’t want to a lot of times. But we were protecting him as much as we possibly could, knowing that he hadn’t started in a while and this is a six-month season.
“We were trying to keep him as healthy as possible the whole way, and unfortunately the oblique happened, and now this. But I think it’s still a very successful year for him.”
Watkins has been assigned to the bullpen for long relief. Mike Baumann starts Saturday night.
Baumann made his first major league start in Game 1 of the Sept. 5 doubleheader against the Blue Jays and allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. He’s been used in relief nine times this season.
“Just giving Mike the experience,” Hyde said. “Really like Mike Baumann’s stuff. Spenser’s available for length for us now, which it’s nice to have a long guy in our bullpen, but we wanted to give Baumann a start tomorrow.”
For the Astros
José Altuve 2B
Jeremy Pena SS
Yordan Álvarez LF
Alex Bregman 3B
Yuli Gurriel 1B
Aledmys Díaz DH
Trey Mancini RF
Chas McCormick CF
Martin Maldanodo C
José Urquidy RHP