The Orioles are putting left-hander Bruce Zimmermann in the bullpen to provide a long relief option rather than an immediate return to the rotation.
Zimmermann was recalled this morning from Triple-A Norfolk. He can back up Dean Kremer this afternoon, or whenever the weather allows first pitch, or Austin Voth on Sunday.
“Our bullpen’s pretty taxed,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “and to have somebody be able to give multiple innings out of the bullpen we felt was important right now.”
Zimmermann allowed three runs in seven innings in his last start with Triple-A Norfolk.
“He had a really nice start his last time out,” Hyde said. “He’s fully rested and ready to give us as many innings as needed.”
Hyde can tweak the rotation with the All-Star break approaching, but Jordan Lyles will make two more starts – in the series-opener against the Cubs on Tuesday in Chicago and the series finale against the Rays on July 17 in St. Petersburg.
Tyler Wells will make a start against the Rays.
“We’re mapping that out right now,” Hyde said.
The more immediate need is in the 'pen.
"Our rotation has been outstanding, and every single guy that's in there right now has thrown the ball extremely well," Hyde said. "We felt like Zimmermann had a little bit of a reset in Triple-A. He's had some struggles the last handful of starts, and hopefully he worked on those things down in Triple-A and can help us out of the bullpen now."
Hyde doesn’t really get involved in the draft process, leaving that to executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and his staff. The Orioles have their draft room set up, with scouts and officials beginning to report.
The Orioles have the first-overall pick again, and Elias delivered catcher Adley Rutschman in 2019.
“I put a lot of trust into Mike and the draft process that these guys put so much work in and time,” Hyde said. “This is the scouts’ time to shine, and I have a lot of appreciation for what those guys do and how much time they spend away from their families, and the miles and the hours that they log.
“I don’t have any expectations except I believe in our guys and they’re going to make a great decision, and hopefully get some more impact guys up here in the big leagues.”
The Orioles are four games back in the wild card race and trying to win their seventh consecutive game for the first time since August 2017. The dugout and clubhouse energy is through the roof. But the roster could undergo some serious changes at the trade deadline.
It’s a reality that Hyde tries to ignore, keeping his focus on the current roster. But the media lures him back into the conversation.
Hyde said today that he hasn’t talked to Elias about the possible impact on a club that’s delivered three walk-off wins in the last five games.
“Like I said yesterday, we’re going to go try to win tonight,” Hyde said. “Mike’s going to make the decisions he wants to make whenever the time comes, and my focus is on the 26 guys we have in that clubhouse right now.”