Hyde on Cowser: "I just want him to go down there and free his mind up"

SAN DIEGO – Outfielder Colton Cowser is taking his turn at a minor league reset.

The Orioles optioned Cowser today after he went 7-for-61, creating a spot for Aaron Hicks’ return to the active roster.

“We talked a lot about that with certain guys this year, about how it’s not always a terrible thing to have a guy come up here and experience what major league pitching’s like and what big league life is like,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Understand how to go through some adjustments when you go back down to Triple-A. It’s like, we saw Grayson (Rodriguez) do that earlier this year, he came back a different guy.

“Colton’s going to be a really good major league player. Got off to a pretty good start, and then he just kind of got caught in between a little bit in his at-bats. I just want him to go down there and free his mind up. Kind of reset a little bit, relax and breathe and go take some at-bats, and don’t worry about trying to produce up here. And maybe we’ll see him soon.”

Hyde noticed that the league got a little more aggressive early in the zone, and Cowser wasn’t able to adjust to it.

“Once you start getting in between, all of a sudden now you’re kind of looking for certain pitches, and just not able to relax in the batter’s box,” Hyde said.

“I just thought he was getting frozen up a little bit in his at-bats the last couple weeks. So you go down there, clear your mind, clear your head and go get some at-bats and hopefully come back.”

Hicks knows what advice he’d pass along to Cowser.

“I think for him it’s about rebuilding that confidence again,” he said. “I feel like when he got up here, he was kind of being more passive, whereas I want him to be more aggressive. He was walking, he was having great at-bats, but at the big league level it just comes down to being aggressive. I just think for him, it just seemed like he was starting to lose his confidence a little bit, and once you lose that as a young player in the big leagues, it’s kind of tough to regain it back.”

Hyde will rotate through his outfielders like he’s handling the infield. Provide rest and focus on matchups.

“This is August, and so guys are going to need days,” Hyde said.

“I think it’s all positive.”

* Hicks is in left field tonight after straining his left hamstring on July 24 in Philadelphia.

“It feels good,” he said. “Be back for the team, and not a bad place to come back to, in sunny California. Ready to get going.”

The injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk lasted two games. Hicks went 1-for-8 in Jacksonville and joined the team in San Diego.

How did he feel?

“Hot. Very hot,” he said. “But I feel like I’m ready to go. … I feel like my at-bats were good, I feel like I saw the ball well. Now, I’m here.”

Hicks is reunited Cedric Mullins. He was signed to play center field during Mullins’ first trip to the injured list, and Mullins returned from a second groin strain Friday in Seattle.

“Playing with Cedric is always fun,” Hicks said. “Even watching him on TV making insane catches, like the ones he did yesterday. I’m excited to be right beside him and watch it live.”

The Orioles keep winning despite injuries to key players. As if proving their resiliency is part of the 2023 package.

“One hundred percent,” Hicks said. “It just proves how badly this team wants to win, and different ways of winning, which is what you need, especially in the postseason, is to find ways to win. And they’ve been able to do that.”

* Working with a six-man rotation could allow Hyde to drop a starter into a bullpen that’s now a reliever short.

“I think it’s possible if we run into kind of a tough spot, maybe a starter goes short and we play three extra-inning games in six days. Things like that,” Hyde said.

“You never know what’s going to happen. … We’re really day-to-day with everything. It’s not easy with seven guys in the bullpen. We’ve done a good job up until this point. We really feel like it’s important to get our starters, especially our young starters, to get an extra day or two of rest in between starts coming down the stretch. But we’ll see how long it lasts.”

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