Hyde on Irvin: "We think he’s going to be a huge part of our rotation going forward"

CHICAGO – The Orioles aren’t sharing their rotation plans beyond their series with the White Sox that begins tonight. However, Kyle Bradish seems certain to jump into it after tonight’s rehab start at Double-A Bowie, likely taking the ball Wednesday against the Nationals in D.C. on the day that he’s eligible to return from the injured list.

“We’re just going to get through this weekend,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “and I’ll let you guys know on Sunday.”

Off-days on Monday and Thursday would allow Hyde to tweak the rotation, but the club is likely to keep its starters in turn and stay with a five-man setup.

Cole Irvin is excluded, of course, after the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk following yesterday’s game at Camden Yards.

The decision was made to get Irvin on track and also rescue an exhausted bullpen. One struggling starter would be easier to carry if the others routinely were pitching deeper into games.

Spenser Watkins was recalled to provide length in relief, and Yennier Cano joined him while Keegan Akin went on the paternity list.

“We’re in a situation right now where we’re kind of trading out a starter for some bullpen help, add an extra guy in the bullpen,” Hyde said. “We have a unique week next week with a couple off-days, but we also want to see Cole kind of get right. He’s got a lot better command than he has showed in his first few starts, and we think he’s going to be a huge part of our rotation going forward.

“We’d just like to see him get some starts under his belt in Triple-A, kind of get his confidence back a little bit, get his command back, then hopefully see him back up here soon.”

The reputation as a strike-thrower didn’t follow Irvin to Baltimore. He’s allowed 15 runs and 17 hits with eight walks and 13 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.

The inability to keep the ball in the zone and put away hitters with two strikes has puzzled and frustrated.

“It’s just a little bit getting back to the two-seamer command, the changeup for us is a little bit hard,” Hyde said. ”I think if you look at a lot of his changeups yesterday, it’s kind of in the mid-80s, which isn’t at big gap from his fastball. His fastball is 93-94. So, a little bit more confidence with his changeup, be able to slow it down a little bit. Overall better command.

“Command that he showed in spring training and command that he’s shown the last couple years in the big leagues.”

Irvin hasn’t made more than one start in the minors since 2019. The Orioles traded for him in January, never expecting to demote him after three starts.

“I thought he took it like a pro,” Hyde said. “He understood, and he’s intent on going down there and getting his command back.”

Watkins hasn’t pitched since Saturday’s start against Gwinnett, when he allowed an unearned run in five innings. He’s fresh and familiar to the club after appearing in 23 games last season.

“He’s built up as a starter, so he’s going to add some length to our bullpen as another long guy that we need right now,” Hyde said. “Spenser had a nice year for us last year in the rotation, and we feel good about him being in our bullpen in a long-relief role.”

Cano has tossed three scoreless innings in three games with Norfolk.

“Cano is off to a really good start in Triple-A,” Hyde said. “Being a guy that you’re able to bring in against right-handed hitters. He showed the stuff last year. Didn’t have the best command while he was up here in the big leagues, but he threw the ball well in spring training, he’s off to a really good start in Triple-A.”

Mychal Givens had another bullpen session yesterday to test out his left knee. The Orioles don’t know when he’ll begin an injury rehab assignment.

“It all went well,” Hyde said. “He’s just continuing on a progression.”

Anthony Bemboom is on the trip. New rules allow teams to carry only an extra catcher on the road.

O's game blog: The road trip begins against the Ch...
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