Hyde on Mullins: "He's pressing big-time"

Cedric Mullins is available off the bench this afternoon. However, manager Brandon Hyde wants to give his center fielder a breather.

Mullins went 0-for-4 last night with a run-scoring grounder and is batting .193 with a .616 OPS in 36 games. He was lowered to ninth Wednesday in D.C., hit eighth last night and is out of today’s lineup despite the Diamondbacks starting right-hander Ryne Nelson.

A 2-for-4 day in Kansas City on April 21 was followed by a 5-for-52 stretch with one home run and three RBIs. He’s struck out nine times in his last five games and slammed his bat in frustration after a recent at-bat.

“He’s pressing big-time,” Hyde said, “so I just want to give him an evening to relax a little bit.”

Colton Cowser is in center field today and Heston Kjerstad is in left. The Diamondbacks are starting another right-hander, Zac Gallen, in Sunday’s series finale.

Mullins has appeared in 36 of 37 games this season. He has two minor league options and Austin Hays is nearing a return from the injured list, but the Orioles could designate Ryan McKenna for assignment again or option Kjerstad.

Hays is playing tonight at Double-A Bowie and the Orioles will decide the next step with him.

* Craig Kimbrel retired the side in order last night in the seventh inning with the Orioles clinging to a 3-2 lead. Kimbrel told the media earlier in the day that he expected to get the ball in a save situation, but that was before he spoke to Hyde.

“Before I came in here yesterday I talked to him. After you guys talked to him,” Hyde said.

“We had a great conversation. He was wonderful. So we put the plan in place there.”

That plan doesn’t necessarily detail exact usage for Kimbrel and the length of his non-save role. Hyde said there isn’t a set number of appearances in mind.

“I’m kind of taking it day-to-day,” Hyde said.

“I was really happy with how he threw the ball last night. Helped us win the game, pitching the seventh inning in a one-run game. Threw the ball great. The door’s not closed on anything. We need him to be Craig Kimbrel and we need him to be the lock-down guy he’s been for his entire career. I’m just trying to get him to feel as good as possible and then we’ll go from there.”

* There are no new updates on Tyler Wells, who remains in Sarasota rehabbing his right elbow. He isn’t throwing.

“He’s still kind of shut down,” Hyde said.

* John Means will try today to record his first win at Camden Yards since April 25, 2021 against the Athletics.

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Cowser and Kjerstad in today's Orioles lineup

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