Hyde's pregame props for Cowser and Bautista's All-Star hope

MINNEAPOLIS - Colton Cowser has been with the Orioles for four days now and today the rookie will make his fourth start, batting seventh in right field. He has made a strong early impression on manager Brandon Hyde.

"I think he's been amazing," Hyde said pregame today. "Love his at-bats. Looks like he's been doing that for a while up here. Even that at-bat against (Jhoan) Duran last night, you know the call at first base. Just, he hadn't seen 103 mph sinkers before. Spit on some stuff down. Just relaxed throughout that big spot. Been really, really impressed with the way he's handled himself in the dugout. Defense has been really, really solid. I like his energy and he's fun to be around."

Cowser is 2-for-10 to start his big league career with three walks and no strikeouts.

Hyde said the team is discussing now how to set up its rotation out of the All-Star break, but added "we are not going to announce anything any time soon."

Ryan Mountcastle is batting .222 with an OPS of .572 on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk. The assignment will end during the All-Star break. Is there a chance the O's add Mountcastle to start the second half?

"We'll see. We're still taking it day-to-day with him," said Hyde.

Bautista's latest strong showing: Orioles All-Star closer Félix Bautista continues to excel in high-leverage situations for the Orioles and pitched two innings, throwing 30 pitches, to get the win last night. First he needed to put up a zero in the last of the ninth to get the game to extras and then he put up another zero in the 10th after he was staked to a two-run lead.

It was just the second time this year he threw two innings and his 30 pitches was two off his season high from May 4 versus the Royals.

“It wasn’t difficult,” Bautista said today through interpreter Charles Escalante. “My mindset was go in there, throw as many strikes as I can, try to get the batters out as quick as possible. Just did something a little bit longer than I usually do.”

Bautista is 4-1 now with a 1.07 ERA, a 0.929 WHIP and 18.0 strikeout rate. His 23 saves rank third in the American League and fifth in the major leagues. A pitcher that began the 2021 season in High-A ball has become one of the best closers in the game.

“It is a very satisfying feeling," he said. "With the work I’ve done I feel like I deserve it, but at the same time I am very proud and humbled to be in that situation.”

And he told reporters today he was most humbled by his family’s reaction to his getting in the All-Star Game. Of all the friends and people in baseball he has heard from the last few days, the family support meant the most.

“I feel very appreciated and loved," he said. "It has to be the support they give me. Even though they are not here that is something I appreciate so much and really feel supported. It is an honor to go to the All-Star Game with that much support, even though they are home.”

What would his dream scenario be at the All-Star Game?

“Definitely thought about it," Bautista said. "Would be nice if Cano goes in the eighth and I go in the ninth. It’s a great honor to even be in that situation. Would be super cool to do that with Cano."

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