Hyde provides updates on Kremer and Means, Vespi talks about his latest return, tonight's game is delayed

CHICAGO - The Orioles aren’t listing a starter for Saturday afternoon’s game against the White Sox. They can go in a few directions. Calling upon Dean Kremer isn't among them.

Kremer was supposed to get the ball on his normal turn, but he’s on the 15-day injured list with a strained right triceps. Manager Brandon Hyde said he could make the announcement after tonight’s game.

“This is still pretty fresh so we’re still talking about it,” Hyde said.

Albert Suárez is the in-house candidate. He can provide some length.

Meanwhile, left-hander Cade Povich is scheduled to start Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk in Worcester. The No. 9 prospect in the system per MLB Pipeline is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.049 WHIP in nine games and is averaging 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings. His walk rate is down to 3.2, compared to 5.8 last year in 10 starts with the Tides.

The Orioles have an opening on their 40-man roster if they decide to select his contract.

Cole Irvin could start Monday afternoon against the Red Sox at Camden Yards, an assignment meant for John Means before his placement yesterday on the 15-day injured list with a left forearm strain.

Hyde said today that Means is seeking a second opinion, which usually is an ominous sign. Good news doesn't get questioned.

“He’s still being evaluated,” Hyde said.

As for Kremer, he left his last start after four innings due to the soreness in his triceps. He's also been getting treatment for a blister on his middle finger, but the triceps shut him down.

“It’s unfortunate,” Hyde said. “After the fourth inning the other day he said something. That’s why he didn’t go back out for the fifth inning, just because there was a little soreness in the triceps. We were hoping he’d show some improvement since then and it’s still kind of lingering, so we want to use some caution and put him on the IL. Hoping it’s not going to be very long. Hopefully it’s (like) when Grayson (Rodriguez) went on the IL. I think it was 16-17 days, something like that. So hopefully it’s the same for Dean.”

Means and Rodriguez rejoined the rotation, and now the Orioles have lost Means and Kremer. Tyler Wells hasn’t pitched since April 12 due to inflammation in his right elbow, but he’s cleared to play catch this week in Sarasota.

A team that managed to avoid heavy usage of the injured list the past two seasons has lost five starters to it this season. And the rest of the rotation must compensate for it.

“Pick the guys up. It’s as simple as that,” Irvin said.

“We’re still doing a good job. Just fill in and keep doing what we’ve been doing all season. The formula doesn’t change.”

“This isn’t uncommon right now everywhere,” Hyde said. “You’ve got to be able to make adjustments and you deal with some adversity, and pitching hiccups are going to happen and injuries are going to happen. That’s why hopefully you create as much depth as you possibly can on your 40-man roster or Triple-A, and we’ve had to tap into it so far this year and I’m sure we’ll have to continue to tap into it. More things are going to happen.

“Just one of those unfortunate things. The last couple years we were really fortunate and we stayed as healthy as you possibly could. Give a lot of credit to a lot of people for that. These things are going to happen. It’s a little bit next guy up. I think our guys are dealing with it fine.”

Nick Vespi was optioned Wednesday night after serving as the 27th man for the series finale in St. Louis, the expanded roster caused by the resumption of the suspended game in the morning.

Vespi is back with the Orioles today to provide a fresh arm after Jonathan Heasley threw 28 pitches last night and was charged with four runs in the ninth.

The Orioles have recalled Vespi three times this season. He tossed a scoreless eighth inning Wednesday at Busch Stadium before his brief departure.

“Got a lot of travel points, so it’s good,” Vespi said. “I’m here. It’s the end goal. And just happy to be here.

“I try not to focus on the whole travel thing and going up and down. I just try to take advantage of every opportunity I can up here. If I’ve got to get on a flight at 4 a.m., I’ll do it. Whatever it takes to get up here and get the opportunity to show this team that I can stick.”

Vespi appeared in 11 games with Triple-A Norfolk and posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.433 WHIP in 22 1/3 innings. He walked 13 batters and struck out 26.

The major league resume consists of 35 games in parts of three seasons and a 4.07 ERA and 1.333 WHIP in 42 frames.

“You’ve got to wait for the opportunity, of course,” he said. “This team is unbelievable. When you’ve got guys in front of you that are performing, you’ve just got to tip your cap and stay hungry down in Triple-A, and I think that’s what I’ve done so far to this point, and continue to do that.”

The Orioles brought up Vespi in St. Louis because the Cardinals’ roster was heavy with left-handed hitters. They brought up Heasley in Chicago because the White Sox’s roster leaned more to the right, but Vespi was summoned to Guaranteed Rate Field.

“We’ve got a good group of guys up here, lefty or righty,” Vespi said, “so it’s exciting.”

Dillon Tate also was recalled today. He made 11 appearances and registered a 2.84 ERA and 1.026 WHIP before the Orioles optioned him on April 29. He had a 3.86 ERA and 0.714 WHIP in seven games with Norfolk.

“I was really pleased with how he threw down there,” Hyde said. “We missed Dillon last year. He was a big part of our bullpen two years ago. I think he was kind of finding his way a little bit in spring training. He did get caught in the roster crunch, to be optioned earlier in the season, but he’s throwing the ball even better since he’s been in Triple-A, so we’re excited to have him back and hopefully he can pitch some big innings for us.”

Adley Rutschman is out of the lineup but he’s healthy and will catch Saturday and Monday afternoon, with duty as the designated hitter in between.

“We’ve got three day games in a row coming up and then a long stretch,” Hyde said. “He’s going to be in there a lot.”

Ryan Mountcastle batted seventh last night for the first time since Sept. 1, 2022 and responded with the Orioles’ second four-hit game this season, joining Jordan Westburg on May 11. He’s hitting cleanup tonight.

Right-hander Ryan Watson moved up from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk.

And finally, the start of tonight's game will be delayed due to an approaching storm. Who'll stop the rain?

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