Latest on Kremer, Kjerstad's return and reaction to All-Star balloting

The Orioles are prepared to wait a little longer on Dean Kremer before he returns to the rotation.

Kremer is expected to make a third injury rehab start after throwing only 39 pitches in two-thirds of an inning Saturday with Triple-A Norfolk. He worked 3 2/3 innings and threw 59 pitches in his first outing, and the Orioles hoped that he could build on it.

“We haven’t finalized it, but I would assume that he’s going to make another rehab start just because he didn’t get his pitches up, didn’t get out of the first inning there,” manager Brandon Hyde said earlier today. “It wasn’t an ideal situation for him from a pitch-count standpoint, but he did feel good after the two-thirds that he threw down there.

“I’m going to assume that we’re going to give him another rehab start. We just haven’t finalized it yet.”

Cole Irvin and Grayson Rodriguez start the last two games of the Guardians series. The Rangers arrive next for a four-game set that apparently won’t provide Kremer with his first major league start since May 20 in St. Louis.

Kremer would be on regular rest Thursday or he could be held back until Friday. Norfolk is home against Charlotte.

Rookie Cade Povich makes his fourth major league start tonight, and Corbin Burnes and Albert Suárez would face the Rangers in the first two games if everyone is on turn and the Orioles don’t make any adjustments.

“We’ve hit a little bit of a bump in the road with our starting pitchers right now, and Danny (Coulombe) going down also,” Hyde said. “Before we were kind of series-to-series. That’s continuing.

“We were hoping to get more out of Dean to then be able to make a decision if he was going to come back up or not and it didn’t happen. Now we’re kind of reassessing some things.”

* Heston Kjerstad had a memorable night Sunday, getting ejected after being hit three times in three innings and finding out later that the Orioles were recalling him.

“Definitely a weird combination all the way around from all those events happening, but that’s baseball for you,” he said this afternoon. “You never know what can happen at the end of the day, and every day you just keep showing up and try to play ball.”

Lehigh Valley’s David Parkinson nailed Kjerstad in the first inning and twice in a six-run third. Kjerstad was hit twice in the elbow and then in the back.

“That was kind of wild,” Kjerstad said. “It was just command. He was trying to throw a heater up and in and then front-dooring some breaking balls. That was part of it.”

Plate umpire Pete Talkington tossed Kjerstad after the last drilling.

“I wasn’t even saying anything to the pitcher,” Kjerstad said. “The plate umpire and I got into it a little bit in the heat of the moment. That’s part of it. What happened happened. It’s probably not my best moment or anything, but it’s part of the game. You live and you learn and you mature and you grow.”

Kjerstad is starting in left field tonight, but Hyde can’t promise a steady flow of at-bats. The roster forbids it.

“Definitely tricky because you’ve got other guys that you want to play also,” Hyde said. “There’s kind of in this stretch right now with the limited amount of off-days. It’s maybe a little bit easier to rotate guys around. But Heston is swinging the bat really well in Triple-A and you’ll see him get some at-bats up here.”

Kjerstad was optioned May 13 after 17 plate appearances, going 2-for-14 with two walks and six strikeouts. Returning later seemed like a foregone conclusion given his prospect ranking and output against Triple-A pitching.

“This is good team problems,” Hyde said. “I’ve got (Colton) Cowser and (Austin) Hays sitting on the bench today. Mounty (Ryan Mountcastle) isn’t playing. When you have a bunch of talented players, it’s tough to get everybody the playing time they want or maybe on 20 other teams that they would get. Right now it’s a little bit of wait your turn. I think everybody understands it.

“It’s not easy. They’ve all handled it extremely well. … It’s definitely a balance, but we’re doing a lot of really good things. We didn’t have a very good series last one, but hopefully we can turn it around starting today.”

Kjerstad has learned to be patient.

“I want to be up here every day,” he said. “This is where we want to be, this is what you work for, but you’ve also got to understand where your feet are at. There’s still things you can work on and progress that can be made. We have a really good team up here and they’re winning a lot of games. That’s part of it, too. And to come back up here and be a part of it, that’s what you want to be a part of.”

Picking his moments and trying to make the most of his limited at-bats is “part of the journey,” Kjerstad said.

“That’s the only way I know it,” he said. “That’s the opportunity I’m given and I’ve got to do my best with using those opportunities to my advantage. The main thing is, everybody has a role on this team and whatever my role is to help this team win, that’s what you’ve got to do to stay on the roster.

“As a player, you want to play every day, you want to be out there in the lineup. It’s not always that way We have a really good roster one through nine every day, and every guy’s going to help the team in some way, whether it’s matchups or pinch-hits and everything like that. When my playing time comes, that’s out of my hands. Everybody who makes that decision in this org are really good at what they do and there’s a reason to their madness and I stand behind it.”

* The All-Star balloting shows Gunnar Henderson leading the American League shortstops, Adley Rutschman ahead of the catchers and Mountcastle leading the first basemen. Five Orioles could move on to Phase 2 if Anthony Santander and Colton Cowser stay among the top six outfielders.

“I think it’s awesome and I think they’re so well deserving,” Hyde said. “It’s awesome to see Mounty. Mounty’s in first at first. So excited for all those guys and very cool that fans, not just in Baltimore, that are voting everywhere that are recognizing our players and seeing how talented they are. Yeah, it’s a great accomplishment to get recognized the way they are.”

Mountcastle passed Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Mountcastle has received 1,400,373 votes and Guerrero is second with 1,338,688.

“That would be awesome,” Mountcastle said. “Definitely a dream of mine to be an All-Star, and starter or not, definitely would be really cool and hopefully I make it.”

Mountcastle’s family has created a group chat and votes every day. Meanwhile, he said he hasn’t tracked the results.

“Some of my buddies sent it to me,” he said, “and it was pretty cool.”

Henderson has held down the top spot all along. His 1,551,124 votes rank ahead of Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. (987,689).

Asked again about the Home Run Derby, Henderson repeated his interest in participating if he’s asked.

“Yeah, it’s something I feel like I’d like to do,” he said. “I don’t really know down the road, but would definitely be something that would be cool to do.”

For the Guardians

Steven Kwan LF
Andrés Giménez 2B
José Ramírez 3B
Josh Naylor 1B
David Fry DH
Will Brennan RF
Daniel Schneemann CF
Gabriel Arias SS
Bo Naylor C

Tanner Bibee RHP

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