The Orioles have six pitchers on the injured list in various stages of their recoveries. Beginning or getting close to rehab assignments. Throwing in the bullpen or on flat ground. Shut down completely until cleared to play catch.
John Means threw a bullpen session yesterday at Camden Yards. Cionel Pérez is reporting to Double-A Bowie today. Others are in Sarasota.
And then, there’s left-hander DL Hall, who’s on a completely different program.
Hall also is at the spring training complex in Sarasota, but he’s continuing his progression to build strength and velocity. The transfer was made after the Orioles put Hall on a “de-load” with Triple-A Norfolk by limiting his innings and pitch counts.
The opposite of stretching him out to start.
There are no other updates on Hall beyond the progression. A scout from outside the organization texted this week to ask why Hall’s in the Florida Complex League. The left-hander and former first-round draft pick is listed as “active” on the roster, but he hasn’t pitched since June 14 with Norfolk.
Hall experienced lower lumbar discomfort about three weeks before spring training, which slowed his ramp up and ruined any chance of breaking camp with the team. He didn’t get enough innings to challenge for a spot in the rotation, and the Orioles didn’t want to shove him into the bullpen, where Logan Gillaspie and Danny Coulombe were surprise keepers.
Coulombe arrived at the end, which really destroyed the roster mocks.
The Orioles aren’t saying much more about Hall, like whether he still has a chance to start for them in a pennant race in 2023 or revert back to relief. Whether the long process of gaining more miles-per-hour on his four-seam fastball has removed him from their plans this summer.
He’d be quite the wild card as the Orioles chase a playoff berth.
* The Orioles began the second half with the third-best record in baseball, but they weren’t resting on their record.
Asked yesterday what his club needs to do better after the break, manager Brandon Hyde said, “A little bit of everything.”
“When we pitch well, we win, or give ourselves a chance to win,” he said. “I think pitching and defense in August and September really comes into play. The good teams have more depth, it’s post-trade deadline, the playoff teams, some teams have loaded up a little bit. If you can pitch and play defense, you’re going to stay in games and you’re going to win games you’re supposed to win. That’s going to be key for us.
“We got younger, we’re really athletic. I’d love to see our guys have really good second halves offensively, and I think they will. A lot is going to come down to our pitching.”
The Orioles contended last summer until the final week of the season. The roster is thin on playoff experience, but that September grind might have sharpened them.
“I think it really matters,” Hyde said. “I think playing all those meaningful games that we did in September … We were right around .500 this time last year and we were just trying to win every single night to try to stay in this thing as long as we possibly could, and I thought our guys pushed as hard as they could last year. We played the Blue Jays 10 times in September last year, and we played Houston, and we played really well in tough circumstances in meaningful games. I think that’s just going to benefit guys for this year.”
* Adley Rutschman put on quite the show in Monday’s Home Run Derby, hitting 27 in the first round – 21 from the left side of the plate and six from the right - before the White Sox’s Luis Robert Jr. followed with 28 to eliminate him.
Distance isn’t as important in games.
Rutschman leads the Orioles with 16 infield hits, adding to his total last night on a roller to Marlins shortstop Joey Wendle in the first inning. Wendle charged the ball and bobbled it.
Catchers aren’t known for beating out grounders, bouncers, and nubbers. Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk led primary catchers last season with 15 infield hits. Rutschman passed him last night.
The next target for Rutschman is Javy López, who collected 20 infield hits for the Orioles in 2004, per STATS, and 18, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Pick your favorite source.
The 20 would be the most for any Orioles catcher going back to 1987, per STATS.
* Dean Kremer has nine wins this season in night games, the most in the majors.
Kremer induced 16 swings and misses, the second-most in his career behind the 18 on July 5 in New York.