Leftovers for breakfast

Albert Suárez made a run at a rotation spot in spring training, faltered late and was reassigned to minor league camp. He was an unexpected addition to the roster on April 17 after the Orioles placed Tyler Wells on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. And he keeps finding ways to contribute.

Maybe to complicate, too.

Two starts produced a combined 11 1/3 scoreless innings, because the man is full of surprises. The Orioles ran out of room in the rotation and moved him to the bullpen, where he retired all seven Cincinnati batters he faced Sunday afternoon.

“He made it look pretty easy,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Nothing was simple about Suárez’s assignment Wednesday night in D.C. The 10th inning, automatic runner on second base, game on the line. Luis García Jr. didn’t budge because Suárez induced a grounder and fly ball and struck out Joey Meneses on a 96 mph four-seamer to keep the score tied.

The Nationals tallied two runs in the bottom of the 11th, a ground-rule double and sacrifice fly burning Súarez, but Hyde praised him afterward while lamenting the “back-side double there that hurt.” Putting a man on second base, which led to an unearned run, also didn’t do the right-hander any favors, but those are the rules.

Being Albert Suárez means never feeling secure in a role or on a roster. Grayson Rodriguez and Tyler Wells eventually will be reinstated from the IL, though the latter hasn’t begun a throwing program. Hard decisions also are pending.

In the meantime, Suárez keeps impressing and proving his value. Maybe he stays in Wednesday’s game if the Orioles hadn’t lost their designated hitter and Heston Kjerstad had to pinch-hit for him in the 12th.

“It’s a ton of strikes. Fastball, slider, change,” Hyde said.

“He commands the ball so well. He just throws so many strikes.”

Suárez made his third start on five days’ rest and was working on six when he faced the Reds. He probably wouldn’t know how to react on a more structured schedule.

If he can go nearly seven years between major league appearances, he can adapt to anything the Orioles throw at him.

“With the rest (before Sunday), it was kind of like I was ready to start, you know?” he said, smiling.

“Coming out of the bullpen for me is a different routine. I don’t really think about it other than going in there and doing my job. I focus on getting ready and going out there and executing.”

Playing catch before games is part of the adjustment to relieving. Like any starter, he’d have a side session leading to his next outing. Tossing in the outfield now is done to make certain that he can get ready quicker if necessary.

“So during the game it doesn’t take too much time for me to warm up,” he said. “When you start, you need a little bit of time.”

* Cedric Mullins went 0-for-5 Wednesday night, including 0-for-2 against Nationals left-handed rookie starter Mitchell Parker and a strikeout against southpaw reliever Robert Garcia. He batted ninth for the first time this season but 39th of his career.

The game began with Mullins 5-for-35 against lefties, and it didn’t boost his numbers. He posted a .233 average against right-handers and left-handers during an injury-marred 2023 season.

Hyde can find reasons to play Mullins on most nights.

“He’s, for me, one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, so to have him on the field’s a big deal for us,” Hyde said. “He’s not swinging the bat against lefties the way he wants to right now, but that could change. We also have eight other good players that you have to fit in.

“Maybe he doesn’t get the lefty the third time through, too, so you kind of factor all those type of things in. But he’s a big part of our team, a huge part of what we do defensively, and he’s a game-changer for us when he’s going offensively.

“It was nice to see him get a hit (Tuesday) night. He went left-on-left, got a nice double in Cincinnati. So I think the at-bats are getting better.”

* Ryan Mountcastle and Hunter Harvey are best friends and former roommates in the Orioles organization. Mountcastle was in Harvey’s wedding. These guys are tight. And they have a fun rivalry going that’s totally one-sided.

Mountcastle has faced Harvey twice and hit two home runs, the first in September 2022 in D.C.

“That’s the first time I ever laughed giving up a home run,” Harvey said.

“I got him, man,” Mountcastle said that night, “and it's probably one of my favorite home runs I've ever hit.”

At least, it was.

Harvey faced Mountcastle in the 11th inning Wednesday night with the automatic runner on second base, threw a splitter and watched it sail into the left field bullpen. A one-pitch at-bat.

"I think he got lucky. That's the only thing I can think of," Harvey said with a mullet and a grin.

"Cause he hit that, and I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me. You're not sitting splitter. There's no way.'"

* Former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor, who recorded the final out in the 1983 World Series, will sign autographs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum on 216 Emory St. in Baltimore.

Any item can be signed for $10. Inscriptions are $5.

Tickets are available at the door or in advance. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Former Baltimore Colts Bert Jones, Lydell Mitchell Joe Ehrmann and George Kunz will participate in a virtual program and Q&A session from 7-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

* And finally, I enjoyed this quote Wednesday from Red Sox manager Alex Cora prior to his team facing Chris Sale, who was traded to the Braves in December.

Asked about the Red Sox’s game plan against Sale, Cora told the Boston media, "Let’s take a look at the Orioles last year and hopefully we can copy them."

Yes, let’s look.

Sale went 0-3 in four starts, with 19 earned runs and 20 total in 17 innings. He allowed 25 hits and walked six batters.

Well, so much for that idea. Sale tossed six scoreless innings against the Red Sox and struck out 10 batters.

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