As the Orioles monitor innings and workloads, they also formulate plans for pitchers on injury rehab assignments or resets in the minors.
Tyler Wells falls into the latter category, after the Orioles optioned him to Double-A Bowie on July 30. He isn’t hurt but easily can be mistaken for a rehab guy because he’s off the major league roster and his appearances are spread out to provide more rest.
Wells tossed 3 1/3 innings with Double-A Bowie last Saturday and allowed one run and two hits. He’s starting again tonight in Richmond, and his pitch count will be extended at least slightly “to keep him ready,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
Hyde exchanged text messages with Wells Thursday morning.
“He feels really good,” Hyde said. “I think this break was huge for him. … He’s doing a lot of mechanical work, backing off this throwing, things like that. Hopefully, he’s a big part of our team down the stretch.”
Whether he’s a big part of the Orioles’ rotation remains to be seen, but he could be an important contributor in any role.
Cole Irvin starts tonight in Seattle, as the Orioles expand to six starters.
“We’re going to kind of see where we are after Tyler throws this next time,” Hyde said. “We’re kind of day-to-day a little bit on everything, waiting to see when guys are going to be ready. But as of right now we want to give some of our rotation guys some extra days.”
* Minor league pitcher Zach Peek began his injury rehab assignment yesterday in the Florida Complex League.
Peek hasn’t faced hitters in a game since July 2, 2022 with the Baysox. He underwent Tommy John surgery a month later.
Yesterday’s outing lasted two-thirds of an inning. Peek was charged with one earned run and four total, with two hits and a strikeout. Grabiel Salazar let an inherited runner score, in an outing when he faced 11 batters and hit three of them.
Carter Baumler also pitched on a rehab assignment and tossed three scoreless innings with one hit, one walk and three strikeouts.
The Orioles acquired Peek from the Angels in the Dylan Bundy trade on Dec. 4, 2019. Kyle Bradish was the jewel in that deal.
* The Orioles are attempting to become only the second team to reach the playoffs two years after losing 110 or more games. Their odds are better than 90 percent.
The Astros, who took two of three games from the Orioles this week, are the other team to do it in 2015 after going 51-111 in 2013.
* Which Orioles player entered last night with the lowest average against low pitches in a minimum 75 plate appearances?
You have 10 seconds.
OK, it’s infielder Ramón Urías at .114, per STATS.
* The Orioles are an aggressive yet patient group of hitters, which seems contradictory unless you understand their philosophy and training.
Attack pitches in your zone. Lay off the ones that you can’t barrel. Learn how to recognize the difference.
Perhaps it’s expected that catcher Adley Rutschman began last night with the second-lowest swing percentage in baseball on the first pitch at 11.3 – minimum 200 plate appearances — following Cleveland’s Steven Kwan at 11.2.
Rutschman began last night with 66 walks that ranked third in the American League behind the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (74) and the Mariners’ J.P. Crawford (68). His .373 on-base percentage was sixth.
Rutschman also went into last night’s game with a .421 on-base percentage against left-handers, walking on 17.1 percent of his plate appearances. But Seattle is starting only right-handers in the series.
* Ryan Mountcastle is back to barreling balls since he came off the injured list.
Amazing how much vertigo can mess with a player’s swing.
Mountcastle’s contact rate on pitches thrown in the zone was up to 91.8 percent since his return, compared to 82.2 before the Orioles put him on the injured list, according to STATS.