More on Hall's role, Santander's hot stretch, Rutschman's usage, numbers game and Means' recovery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The elevation of DL Hall to the majors yesterday isn’t as interesting as his immediate demotion after the game.

Hall made a spot start for the Orioles in an 8-2 loss to the Rays. The exact definition of the term. But he didn’t plug a temporary hole in the rotation, which is the usual excuse.

The Orioles had that spot covered with veteran Jordan Lyles, who’s pushed back to today. Spenser Watkins would have started the series finale, but he worked in relief yesterday and is expected to be on hold until Thursday’s makeup game against the Cubs.

Hall came up to get acclimated to life in the majors, a brief but important taste. To get his feet wet. And they didn’t have time to dry before he was packing for a return trip to Triple-A Norfolk.

I get the sense that Hall knew this was a one-and-done. That the plan was explained to him. He wasn’t blindsided by it.

Join the Orioles in St. Petersburg, make the start, head back down and become a reliever.

Teammates appeared to be clued in before he took the mound.

This bullpen gig is only temporary, of course. Hall is a starter first. But the Orioles want his arm for the stretch run and must be careful with his innings. The ideal compromise.

The next few weeks will be spent transitioning Hall from his starter routine. He’ll get regular rest before pitching again, then be used in shortened stints with compressed rest days.

In other words, treated like a reliever. There won’t be five days between appearances. He won’t throw 90-100 pitches.

Hall can be a one-to-three-inning weapon for the Orioles, beginning in late August or early September after rosters expand from 26 to 28. It’s been done by other teams.

The Rays had first-overall draft pick David Price debut out of the bullpen in September 2018 and pitch in relief in the playoffs and World Series. Hall was handled a bit differently by making yesterday’s start, but it’s still similar.  

Both left-handed, too, but that’s not the point.

Hall will report to spring training next year as a starter, but this is going to be fun. Watching him come out of the ‘pen in a pennant race and see how teams handle his stuff in shorter bursts. Could be a lethal weapon for the Orioles, and a really good experience for him.

* Anthony Santander was slashing .331/.385/.548 in his last 31 games before yesterday, with 12 doubles, five home runs, 20 RBIs, 19 runs scored, five walks and six hit-by-pitches. He walked and reached on an infield hit yesterday in his first two plate appearances, and was robbed of an extra-base hit in the ninth inning on right fielder Roman Quinn’s leaping catch against the fence.

Santander is putting up these numbers and making this kind of hard contact with a sore wrist, which is more impressive.

The outfielder began experiencing discomfort about a week ago, and it was a delayed reaction from the July 12-13 series against the Cubs in Chicago. He made a diving attempt on a ball and landed on the wrist.

Didn’t feel it until recently. For whatever reason.

He has a strange history with this sort of thing.

Santander received treatment for a sore knee last summer, but he didn’t notice any pain until a few weeks after the play that caused it.

* Adley Rutschman caught Friday night, served as the designated hitter yesterday and is catching Lyles this afternoon in the series finale.

Manager Brandon Hyde is a little more willing to push Rutschman with the growing distance between the March triceps strain and the summer months. But there’s still the usual caution with any player in that position, notably the reluctance to start him behind the plate with a rest period under 24 hours.

You could have bet that Robinson Chirinos would catch DL Hall yesterday.

“He’s played quite a bit,” Hyde said. “Still day games after night games, those types of things, we’re still a little bit cautious there. He’s never played a full season, and so you catch those games that he did at home with a 106 degree heat index …

“He was going to catch that third game in a row there (Wednesday), as well, and those kinds of things wear on you behind the plate, so we’re constantly monitoring him and making sure that he’s healthy through September.”

* Hall made his major league debut yesterday wearing No. 49.

The last Oriole to be assigned that number?

If you guessed pitcher Brandon Waddell in 2021, go to the window and collect your winnings. And then, get help.

Waddell appeared in only one game with the Orioles, tossing a scoreless inning with one walk.

Veteran starter Wade LeBlanc had the number to begin the season, and Waddell inherited it later.

You’re welcome.

* A leftover from last week’s mailbag:

Any updates on John Means?
None of your business. I kid! Means was in Texas during the trade deadline because he lives there. Visited the team, was checked by the athletic training staff. Means said his rehab and the elbow “are great.” His time is spent working out and being a husband and father. He’s eagerly waiting to throw in a couple of months.

No setbacks. It's going as well as you'd want.

Orioles recall Gillaspie, option Hall
Hall pitches into fourth inning in debut that ends...

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