Kyle Bradish will make an injury rehab start Friday night at Double-A Bowie, perhaps the final hurdle before his return to the active roster.
The Orioles, ideally, would like Bradish to work four or five innings.
Bradish is on the 15-day injured list with a bruised right foot, the result of a 104-mph line drive from the Rangers’ Jonah Heim on April 3. He’s eligible to return on the 19th in D.C., which would be normal rest following his appearance with the Baysox.
“His side (session) went really well,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s feeling a lot better. I just walked past him in the weight room. He looks great, feels good. We got lucky there.”
Grayson Rodriguez makes his second major league start tonight, and his first at Camden Yards. The Orioles have resisted having a six-man rotation, but there’s going to be excess if Rodriguez impresses, as he did Wednesday in his final four innings in Texas.
“It is a get-there-when-we-get-there situation,” Hyde said. “Things can change fast around here. One day you feel like you’re set and you’ve got to make a bunch of tough decisions, and the next day you feel short. We’ll see what happens.
“We have those two off-days around the Nationals series. It’s tough to have a six-man rotation during that stretch because you’ll have guys who won’t be starting for a while. We’re going to take it day-to-day.”
Rodriguez retired 13 of the last 15 Rangers and tapped into the stuff that wasn’t readily available to him in spring training. Looked more like himself, which is all that the Orioles have asked from him.
The special circumstances of a major league debut have been replaced tonight by the thrill of pitching at home, which Rodriguez has dreamed about since the Orioles made him the 11th-overall pick in the 2018 draft.
“Watching prospects make their debuts and going through some firsts is always fun,” Hyde said. “Adley (Rutschman) and Gunnar (Henderson) last year, DL (Hall) last year, now Grayson. Guys that we’ve been following for a while, since my first year here, hearing a lot about, watching them progress through the minor leagues and now arriving. It’s exciting and special for everybody who’s an Orioles fan.
“It’s a big night for him and I’m sure he’s going to be nervous like he was in Texas. His first home start, T-shirts. I just hope he goes and relaxes and pitches like he did from that second inning on, because that was great stuff.”
The Orioles haven’t made a public commitment to Rodriguez in the rotation or shown any interest in switching him to the bullpen.
“I think we’re keeping our options open with everything and trying to win,” Hyde said. “We feel like whoever’s going to give us our best chance to win, that’s who we’re going with.”
The start in Rodriguez’s home state came unexpectedly and fast after Bradish’s injury and Tyler Wells’ usage in relief. He’s had lots of time to process tonight’s assignment and the T-shirt giveaway.
Which is better for him?
“Should I have told him he’s not starting today? Should I have kept it a guess? ‘You have a T-shirt, but it might be tomorrow,’” Hyde quipped.
“That was thrown in at the last minute, but this is the big league and he knows when he’s going to be pitching again to prepare for the start, just like a normal major league pitcher. Have a side in between, do his prep work for the Oakland Athletics. And now it’s about performing.”
Austin Hays is leading off tonight against left-hander Kyle Muller, with Cedric Mullins lowered to ninth. Hyde batted Ramón Urías first against Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale on April 1 and Urías struck out five times.
“It’s something we’ve been going ‘round and ‘round with against left-handed starters,” Hyde said. “I tried Urías in Boston, didn’t go great, but Austin had a big game that game. So, maybe tonight Hays doesn’t but Urías has a big game. No, let’s not say that.
“Austin’s had really good at-bats the last couple games. He’s been swinging the bat well against left-handers, and so we’re going with him.”
Cole Irvin found a media crowd at his locker this afternoon, smiling as he turned around, knowing exactly what was coming.
How did he get the idea for the celebratory homer hose that made its own debut last night?
Well, there was a sprinkler act during the talent show in spring training, which he chooses to keep private, the turn-on-the-water gesture after singles and the sprinkler move after extra-base hits.
“Sticking with the water theme, I came up with the homer hose,” Irvin said. “Ultimately turned out to (be) drinking out of a hose and that kind of thing, but the funnel made it look a little different. … It’s kind of fun. We like to have fun in the dugout. Dugout participation is high right now. It’s all good fun. Just kind of happened within the clubhouse and inspired by certain events that I won’t talk about.”
Clubhouse closeness evolves in many ways, including the distribution of T-shirts, championship belts and home run chains.
“They’re great,” Irvin said. “Every year I feel like a team comes together in different ways. I’ve seen it in the past couple different teams, and here, it’s very water-themed. We’re having fun with it, we’re enjoying it. The fact that we have the dugout participation with those doubles and the dugout participation with the homer hose makes it a lot of fun. It keeps the game fun for us, keeps us engaged, and that’s all we’re trying to do.”
Irvin ordered a five-foot hose off Amazon, which failed to arrive by Easter weekend. Keegan Akin wrapped black and orange tape around it.
“I think I needed a three-foot one,” Irvin said. “If not, Keegan and I will probably MacGyver this one for temporary use.”
Sanitizing the hose is becoming a priority.
“We’ll probably have to clean some things up,” Irvin said. “We’ll have some fun with it, but I was surprised by the trendiness of it. I didn’t think it would last, and here we are. I’m glad everyone enjoys it.”
Catcher James McCann was chosen as the first Oriole to pour water into the hose, after Ryan Mountcastle’s home run. A big responsibility.
“As soon as it happened they pointed to me and said, ‘You’ve got the first one,” McCann said. “I grabbed it and we got hydrated really quickly. Too much, you might get bloated. First inning might be tough.”
Mountcastle displayed the proper technique by bending at the knees and getting the proper flow.
“It was cool,” he said. “Normally you’re supposed to fill it up before you get it in your hands. They were filling it as I had it in my hands. It wasn’t as smooth. And a whole water bottle, so it was a lot. I was sort of a trial run, and after that it went a little smoother.
“It’s awesome. It was a good time, and hopefully I can get some more tonight.”
Irvin said the players aren’t encouraging alcohol abuse or binge drinking and discourage other names besides “homer hose.”
“We’re certainly drinking water, and definitely not going down to Gatorade because that would ruin the hose,” he said. “The biggest thing is, I’m sticking to homer hose because when we were kids we drank out of a hose when we were playing ball in the street and having fun as kids. That’s where the inspiration came from, and so I’m definitely not out there promoting binge drinking or anything like that.
“It’s from a kid-like mentality of drinking out of a hose and having fun playing the game the right way with our friends. That’s what it is.
“We’re just staying hydrated out there after a long trot around the bases.”
The Athletics haven’t announced Thursday’s starter but right-hander Adam Oller is expected to get the assignment.
For the Athletics
Tony Kemp 2B
Ryan Noda 1B
Jesús Aguilar DH
Brent Rooker RF
Jace Peterson 3B
Kevin Smith SS
Conner Capel LF
Shea Langeliers C
Esteury Ruiz CF
Kyle Muller LHP