O's pregame notes on Webb's luck with liner, Westburg out of lineup, Fujinami's improvement and more

Reliever Jacob Webb witnessed two teammates get hit in the head by line drives to the mound. He’s been struck twice, on the back of his upper leg and his ribs, and he’s caught one ball before it could leave a mark.

Webb was able to react last night to Luis Robert Jr.’s 110.3 mph liner, turning his body and putting up a hand to protect his face. It deflected off his left upper back, leaving a red mark, but he faced two more batters.

"He got hit right below the shoulder blade there, so it got a lot of meat and not so much bone," manager Brandon Hyde said later. "He got lucky."

Webb said he’s “feeling great” today.

“Nothing major. It skimmed me a little bit and a little bit of a scare, but we’re good,” he said.

“It was coming at me like face region. Luckily, I got out of the way. It still hurt last night. It was like burning. Didn’t get me flush, I would say. Just kind of grazed me. It looked like he got more of the jersey. Good to go today. Nothing’s wrong, nothing’s hurting.”

Webb threw two pitches to test the back and convinced Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel that he could resume his appearance.

“Just had some adrenaline going,” he said. “It (discomfort) was mainly last night, the post-adrenaline wearing off. Felt like burning. It felt weird a little bit. But I woke up this morning and I was actually pretty surprised by how not sore I was. That spot wasn’t bothering me or anything like that. It worked out pretty good.”

Closer Félix Bautista sustained an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and could be sidelined for the rest of the season, with 2024 a worst-case scenario. The Orioles are trying to keep the rest of the bullpen intact and add to it.

“Just thankful it didn’t clip me really good,” said Webb, whose allowed two runs in 11 appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings. “I’m healthy and I’m here.”

Robert’s line drive wasn’t payback, but Webb could joke about it. Webb accidentally hit Robert in the ninth inning of a June 29 game while pitching for the Angels. Robert stole second and third base and scored on Andrew Vaughn’s triple.

* Jordan Westburg is out of the lineup on back-to-back nights, but he’s fine physically.

“I want (Adam) Frazier in there against the righty,” Hyde said. “It has nothing to do with Jordan. (Ramón) Urías is playing great defense and trying to get him going a little bit offensively. Can’t play everybody.”

* Reliever Shintaro Fujinami retired the side in order last night in the ninth inning. He hasn’t allowed a run or walked a batter in his last four appearances totaling five innings.

“He’s throwing strikes,” Hyde said, explaining the difference in Fujinami from earlier. “Working ahead in the count, more aggressive with his fastball – 101, 102. More confidence the last couple times out. Quick inning last night, that was awesome. Just hopefully keep feeding him confidence and attack the strike zone and be aggressive with his fastball.

“His split’s really good. I think he struck out the last batter with his slider last night. He’s got great stuff. Just keep on pitching him.”

* The Orioles are sticking with their six-man rotation, with mostly positive results flowing from it.

“Let’s not jinx it,” Hyde said.

“I think whenever you go with a six-man rotation, you’re super worried about bullpen and being able to keep guys as fresh as possible, and having one less guy down there. But when our starters go six more innings a night, that’s been really, really helpful, and they’ve all done a great job.”

The expanded rotation, with left-hander Cole Irvin moved into it, was designed to provide more rest for the younger starters and control innings. But there are other considerations.

“I think it was the right thing to do from where we are with all those guys now,” Hyde said. “We’re planning on playing an extra month, and so, to do that, we’ve got to get there first. But to have stretched these guys into positions where they’ve never been before, the right thing to do was to try to help them out from a health standpoint.”

Hyde stomped on the brake when asked about the toll of playing an extra month. He almost was lured into looking ahead.

“It’s totally different, but you’ve got serious adrenaline going,” he said. “We’re not talking about that yet. We’re talking about finishing the season strong, talking about the White Sox tonight. Try to win the series. Then, we have another West Coast road trip, long flight. And hopefully we continue to play well.”

* A win tonight would be the 83rd, matching last year’s total.

“I didn’t put any sort of win goal or anything on the year,” Hyde said. “I just honestly wanted them to improve from last year and see where we were. I think a lot of things have to come into play, a lot of things have to go well from a health standpoint. So, you never know in spring training.

“We were pretty young, so I think that things come up. It’s tough to be a young player in this league, so you never know how guys are going to react. I’ve been so impressed with our team. Our players deserve so much credit for the season they’ve had up to this point. They’ve come together extremely well as a team. You don’t know that, either. You don’t know how well your team’s going to bond, and ours has been amazing. These guys really like each other and they like to win together. Just unbelievable comradery.

“Those are the things you’re hoping for when you have that spring training first talk. You talk about those types of things but you don’t know if it’s going to come into place. You hope it does and you try to set it up for them, but things happen. These guys have done everything we’ve asked and more. An incredible group of guys.”

For the White Sox
Tim Anderson SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Luis Robert Jr. CF
Eloy Jiménez DH
Yoán Moncada 3B
Andrew Vaughn 1B
Oscar Colás RF
Lenyn Sosa 2B
Korey Lee C

Jesse Scholtens RHP

O's game blog: Looking for a series win against th...
Orioles lineup vs. White Sox at Camden Yards

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