Orioles notes on bullpen decision, Vespi's shuttling, Rutschman as DH, facing Rom and upcoming Rays series

The Orioles didn’t send down left-hander Cole Irvin again today based on poor evaluations of his performance. Circumstances beyond his control removed him from the active roster and the clubhouse.

Irvin was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, with Nick Vespi recalled again.

“Because of the six-man rotation right now, as well as, the last four or five starts have been short, so our bullpen has taken a heavy load, that whole Boston series and the first game here against St. Louis,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just felt like we needed a bullpen arm.”

Irvin has been optioned three times. He could return again but must stay in the minors for a minimum of 15 days unless replacing an injured player.

“We’ll see,” Hyde said.

Hyde also said Irvin and Vespi have handled the shuttling “very well.” Vespi’s been optioned four times.

“I’ve answered that a lot,” he said, laughing.

“Same as last year almost. I’m pretty used to it now,” Vespi said.

“Just keep working and chipping away at trying to be full-time up here.”

What advice would Vespi give to other pitchers who are reluctant to unpack their bags?

“Head down, work hard,” he said. “You control your own destiny at the end of the day, so just keep pitching well and the chips will fall.”

Irvin was the long man in the ‘pen. The Orioles don’t have anyone who’s stretched out to work three or more innings.

Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter in back-to-back games with James McCann catching.

“Just because we’ve got a lot of right-handers coming up,” Hyde said. “We’re facing four righties in Tampa. Give him a couple DH days before that.”

The Orioles are prepping tonight for left-hander Drew Rom, who was recalled earlier this season but didn’t pitch before his deadline trade to the Cardinals.

“I think I saw him throw one inning in spring training,” Hyde said. “I think our guys are a lot more familiar just because they played with him. We’ve got to get him in the strike zone. Had a couple of rough starts and a pretty good one.”

Hyde spoke to Norfolk manager Buck Britton this morning to get a scouting report.

“We’ve got to be able to elevate the ball and get him in the strike zone for us to have success,” Hyde said. “He’s got a good arm.”

The Rays defeated the Twins 5-4 this afternoon and reduced the Orioles’ division lead to 2 ½ games. The teams begin a crucial four-game series Thursday night at Camden Yards, with the magic number to clinch the American League East staying at 15.

“First and foremost is tonight,” said Hyde, who’s reluctant to talk about a future series of any magnitude. “We need to take care of tonight, we need to play our best baseball and score some runs and hopefully put us in the position to stay three games up going into the series tomorrow. But I know it’s going to be a big series and it’s a team we know very well, and it’s going to be exciting for the fans and we’re looking forward to it.

“Obviously, have come a long way to play in these types of games in mid-September against a team that’s a really, really good club. I want our guys to enjoy it, honestly. Let’s win tonight first, though.”

The Orioles have been selected to appear on FOX on Saturday, Sept. 30 against the Red Sox at Camden Yards. First pitch is now scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The game will no longer be televised on MASN.

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