SARASOTA, Fla. – One of the biggest roster decisions for the Orioles has been made.
Left-hander DL Hall was among three pitchers optioned to minor league camp today following a 4-2 win over the Phillies.
Spenser Watkins and Yennier Canó also were cut to bring the number down to 41, including 10 non-roster invites. Fifteen additional moves are pending.
The Orioles fly to Boston after Tuesday's workout in Sarasota.
Hall got a late start in spring training due to lower-back discomfort that he noticed about three weeks before reporting. He made only two appearances, and the Orioles decided against putting him in the bullpen on Opening Day.
“Had a little bit of a shortened spring training, but he threw the ball great,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Really happy with the progress he made. I love the way he threw the ball all spring training when he was out there. Just want to give him a few more innings and build him up a little bit more.”
Hall held the Pirates to one run in 2 1/3 innings last night in Bradenton, with his fastball again at 93-95 mph. He debuted on Monday in Clearwater and allowed one earned run and three total in 1 2/3 innings. The lefty walked three batters this spring and struck out seven.
The Orioles put Hall on a starter’s schedule and intend to keep him on it.
“It’s just hard to build guys in the bullpen, honestly, just because you never know what’s going to happen night to night,” Hyde said. “We just felt like the best thing for him right now is to keep him as a starter and get him stretched out in Norfolk.”
Asked how the No. 2 pitching prospect handled the news, Hyde said, “I think it’s just a matter of time for him. We were super happy with how he threw the ball this spring and loved the progress he’s made. None of these guys want to hear that they’re not breaking with us, but I think he took it like a pro.”
Hall made his major league debut Aug. 13 at Tropicana Field and returned to the Orioles in September to serve in a relief role for a team unexpectedly in contention. He allowed one run in his last eight appearances, but the intent all along was the keep developing him as a starter.
The process won’t happen quickly.
“He hasn’t even gone three innings yet,” Hyde said, “so it’s going to take a few starts.”
Removing Hall from bullpen consideration could improve the chances for Rule 5 pick Andrew Politi or Mike Baumann. A decision also must be made regarding Tyler Wells. And veteran Mychal Givens seems headed to the injured list with a sore left knee.
Doors are opening.
Watkins went five innings and threw 80 pitches a few days ago on a back field. He made four appearances in the Grapefruit League and allowed six earned runs and seven total in 13 innings.
“We’re happy to have Spenser in Triple-A with us,” Hyde said. “We’re going to need more than five starters. Just want him to stay ready.”
Kyle Bradish made his final bid for the rotation by allowing one run and one hit in five innings, with one walk, three strikeouts and a hit batter. He threw 86 pitches, with plenty of full counts and foul balls.
“I thought he was pretty good,” Hyde said. “He was tough to hit, he gave up a hit or two. Would like to see him have little bit shorter innings and throw a little more strikes, to be honest with you, because his stuff is so good. But he got his pitch count up, went five innings. Had a lot of wasted pitches I feel like he can minimize.”
Canó earned the save last night against the Pirates. Acquired from the Twins in the Jorge López deadline trade, Canó was scored upon in only one of seven outings, with four runs over seven innings. He walked none and struck out 10.
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