Orioles reduced to optioning effective pitchers while shortening staff

Follow the Orioles long enough and you can begin to compile a list of players who made brief stops, got their major league debuts out of the way and returned to the minors. Some came back later, others disappeared as if walking into a heavy fog or an Iowa cornfield.

There’s more than a kernel of truth to it.

If there must be some shuffling on the pitching staff, the club would prefer to do it based only on the need for fresher arms after a long game, homestand or road trip, not an epic failure. The conversations in the manager’s office are a little easier when they begin with, “It isn’t you, it’s me.”

As a team, you know that you’re trending in a good direction.

But there’s also the other side of it. Shaking hands for a job well done and arranging for travel papers.

It happened twice yesterday, with the Orioles sending down right-hander Logan Gillaspie and lefty Nick Vespi.

Gillaspie gone after 3 2/3 scoreless innings in two appearances. Vespi earning the win Friday night in his debut by shutting out the Rays in the 12th and 13th and striking out three batters.

“As you start getting better and you start getting more talent at the upper levels and you start getting more talent in the big leagues, the roster moves you make become harder and harder, because you’re losing guys that you don’t want to lose sometimes, out of necessity,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

“I’m just so impressed with how our young guys so far this year have come up here and competed at a high level. That’s what I’m so happy about. Gillaspie, we know his story, and then Vespi, who’s a minor league grinder that gets an opportunity, and they come in and help us win major league games. You’ll see them back up here at some point. But just the job that they’ve done was fantastic, and not an easy situation.

“Vespi comes into a tie game in extra innings against the Tampa Bay Rays and did great, and Gillaspie twice has done fantastic, his debut and then (Friday) night. So, really impressed with how our young players have come up here and competed in a tough division and a tough league.”

The Orioles are back down to 13 pitchers, swapping two for first baseman Ryan Mountcastle and reliever Mike Baumann.

Mountcastle came off the injured list. Baumann came from Charlotte, where Triple-A Norfolk was playing.

Baumann appeared in five games before the Orioles optioned him, allowing five earned runs (six total) and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. The six walks were most concerning.

Given instructions to be more aggressive in the zone, Baumann pitched in four games and allowed four runs and six hits with four walks and 12 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. He issued one walk and struck out 10 in his last three appearances over 7 2/3.

“Throwing the ball well,” Hyde said. “Built him up a little bit to go multiple innings, which is what we need right now. We’re pretty short. He went down, worked on his command. It sounds like it’s gotten better. We know about Mike’s stuff. He’s got great stuff, he’s got great makeup, love the kid. Now it’s about throwing strikes, and he did that at Norfolk, and they built him up a little bit, pitch-wise.”

Baumann relieved Kyle Bradish last night and didn’t walk a batter in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed one run on Kevin Kiermaier’s homer.

He threw 51 pitches, 35 for strikes.

He will try to stay around and avoid hearing, “It isn’t you …”

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