Orioles reliever Dillon Tate is ready to begin his injury rehab assignment Tuesday night with High-A Aberdeen, which is playing in Wilmington, Del.
Tate didn’t pitch in spring training due to a right elbow flexor strain. The injury surfaced in November, denying him a chance to join Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Early projections from the club had Tate being out until mid-to-late May.
Asked whether Tate’s return to game action is faster than anticipated, manager Brandon Hyde said, “I think it’s pretty much on schedule.”
The Orioles won’t assign a specific total of appearances for Tate before he’s deemed ready to be activated.
“You never want to put a number on it because you don’t know how guys are going to recover after,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, he gets a few and feels great after.”
Reliever Mychal Givens is expected to begin his rehab assignment later in the week. He’s on the 15-day injured list with left knee inflammation.
Improvements from the rotation are allowing Hyde to ease some of the workload on his bullpen, which was supposed to have Tate and Givens serve as bridges to closer Félix Bautista. Tate posted a career-low 3.05 ERA last season in a career-high 67 appearances, with a 0.991 WHIP, while becoming a more reliable and consistent high-leverage reliever. Givens rejoined the Orioles after signing a $3 million contract in December with a mutual option for 2024.
“We’re going to have absences throughout the year,” Hyde said. “That happens with bullpens and pitching in general. Not everybody’s going to be 100 percent usually.
“They’ve done a good job, especially of late. Obviously, pitching really well the last handful of games. But it would be nice to have a couple guys back who have major league experience and done some good things. Hopefully, that is around the corner, but in the meantime, I think our guys have picked up the slack pretty well and I like where we are right now.”
Left-hander Cionel Pérez has posted a 4.50 ERA and 2.625 WHIP in nine appearances, compared to 1.40 and 1.162 in 66 games last summer. He’s allowed 16 hits in eight innings.
“Just a little bit missing kind of middle part of the plate in some instances,” Hyde said. “He’s really, really tough to hit, so players are aggressive against him. Don’t want to get to two strikes. And he just made a couple mistakes middle part of the plate. There hasn’t been like damage against him. It’s just some singles and some balls getting through.
“Because of that, it led to a couple walks his last appearance because he was trying to bury some pitches and not have guys jump on him early. But the stuff is still there, confidence is there. I haven’t lost confidence in him.”
Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter tonight. He’s played in every game, with 14 starts behind the plate.
“He won’t play 162,” Hyde said.
Anthony Bemboom is in the clubhouse and Mark Kolozsvary’s locker from yesterday is empty. Bemboom is tonight’s taxi catcher.
Rain continues to fall in Baltimore and it seems unlikely that the game would start on time, but Hyde said, “As of now, we’re playing. I haven’t heard that we’re not.”
This could bring a change to the lineup. Jorge Mateo is back at shortstop after leaving Wednesday’s game in D.C. with right hip soreness.
“I’m going to talk to him,” Hyde said. “Because it’s going to be so wet out there, I’m reconsidering that right now. We’ll see what the next few hours look like.”
Here are the starters for the Red Sox series at Camden Yards:
Monday: Dean Kremer vs. Chris Sale
Tuesday: Kyle Bradish vs. Corey Kluber
Wednesday: Tyler Wells vs. TBA
Update: Mateo is out of the lineup as a precaution. Here's the new one:
Austin Hays LF
Adley Rutschman DH
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Ramón Urías 3B
Adam Frazier 2B
James McCann C
Gunnar Henderson SS
Cedric Mullins CF
Kyle Gibson RHP