Grayson Rodriguez starting tomorrow for Orioles (plus Mullins, Pérez updates)

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez has not started for the Orioles since May 26. That stretch will end on Monday night when he will start the series opener for the Orioles against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camden Yards.

Manager Brandon Hyde made that announcement today about Rodriguez, who is 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA in eight Triple-A starts this year.

“Very pleased, and the reports have been awesome about how the command has improved,” said Hyde of Rodriguez, 23. “The stuff has always been there. It’s all about command for him. He’s throwing the ball extremely well with command at Triple-A and we’re excited for him to start tomorrow.”

Rodriguez pitched three scoreless innings July 9 in his last outing, which was a planned shorter one. He has allowed just two earned runs in 19 1/3 his past four Triple-A games.

Will Rodriguez stay in the rotation, or will that be determined start-to-start?

“I think we’re in the mindset of winning games right now and hopefully he sticks in the rotation the rest of the summer," Hyde said. 

Lefty Cole Irvin, who was warming up in the bullpen last night, but didn’t pitch in the game, is back in that ‘pen for now.

Rodriguez certainly had some good moments, and rocky ones too, in the bigs. He went 2-2 with a 7.35 ERA and 1.743 WHIP in 10 starts before he was sent back down. In that May 26 game he allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 versus Texas.

"Think the message was pretty clear when he went down on the reasons why," Hyde said. "What we felt like he needed to work on. I think kind of out of the gate down there wasn't as smooth, but the last few starts have been really good. They've done a nice job applying what we talked about here before he went down. So we feel comfortable where he is right now, and hopefully he can impact us positively the rest of the year."

Hyde said it's still a day-to-day situation as to whether the Orioles go back to 13 pitchers and 13 position players on a roster that now numbers 12 pitchers, 14 position players.

Updating Mullins: Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins is not in the starting lineup today, but the team still seems to feel they dodged a bullet after he left yesterday's game early.

Hyde removed Mullins for a pinch runner in the bottom of the second last night as the outfielder experienced right quad tightness. It happened when he ran from first to third base on a ball that ended up foul. Mullins is just recently back from a stint on the injured list that lasted nearly a month for a right groin strain.

"Getting treatment today. It's going to be kind of a day-to-day situation," said Hyde. "We feel like we got lucky a little bit and hopefully caught it the right time where, hopefully, he doesn't miss too much time."

While Mullins has hit just .246 with a .687 OPS in 16 games since his June 24 return to the active roster, his bat was really heating up in recent games. He had an RBI single in the second inning last night and is 6-for-10 over his past three games with a double, homer and three RBIs.

For the year, over 69 games, he’s batting .259/.347/.454/.801 with 16 doubles, three triples, nine homers, 14 steals and 47 RBIs.

Aaron Hicks was set to start in center field today but was scratched with lower back soreness. 

"Just woke up with lower back soreness, so just out of precaution we are holding him out of the lineup," said Hyde. 

Pérez on his rehab outing: O's bullpen lefty Cionel Pérez had a good outing last night for Bowie, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings in the fifth and sixth during Bowie’s 1-0 home win over Akron. He walked one and fanned three, throwing 25 pitches, 16 for strikes.

He went on the IL on July 4, retroactive to the previous day, with left forearm soreness. The issue came up on July 3 when he was playing catch in the outfield at Yankee Stadium.

"We're discussing that now," Hyde said when asked what is next for Pérez. "We're going to make a decision on when to add, or if he is going to make another (rehab) appearance. We're not sure."

“I felt really good,” Pérez said today through team translator Brandon Quinones. “Obviously, it was a rehab outing. Velocity was good. I felt really good the entire time, so it went well.”

Pérez added that he has not had any recent soreness at all.

“Not really. I’ve been feeling really good, you know, obviously working with the trainers trying to get right and trying to get back. Been feeling really good.”

Pérez said that catching the problem during warmups allowed the him and the Orioles to keep it from lingering.

“Obviously, being able to catch an injury early on in the process is beneficial, rather that catching it later on when it can be more detrimental," he said. "So, I think it was pretty good we could catch it early on and start to address it.”

Pérez, who last year posted 1.40 ERA in 66 games, is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 30 1/3 innings. He had thrown six consecutive scoreless innings at the time of the injury, and his last game was July 2.

“It definitely was a little bit difficult, but I was starting to get into a good rhythm and you start to see hard work paying off, but we continue to go forward and I feel like I’m right back there,” he said.

O's game blog: A chance for a sweep this afternoon...
Hicks scratched from Orioles lineup (updated)

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