Orioles place Rodriguez on injured list and reinstate Means

Grayson Rodriguez

The Orioles reinstated John Means from the 15-day injured list this afternoon. How they made room for him wasn’t among the speculated moves.

Grayson Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day IL with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to yesterday.

Rodriguez rebounded Monday from a rough start by shutting out the Yankees over 5 2/3 innings. He threw 101 pitches to tie his career high and navigated through some clutter with five hits and three walks.

He didn’t exhibit any signs of injury and was much sharper than his outing in Anaheim, when he allowed seven runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings.

For the season, Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.412 WHIP in six starts and has struck out 37 batters in 34 innings.

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Curiosities mounting over Orioles' pitching plans

Kyle Bradish

The Orioles haven’t announced their starter for Thursday afternoon, when they close out their series against the Yankees and the latest homestand. The spot remains TBA, with an assumption attached that Kyle Bradish is making his 2024 debut.

Bradish would be working on an extra days’ rest after starting Friday with Triple-A Norfolk. Cole Irvin would be taking his normal turn if he’s the choice.

The Orioles head to Cincinnati for a weekend series. Irvin has made three career appearances against the Reds, including one start, and allowed only one run in 5 1/3 innings. But stats in small samples aren’t swaying the Orioles one way or the other.

The number that really matters is six – an extra starter in a five-man rotation.

John Means will make it seven later this week.

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Kremer goes seven innings and Webb handles closing duties in Orioles' 4-2 win (updated)

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One of the biggest potential influencers in tonight’s game was doing important work on the field before batting practice. Craig Kimbrel stretched while holding a weighted ball, played catch and walked to the bullpen for a lengthy session. The Orioles needed proof that the tightness was gone in his upper back and he could be a consideration in a save situation.

On Wednesday, as it turned out.

Manager Brandon Hyde was giving Kimbrel another game to recover after the veteran closer was removed Sunday in the ninth inning, his third appearance in five days. But don’t tell the Yankees your plans. Let them think he’s ready.

Let him appear to demonstrate that he could take the ball in the ninth and see how the game played out.

Don’t worry about putting the cart before the horse. Figure it out before knowing whether a lead would require protecting.

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Orioles pregame notes on Kimbrel, Bradish and Means returns, Kjerstad and more

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Craig Kimbrel is feeling much better after leaving Sunday’s game against Oakland with tightness in his upper back. However, his availability for tonight remains in question.

Manager Brandon Hyde couldn’t provide much of an update during his media session.

“Not really sure,” Hyde said. “He’s going through some treatment stuff right now and then I’m going to talk to him here in a little bit. But as of right now at 3:42, I’m not really sure.”

Kimbrel did some stretching exercises on the field, played catch and had an extensive bullpen session. He appeared to be throwing with maximum effort.

Hyde is going with a closer by committee during Kimbrel’s absence, with Danny Coulombe getting the last three outs last night for his third career save.

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Orioles lineup vs. Yankees in second game of series

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Jorge Mateo gets the start at second base tonight for the Orioles and James McCann is behind the plate.

Heston Kjerstad stays on the bench against a left-hander, former Orioles Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes. He’s been in the lineup once since the Orioles recalled him last Tuesday.

Colton Cowser is in left field and batting ninth. Jordan Westburg is the third baseman.

Dean Kremer is making his sixth start. He’s posted a 4.61 ERA and 1.061 WHIP in 27 1/3 innings.

Kremer struck out 10 batters over 5 1/3 innings in his last start in Anaheim. He has a 5.04 ERA and 1.410 WHIP in nine career starts against the Yankees.

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Because You Asked - Back to Perfection

Gunnar Henderson

My mailbag is like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” or Alexander Godunov in “Die Hard.” You think it’s finished and suddenly it bolts upright in a tub filled with water or somehow removes a heavy iron chain from around its neck after an apparent strangulation.

If it were the Wicked Witch of the East, it would have wiggled out from underneath Dorothy’s house. Could have saved her a lot of trouble.

I tried to empty it six days ago, but here we are again.

Also indestructible are my rules against editing. I make my style clear without needing length to explain it.

And finally, an important reminder that my mailbag deserves its own bobblehead and yours is clogging the basepaths when kids run the bases.

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Henderson homers again and Coulombe closes out Orioles' 2-0 win (updated)

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Gunnar Henderson paused at home plate, as he’s done for many of his home runs. Not too long as to show up the pitcher. His timing is ideal with his swing and how he admires its work.

Henderson hit his third leadoff homer tonight and his 10th overall to tie Mike Trout for the major league lead. He barreled the seventh pitch from Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt, a knuckle-curve, and lined it onto the flag court in right field at 112.3 mph off the bat.

Next came the familiar celebration after rounding the bases, the hop and the low, hard hand slap with Adley Rutschman, followed by the double-slap with Ryan O’Hearn near the dugout.

Only two other Orioles totaled 10 homers before May 1: Brady Anderson in 1996 and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in 1969.

"I'm not expecting him to go deep in the first inning," said manager Brandon Hyde. "I just want to see him hit as much as possible."

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Hyde on Kimbrel, optioning Tate, Hays injury and more

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The Orioles won’t have closer Craig Kimbrel available tonight, but at least he stays on the active roster.

Kimbrel left yesterday’s game with upper-back tightness after fumbling his second lead in three days. He wasn’t at his locker this afternoon during media clubhouse access, but manager Brandon Hyde said the veteran is “feeling better” and “kind of day-to-day right now.”

“He’s got some general soreness in his back,” Hyde said, “but he’s feeling better.”

Asked whether Kimbrel can avoid the injured list, Hyde said, “I hope so.”

Kimbrel didn’t allow an earned run in 10 consecutive appearances since his April 1 blown save against the Royals in his Orioles debut. He struck out 14 batters without a walk, but issued six free passes in his last four games.

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Pérez returns to Orioles active roster and Tate optioned (plus lineups)

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The Orioles reinstated left-hander Cionel Pérez from the 15-day injured list today and optioned reliever Dillon Tate to Triple-A Norfolk.

Pérez pitched twice with Norfolk on his injury rehab assignment. He faced two batters on March 30 at Camden Yards, strained his oblique muscle and walked off the field.

Tate made 11 appearances and allowed four earned runs (five total) in 12 2/3 innings. He replaced Craig Kimbrel yesterday in the ninth inning.

Kimbrel avoided the IL and is day-to-day with tightness in his upper back. Manager Brandon Hyde said Kimbrel is feeling better.

Kyle Bradish and John Means are here and ready to be reinstated later this week. Bradish could start Thursday afternoon.

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Mansolino offers infield opinions of Westburg, Holliday, Henderson and Mountcastle

Jordan Westburg

Jordan Westburg began yesterday’s game on the bench, only the second time this season that his name was missing from the lineup. He wouldn’t budge because of a stomach virus, robbing the Orioles of a bat that might have impacted the outcome of the game, a 7-6 loss to the Athletics.

Westburg has made 18 starts at third base and six at second, and he’s also served once as the designated hitter. He’ll return to the infield tonight if he’s recovered from the bug, still charged with only one error in 93 major league games.

Memories are fuzzy when it comes to identifying the location and exact situation, but Westburg’s lone miscue happened on Aug. 15, 2023 in San Diego. Manager Brandon Hyde did some shuffling after the top of the seventh inning, moving Ramón Urías from third base to first, shifting Ryan O’Hearn from first to right field, and sending Westburg into the game to play third.

The Orioles were down 10-1 when the first batter in the inning, Xander Bogaerts reached on a ground ball that Westburg fielded to his left before bouncing the throw. Urías couldn’t handle it and Westburg was charged with the error.

Bogaerts raced to third base on Jake Cronenworth’s double, but Mike Baumann escaped the jam with two strikeouts and a fly ball. No harm done.

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Kimbrel can't hold lead and leaves with injury in 7-6 loss (updated)

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Craig Kimbrel attracted two mound visits today from manager Brandon Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel. The first, after the veteran closer issued a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced in the top of the ninth inning and fell behind 1-0 to the next. The last, after Oakland's Kyle McCann hit a go-ahead two-run homer and Kimbrel fell behind again 1-0.

A second consecutive blown save from Kimbrel might not be the worst news.

Kimbrel walked off the mound with Ebel while Hyde signaled for Dillon Tate, and the Orioles lost 7-6 before an announced crowd of 40,887 at sun-splashed Camden Yards.

Another attempt failed to record his eighth save this season and the 425th of his career, which would tie the Red Sox’s Kenley Jansen for fifth place on the all-time list. Kimbrel's fastball was in the mid-90s, but something obviously wasn't right.

Hyde said afterward that Kimbrel had upper-back tightness." Kimbrel was in the trainers' room and unavailable to the media.

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Westburg moves to bench for today's series finale

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Albert Suárez makes his third start for the Orioles today as they close out their series against the Athletics, and tries to maintain his 0.00 ERA.

Suárez hasn’t allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings since the Orioles selected his contract. And he’s fighting to stay in the rotation with Kyle Bradish and John Means nearing their returns.

Means starts this afternoon at Triple-A Norfolk in the last appearance on his rehab assignment.

Suárez has made two career appearances against the Athletics, including one start, and allowed five runs with 10 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. The relief appearance was Aug. 2, 2017, and the start was June 28, 2016.

Ryan O’Hearn is playing right field today, with Anthony Santander the designated hitter.

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Quick Q&A with former Orioles reliever T.J. McFarland

Quick Q&A with former Orioles reliever T.J. McFarland

T.J. McFarland allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 spring training innings with the Dodgers, couldn’t make the club and had the green light to find another team. He “peeked over the fence,” as he put it yesterday, and found a match.

McFarland, 34, is in town with the Athletics. He retired the only batter he faced Friday night in his 15th appearance, which led the American League and tied for most in the majors.

So much has changed since the Orioles selected McFarland in the 2012 Rule 5 draft. They made the playoffs the season before his arrival and twice more before his release in February 2017. He’s bounced around from the Diamondbacks organization to the Athletics, Nationals, Cardinals, Mets, Orioles, Dodgers and Athletics again after they purchased his contract in March.

The Orioles signed McFarland on July 22 and he posted a 1.80 ERA and 1.100 WHIP in 21 games with Triple-A Norfolk. He didn’t get promoted but was the winning pitcher in the Triple-A championship game.

The champagne was just as cold.

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Irvin shines again with latest gem in 7-0 win (updated)

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The Orioles are close to testing the age-old baseball theory that teams never can have too much pitching.

Cole Irvin must wonder how he plays into the experiment.

Kyle Bradish is leaving his injury rehab assignment and starting for the Orioles next week. John Means makes his final rehab appearance on Sunday, which sets up his return.

The process of elimination could make Irvin vulnerable to a bullpen shift, but the timing would be peculiar given his recent dominance. A whole new meaning to leaving on a high note.

Irvin stated his case again today at high volume to be left alone. After tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings last weekend in Kansas City, he shut out the Athletics for seven in a 7-0 victory before an announced crowd of 28,364 at chilly and damp Camden Yards.

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Kyle Bradish set to join Orioles rotation

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Kyle Bradish is coming back to the Orioles, and a little faster than anticipated.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Bradish is returning to the major league rotation. The right-hander’s injury rehab assignment will end early.

Bradish started last night for Triple-A Norfolk and held Gwinnett to one run in five innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. He’s stretched out to 77 pitches.

The assignment technically began on April 16 with three scoreless innings at Double-A Bowie, and the 30-day period would have carried Bradish into the middle of May. However, he threw a live batting practice session on April 11 at High-A Aberdeen, which sped up the process to get him ready.

“He threw the ball really well last night and our medical team talked to him this morning,” Hyde said. “Our pitching guys, as well. He feels great. We’re just looking right now kind of when to slot him in, but he’s going to be with us soon.”

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Irvin back on mound as Orioles try to even series with Athletics

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Colton Cowser stays in left field this afternoon and Jorge Mateo gets the start at second base, as the Orioles attempt to bounce back from last night’s 3-2, 10-inning loss to Oakland.

James McCann is catching, with Adley Rutschman serving as designated hitter.

Anthony Santander is batting .303/.425/.606 (10-for-33) with five doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBIs, five walks and four runs scored in his last nine games since April 16. He’s in right field today and batting cleanup.

Ryan Mountcastle has registered a .937 OPS when batting third this season, more than .150 points higher than his OPS when hitting in all other spots (.756), per STATS. He’s the first baseman.

Left-hander Cole Irvin, trying to hold onto his spot in the rotation, is coming off his finest outing with the Orioles. He shut out the Royals over 6 2/3 innings Sunday in Kansas City. They batted .133 against his fastball.

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Orioles trying to follow path of 1966 champions

Robinson, Powell, Palmer first pitch

The Orioles scored twice last night in the opening game of another homestand, a paltry output by their standards but also exhibiting two ways they can go about their offensive business.

They collected three singles in the third inning, the last two with two outs, keeping a rally alive and passing the bat to the next guy.

Cedric Mullins launched a changeup onto the flag court in right field in the fourth to break a tie. They also can flex their muscle.

This is a special group, with numbers early on that haven’t been posted here in a long time.

The game began with the Orioles leading the American League with a .260 average, .459 slugging percentage and .780 OPS. The last time they finished a season first in all three categories was also the first time they were crowned champions.

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Orioles can't hold late lead and lose 3-2 in 10 innings (updated)

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Corbin Burnes finished the first inning, shook his head in frustration - at least partly with the plate umpire’s strike zone but more at himself - and walked to the dugout. Catcher Adley Rutschman met him along the first base line and could have been invisible.

On a night that the Orioles optioned top prospect Jackson Holliday, the veteran right-hander needed his own reset before returning to the mound. Shea Langeliers homered on a first-pitch cutter with two outs, the fifth run surrendered by Burnes in the first inning this season. But Burnes regained control of his start and did his usual ace-like work. His troubles seemed to disappear.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, so did their slim lead. And that was the most frustrating part.

Closer Craig Kimbrel, trying for a 425th career save that would have tied him with Kenley Jansen for 5th place on the all-time list, failed to retire any of the five batters faced in the ninth, the only out coming on a play at the plate. He left with the bases loaded and the score knotted and Keegan Akin prevented the go-ahead run from crossing, but the Athletics won in 10 innings 3-2 before an announced crowd of 22,965 at chilly Camden Yards.

Jacob Webb let the go-ahead run score after a 5-2-5-3 fielder's choice removed the automatic runner. Brent Rooker doubled to left field to give Oakland the lead.

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Elias on Holliday's "little hiccup" and how baseball's top prospect can benefit from it

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Jackson Holliday met with Orioles officials earlier today and was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk with a specific agenda. Areas of improvement were detailed. They just weren’t shared with everyone.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias met with the media today for about 20 minutes and explained the club’s decision to option Holliday, baseball’s No. 1 prospect who went 2-for-34 with one RBI, two walks, 18 strikeouts and five runs scored in 10 games.

The inability to get hot at the plate was a prime factor, of course. No complaints about his defense at second base, a relatively new position. The Orioles will be facing another wave of left-handed starters, which would have put Holliday on the bench. And his struggles were harder for a contending team to overlook than perhaps the 110-loss group from the rebuilding days.

There isn’t a firm timeline for Holliday’s return, but he apparently won’t be rushed back to the majors at the first whiff of success.

“I want to emphasize that this is a kid that’s doing extremely well and is at the very infancy of his major league career,” Elias said. “I don’t know if anyone else from his age group or draft class, high school hitters, are even out of A-ball levels yet. I want to stress that he’s doing very, very well and way ahead of the curve. And this was a decision out of camp that was very borderline at the time. Got a lot of opinions. We ended up sending him down and he hit really, really well in Triple-A for a couple of series, about two weeks, and so we decided to call him up and see how the translation to the major leagues would go on a short-term basis, and what we have seen here and had seen led me to the evaluation and the opinion that he would benefit from going back and adjusting there rather than doing it here in real time.

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Orioles lineup vs. Athletics in series opener at Camden Yards

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Ramón Urías is starting at third base tonight with Jordan Westburg at second following the Orioles’ decision to option Jackson Holliday to Triple-A Norfolk.

Urías is batting ninth and Westburg is slotted seventh. Colton Cowser is in left field and batting eighth.

Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter.

Corbin Burnes is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 0.920 WHIP in five starts. He’s never faced the Athletics.

Right-handed and left-handed hitters have registered a .208 average against Burnes in his career. Right-handers have a .612 OPS and left-handers have a .602 OPS.

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