Mike Elias updates on Rodriguez, Hyde talks about Kremer

Grayson

Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said today that baseball's top pitching prospect, right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, could return this year to pitch in September. He added that whether that happens or not, the club is very much expecting that Rodriguez will begin the 2023 season in the Orioles rotation from opening day on.

Rodriguez, who is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Norfolk, left his outing Wednesday after throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings on two hits. He was closing in on his major league debut when he walked off the mound with the trainer in what was described last night as a lat issue.

Elias confirmed the same today and said that, after additional medical review, Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a grade II lat strain.

“He’s going to, basically, have to rest and build back up, ramp back up, and it’s going to be a process that takes at least several weeks,” Elias told reporters in the Orioles dugout. “There is probably a lot of variability to the exact amount of weeks this takes to get back out to competition. It just kind of depends how it goes. He’s feeling really good right now, so that’s a good sign. But statistically, you look at these professional pitchers and I think that the bull's eye right now is on the month of September, when we would have the option of getting him back out on the field. We’ll see. He may beat that timeline, it may take longer than that.

“Whether or not we decide to pitch him again in September, or just let the season end, it’s going to be TBD (to be determined). So we’ll see. The good news is this is an injury we have a very, very high degree of confidence that it’s going to heal. And he’ll back to himself in no time. And at the very least put himself in position to join our rotation out of spring training. That’s our hope. We’re looking forward to getting him back to work. He’s a tough kid and a very hard worker, so I expect he’s going to do very well.”

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Kremer starting today against Guardians (plus lineups)

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The Orioles are removing pitcher Dean Kremer from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk and installing him as today’s starter against the Guardians in the last game of the series.

Kremer has tossed nine scoreless innings in three minor league starts, with two hits, two walks and 18 strikeouts.

This is Kremer’s first appearance with the Orioles since he started the first game of a Sept. 11, 2021 doubleheader against the Blue Jays and allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings. Toronto hit three home runs.

The final touches on a season that Kremer wants to forget.

He went 0-7 with a 7.55 ERA and 1.640 WHIP in 13 starts, competed for a rotation spot in spring training, and strained his oblique while warming in the bullpen during the third game at Tropicana Field. Kremer was supposed to enter in relief, but walked to the dugout with the injury.

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Talking about the draft, Kjerstad, G-Rod, Watkins and the 'pen

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Going back to what I wrote yesterday, the Orioles’ draft board is down to five players they could choose with the first-overall selection.

Of course, no one is going to pass around the names, but prep infielder Termarr Johnson obviously is on it. He worked out yesterday morning, his audience including executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, manager Brandon Hyde, co-hitting coaches Ryan Fuller and Matt Borgschulte, and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel.

Catcher Adley Rutschman walked over to the batting cage and watched part of the session.

Baseball America’s 4.0 mock draft has the Orioles selecting Oklahoma prep shortstop Jackson Holliday. Previous versions have tied the Orioles to Georgia prep outfielder Druw Jones, son of former major league outfielder Andruw Jones.

Probably safe to assume those two also are on the Orioles’ board. But they also are scouting IMG Academy outfielder Elijah Green, son of former NFL tight end Eric Green, and Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee is viewed as a top five talent by many evaluators.

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Home runs power Orioles past Guardians 5-4 (updated)

Home runs power Orioles past Guardians 5-4 (updated)

Tyler Wells was hours away from the postgame meal today and he already had lots to digest.

A first inning with the first two batters retired and José Ramírez hitting an opposite-field home run.

A second inning with the first two batters retired and Andrés Giménez hitting a ball onto Eutaw Street.

Wells struck out Luke Maile, walked back to the dugout and replayed the mistakes in his mind. Having his fill of them.

The Guardians ran out of power, the Orioles supplied more in support of the Wells and the bullpen, and they evened the series with a 5-4 victory at Camden Yards.

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Hyde on Rutschman: "He's going to be just fine"

Hyde on Rutschman: "He's going to be just fine"

Adley Rutschman will return to his catching duties on Sunday afternoon, and could come off the bench today. He’s in good health. The team has no concerns about his slow start at the plate.

It’s just being careful with him after the spring training triceps injury. It’s not going to catch him in a day game following a night game. And it won’t bury Robinson Chirinos, who is in today’s lineup.

Rutschman is 7-for-47 (.149) with a double and triple in 12 games. No home runs or RBIs. He struck out three times last night to raise his total to 14 – seven in his last three games – but also lined out to Ernie Clement, who raced to the line and made the running catch in the fifth inning to temporarily preserve Shane Bieber’s no-hit bid.

Thursday night’s 10-inning loss to the Mariners ended with Rutschman lining into the shift, the expected batting average .960.

Expectations were raised to such heights that manager Brandon Hyde said, “That’s why I was downplaying it so much.

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Orioles lineup vs. Guardians

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Robinson Chirinos is catching this afternoon and Ryan Mountcastle is the designated hitter, as the Orioles continue their series against the Guardians at sunny Camden Yards.

Adley Rutschman is counted among the reserves.

Tyler Nevin joins him, with Ramón Urías back at third base.

First baseman Trey Mancini has reached safely in 26 of his last 27 games since May 8 and is 41-for-115 (.365) since May 1.

Austin Hays’ hitting streak ended last night at 13 games.

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Leftovers for breakfast

Cionel Perez throwing black

Cionel Pérez has been so successful and dependable for the Orioles this season that any stumble feels like a hard fall.

Manager Brandon Hyde replaced starter Jordan Lyles with Pérez Thursday night after the veteran let the first three Mariners reach base in the sixth and allowed a run-scoring single to Eugenio Suarez. Hyde wanted Pérez to face the left-handed hitting Adam Frazier, and the inning never really matters.

It's all about the matchup.

Frazier lifted a sacrifice fly, Pérez walked the next two batters – including left-handed hitting Taylor Trammell - and Joey Krehbiel surrendered a two-run single to Luis Torrens.

Only the second earned run charged to Pérez this season in 20 games, his first since May 12 in St. Louis. His ERA skyrocketed to 1.08.

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Orioles wait until too late to begin hitting in 6-3 loss (updated)

mancini swing home orange

Bruce Zimmermann’s side work this week might have received as much attention as any start he’s made in 2022.

Zimmermann knew he had to try something else with the home runs against him reaching club-record proportions. The Orioles targeted the vulnerable areas, just as his opponents had done.

Mechanical adjustments were part of the process, nothing that they were going to broadcast to the world or just the Guardians. An attempt to get teams off his slider and changeup, which the Red Sox appeared to be sitting on during Sunday’s blowout loss.

In a game that demands adjustments, particularly from young pitchers, Zimmermann had to find a fix and hoped it began in the bullpen with pitching coach Chris Holt and assistant Darren Holmes.

“We believe in Zimm,” manager Brandon Hyde said before the game.

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More on Krehbiel, Vespi, Owings, Nevin and Jones

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The Orioles are going to be without reliever Joey Krehbiel for at least 15 days due to right shoulder inflammation. However, they don’t seem concerned that his absence from the bullpen will be extensive.

“Hopefully, it’s just a couple weeks and give him time to rest it and work in the training room with Brian (Ebel) and the guys, and it won’t be too long,” manager Brandon Hyde said today.

Left-hander Nick Vespi returns to the Orioles with his 0.00 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings with Triple-A Norfolk. His major league debut consisted of two scoreless innings before the Orioles optioned him.

“He’s had an incredible year in Norfolk,” Hyde said. “It was just one of those situations where we needed to send him out last time out just from a numbers standpoint and what we needed in the bullpen the next day, unfortunately, because he threw the ball so well for us. So, we’re happy to have him back.

“With the new rules this year, it’s unfortunate that you have to wait a little longer to bring guys back, unless there’s an injury, but also, as you start getting more talented in your upper levels, start getting more talented in the big leagues, you start having to make tougher decisions. But as well is having talented guys in Triple-A to call up, so we’re excited to bring him back up as a bullpen option for us. He’s going to be live for us tonight.”

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Orioles recall Vespi and Nevin (plus lineups and notes)

Tyler Nevin defense white

The Orioles announced the reported roster move this afternoon, with reliever Joey Krehbiel going on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation and left-hander Nick Vespi being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.

But there were others.

Tyler Nevin was recalled from Norfolk and infielder Chris Owings went on the bereavement list. Nevin is starting at third base tonight.

Infielder Jahmai Jones was placed on unconditional release waivers. Jones underwent Tommy John surgery last week.

Adley Rutschman is catching Bruce Zimmermann tonight. Ramón Urías is on the bench.

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Vespi joining Orioles in Baltimore, Rosenbaum earns promotion

vespi debut black

The Orioles are recalling left-hander Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk, an industry source confirmed. Vespi likely is coming back to replace reliever Joey Krehbiel, who exited last night’s game against the Mariners with right shoulder discomfort.

Krehbiel was scheduled to undergo tests on his shoulder today and appears headed to the 15-day injured list.

Vespi retired all three batters he faced last night and got two strikeouts. He threw 11 pitches, keeping him ready for tonight, and maintained a 0.00 ERA in 18 1/3 innings. He’s struck out 26 batters.

Vespi made his major league debut, and his only appearance, on May 20 against the Rays and tossed two scoreless innings.

Krehbiel faced two batters last night, his fastball velocity in steep decline, and exited the game after a two-run single and walk.

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Akin relishing role that's bringing him records

Keegan Aiken white jersey

Keegan Akin had no idea that he held an Orioles’ record or that it existed. A visitor to his locker yesterday shared the news.

No Orioles reliever had thrown two or more innings in his first 11 appearances of the season. Akin blew past Jimmy Haynes for the team mark of 10 and has tied Chuck Crim for the major league record of 14 set in 1987.

“I did not know that,” Akin said, making no attempt to impersonate Johnny Carson.

The item is in the game notes, but Akin probably doesn’t peruse them at his locker.

“That’s pretty cool,” he said, smiling. “I didn’t see that.”

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Orioles run out of rallies in 10-inning loss (updated)

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The Orioles received their biggest hit today a few hours before the game started, learning that baseball’s top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, might miss a significant portion of the season with a strained lat muscle.

A delayed debut stung worse than a fastball to the ribs, but the Orioles had the major league side of business to occupy them. Players on the 26-man roster trying to win a home series against the Mariners. Manager Brandon Hyde tasked with guiding them through it.

Process the news and move on from it.

The Orioles led twice through the midpoint of the game and rallied for three runs in the sixth to create another tie, their ability to bounce back from adversity not limited to past losses, but the Mariners scored against Jorge López in the 10th and won 7-6 at Camden Yards.

López retired the first five batters he faced, but the automatic runner came home in the 10th on Abraham Toro’s one-out triple to center field, the ball deflecting off Cedric Mullins’ glove near the fence. López had two runners in scoring position with two outs and stranded them, and his ERA tumbled to 1.05 after he worked 2 1/3 innings.

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Rodriguez sidelined with strained right lat muscle

Grayson

Grayson Rodriguez, the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball who appeared on the verge of making his Orioles debut, has been diagnosed with a strained right lat muscle. He underwent an orthopedic exam and MRI earlier today in Baltimore, which revealed the exact nature of the injury.

Rodriguez left last night’s game at Triple-A Norfolk after 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said the right-hander will seek other opinions from the multiple physicians on the staff and consult various sports medicine doctors and those who are lat focused experts.

“Still in the process of assessing what the exact course of action and timetable would be associated with that, but we’re pretty confident that that’s the diagnosis that we’re working with,” Elias said.

“I think the good news is it’s his lat muscle and not more shoulder capsule, throwing arm related pathologies that you might see. It’s safe to say he’s going to miss some time, and probably a decent amount of time at a minimum, and we’ll take it from here. But it’s something that time should rectify at some point.

“Certainly a very disappointing development in terms of the 2022 calendar and our hopes and his, but it’s something that we’ll ultimately get through.”

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Orioles and Mariners lineups (and notes)

Jordan Lyles throwing white

Grayson Rodriguez is undergoing further testing today in Baltimore, and the Orioles hope to have more information later.

Rodriguez left last night’s start after 5 2/3 scoreless innings with discomfort in his right lat.

There’s definitely some concern within the organization because Rodriguez is the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball and nearing his major league debut. But the team isn’t commenting until it receives more information.

Tonight’s lineup against the Mariners doesn’t include shortstop Jorge Mateo, who’s getting a day off. No issues with his health, according to manager Brandon Hyde.

Chris Owings has replaced Mateo at shortstop.

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More of this, that and the other

Adley Rutschman orange catching gear

The smile, chuckle and slight eye roll gave away Trey Mancini’s opinion on the subject, and he didn’t need to hear the rest of the question.

He knew what was coming and found the amusement in it.

Adley Rutschman began last night’s game on the bench, a break that manager Brandon Hyde planned in advance. Baseball’s top prospect is living up to the defensive hype with his skills and energy behind the plate and handling of pitchers, but he’s 7-for-39 with no home runs and 10 strikeouts in 10 games.

Three of those strikeouts occurred in Tuesday’s series opener against the Mariners, after his second career two-hit game the previous night. A botched ruling on a checked swing was responsible for the first strikeout.

Do the veterans in the clubhouse make sure that Rutschman isn’t stressing over the slow start, that he remains unaffected by it?

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Orioles hit four home runs in 9-2 win (updated)

mancini touches plate white

The idea of platooning Orioles second baseman Rougned Odor doesn’t seem to carry the same logic as it did earlier in the season.

Manager Brandon Hyde kept Odor in the lineup tonight against Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray. One pitch validated his decision.

Odor jumped on a slider from Ray in the second inning and drove it to the back of the flag court for a three-run homer. And the Orioles were just getting started.

Didn’t matter who was on the mound. Didn’t matter where the ball was hit.

Ryan Mountcastle, Ramón Urías and Trey Mancini homered in the sixth inning after Sergio Romo entered the game, and the Orioles cruised to a 9-2 win at steamy Camden Yards.

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Grayson Rodriguez leaves start with lat discomfort

Grayson

While the Orioles are flashing their power tonight with four home runs, top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings at Triple-A Norfolk and walked off the mound with an athletic trainer after a lengthy conversation that included manager Buck Britton and pitching coach Justin Ramsey.

Rodriguez exited the game against Jacksonville with right lat discomfort, according to the Orioles. He’ll undergo further testing.

There’s nothing wrong with his elbow, which is the good news, but it's too early to know whether his next outing is in jeopardy.

John Means has dealt with a similar issue for several years, at times able to pitch through it and others missing weeks.

The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle covering the width of the middle and lower back.  It connects the bone of the upper arm to the spine and the hip.

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Hyde on roster move, Mullins, Hays and more

hays-and-mullins-celebrate-home-orange

The Orioles were expected to make a roster move this afternoon after left-hander Zac Lowther covered 5 1/3 innings last night. There was no reason to keep him in the bullpen while being unavailable for at least three days.

Lowther was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, with Denyi Reyes returning to the club. Reyes can provide length out of the bullpen.

Manager Brandon Hyde appreciates that Lowther aided the ‘pen last night with an extended appearance, though the final line included six runs (five earned), plus two inherited from Bryan Baker.

“Zac did a great job for us,” Hyde said. “The first couple innings were a little rough. Once the game got to where it was, we really needed him to go as long as he possibly could, and he did that. I told him I appreciated the effort and I appreciated him staying out there for us. It allowed me not to use some other guys that I wouldn’t want to use in that type of situation, and unfortunately that’s just kind of the way the game goes. You option guys down.

“We got Denyi Reyes up here because of what he did in Boston and the things he’s done here to give us some relief help.”

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Orioles recall Reyes and option Lowther

Orioles recall Reyes and option Lowther

The Orioles swapped out pitchers again today, recalling Denyi Reyes from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning left-hander Zac Lowther.

Lowther threw 100 pitches last night in 5 1/3 innings. Reyes was the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader in Boston, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings in Game 2, and remained eligible to be recalled in fewer than 10 days.

Lowther was the first Orioles reliever last night to throw at least 100 pitches since Gabriel Ynoa on May 5, 2017.

Adley Rutschman is on the bench tonight as the Orioles continue their series against the Mariners. He’s 7-for-39 in 10 games.

Trey Mancini is playing first base and Anthony Santander is the right fielder and cleanup hitter.

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