Orioles option Cowser to create roster space for Hicks (plus notes)

hicks w bat @TBR

SAN DIEGO – The Orioles made the anticipated outfield switch today, reinstating Aaron Hicks from the 10-day injured list and optioning rookie Colton Cowser to Triple-A Norfolk.

Hicks strained his left hamstring July 24 while diving for a fly ball in Philadelphia – incorrectly ruled a catch – and returns after two rehab games with Norfolk.

Cowser is 7-for-61 with two doubles, four RBIs, 13 walks, 22 strikeouts and 15 runs scored in 26 games.

Cedric Mullins returned over the weekend in Seattle and won yesterday’s game by robbing Ty France of a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and delivering a two-run shot in the top of the 10th. His return cost Ryan McKenna a spot on the roster.

Mullins became the first player to rob a home run and hit one in the ninth inning or later of the same game over the last 10 seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info.

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Hicks' likely return, Givens' exit and more

Mychal Givens

SAN DIEGO – Be truthful and admit if a sense of panic or doubt began to creep in after the Orioles lost two of three games to the Astros at home and the opener in Seattle. And when the teams were scoreless Saturday heading to the top of the 10th inning at T-Mobile Park.

The retractable sky was falling.

The Mariners won eight in a row and 13 of 15. No one was hotter. But the Orioles prevailed 1-0 in 10 innings and followed yesterday by breaking a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth, surrendering the tying run with two outs in the bottom half on Dominic Canzone’s homer off Mike Baumann, and responding with a two-run shot from Cedric Mullins in the 10th to claim their 23rd series.

Mullins took a home run away from Ty France with a remarkable catch right before Canzone’s blast, then pulled a fastball into right field seats for his first homer since July 14, due to a second trip to the injured list.

Félix Bautista wasn’t available after working two innings Saturday. Baumann couldn’t secure his first major league save, but Shintaro Fujinami did. He didn’t have one in Japan, either.

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Orioles lineup to close out series in Seattle (Orioles DFA Givens)

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Last night’s 1-0, 10-inning win in Seattle guaranteed that the Orioles wouldn’t be swept in 77 consecutive series.

The Orioles ended the Mariners’ winning streak at eight games. A victory today would seal their 23rd series.

Cedric Mullins is on the bench today, with Austin Hays playing center field and Ryan O’Hearn in left.

Jordan Westburg is the third baseman and Gunnar Henderson is at shortstop. Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter.

Ryan Mountcastle had a go-ahead RBI single last night in the 10th and has reached base in a career-high 19 games in a row. He’s batting fifth and playing first base.

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Orioles and Mariners lineups in Seattle (and notes)

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The Orioles will attempt to rebound from last night’s 9-2 loss, their third in the last four games, by sending left-hander Cole Irvin to the mound for his first start since July 7 in Minnesota.

Irvin has made six relief appearances in a row. He’s inserted into a rotation now designed to provide more rest for the younger starters.

Irvin is 0-6 with an 8.42 ERA and 2.065 WHIP in six career games against the Mariners. He’s allowed 24 earned runs and 25 total with 41 hits in 25 2/3 innings.

Cedric Mullins is batting second tonight behind catcher Adley Rutschman. Gunnar Henderson is on the bench.

Ryan Mountcastle is the cleanup hitter, bumping first baseman Ryan O’Hearn to fifth. Mountcastle’s hitting streak ended last night at 12 games, but he’s reached base in 18 straight to set a career high.

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More leftovers for breakfast

Cole Irvin in grey

As the Orioles monitor innings and workloads, they also formulate plans for pitchers on injury rehab assignments or resets in the minors.

Tyler Wells falls into the latter category, after the Orioles optioned him to Double-A Bowie on July 30. He isn’t hurt but easily can be mistaken for a rehab guy because he’s off the major league roster and his appearances are spread out to provide more rest.

Wells tossed 3 1/3 innings with Double-A Bowie last Saturday and allowed one run and two hits. He’s starting again tonight in Richmond, and his pitch count will be extended at least slightly “to keep him ready,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Hyde exchanged text messages with Wells Thursday morning.

“He feels really good,” Hyde said. “I think this break was huge for him. … He’s doing a lot of mechanical work, backing off this throwing, things like that. Hopefully, he’s a big part of our team down the stretch.”

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Mullins batting fifth in Orioles lineup

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The Orioles are in Seattle tonight to begin their three-city West Coast road trip, and they’re trying to cool off a Mariners team that’s won seven games in a row and 12 of 14.

Cedric Mullins came off the injured list today and is playing center field, but manager Brandon Hyde is batting him fifth behind right fielder Ryan O’Hearn. Mullins is slotted fifth for the fifth time this season.

Adley Rutschman holds onto the leadoff spot, with shortstop Gunnar Henderson batting second.

Colton Cowser is in left field. Adam Frazier returns to Seattle and is starting at second base.

Ryan Mountcastle will attempt to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and his on-base streak to a career-high 18. He’s batting sixth and playing first base.

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Orioles reinstate Mullins and recall Vespi

Cedric Mullins black jersey

The Orioles gained a starting outfielder today and created a little more balance in their bullpen.

Cedric Mullins was reinstated from the 10-day injured list, and the Orioles recalled reliever Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk.

Outfielder Ryan McKenna and reliever Joey Krehbiel were optioned. The move with McKenna came after yesterday’s game.

Mullins is expected to lead off and play center field tonight in Seattle, where the Orioles begin a three-city West Coast swing. He hasn’t played since sustaining another groin injury while running the bases July 15 against the Marlins at Camden Yards.

Four rehab games with Double-A Bowie were deemed sufficient to activate Mullins, who went 3-for-20 with a couple of leaping catches.

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Leftovers for breakfast

Austin Hays

The third at-bat ended much like the first two, except the last strike was called.

Austin Hays fell behind 0-2 yesterday in the seventh inning, worked the count full and watched an 89 mph fastball from Astros reliever Phil Maton catch the outside half of the plate. Hays threw back his head in frustration, compounded by Adam Frazier running on the pitch and being thrown out at second base.

The opposite-field two-run homer Wednesday night didn’t unlock Hays, but it offered some relief and encouragement.

Hays is 16-for-90 (.178) in the second half. The home run off Crístian Javier was his first since July 9 in Minnesota, before starting in left field in the All-Star Game.

“Felt good,” he said. “He’s got a good heater, so just trying to get on top of that thing. It was a heater up in the zone, so I was able to center it up and drive it to the right side of the field.”

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Coulombe goes on injured list (plus lineups and notes - updated)


Orioles reliever Danny Coulombe was placed on the 15-day injured list this morning with left biceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to yesterday.

Reliever Joey Krehbiel, optioned on Monday, is recalled because he’s replacing an injured player. Krehbiel has a new locker set up at Camden Yards.

Coulombe is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 1.103 WHIP in 47 games. He’s an important high-leverage reliever for a bullpen that’s slipped to seventh in ERA in the majors at 3.71 after allowing 10 runs the past two nights.

Coulombe, who’s averaging 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings, hasn’t allowed a run in his last five appearances. He pitched Saturday and surrendered two hits in the eighth.

Krehbiel has retired all five batters faced with the Orioles, striking out two.

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A few lingering Orioles questions

Jorge Mateo runs

The Orioles haven’t been swept in their last 75 multi-game series. The streak could end this afternoon.

If the rain does.

They will try to play and win, board their flight to Seattle and resume the countdown until their final road trip of the regular season.

They’re down to only three – Seattle, San Diego and Oakland; Arizona, Anaheim and Boston from Sept. 1-10; Houston and Cleveland from Sept. 18-24.

The questions about this team never run out. I’ve got a few more.

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Hays home run isn't enough to prevent Orioles' 8-2 loss to Astros (updated)

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Jack Flaherty received the ball from catcher Adley Rutschman, flipped it in the air and caught it with his bare hand in a swiping motion. He picked up the rosin bag and spiked it. And he waited for pitching coach Chris Holt.

The frustration was building in the second inning. The pitcher who retired 15 batters in a row in Toronto was unable to slip his start into cruise control.

No serious wreckage, but a rough ride.

And the bullpen lost control again.

Flaherty left the bases loaded after falling behind by three runs in the second inning, and he did it again in the fifth. His follow-up outing with the Orioles, and first career start in Baltimore, was more of a grind, and the Astros prevailed 8-2 before an announced crowd of 25,479 at Camden Yards.

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Pregame Orioles notes on Mullins, Means, Givens, Webb and upcoming rotation


Center fielder Cedric Mullins could rejoin the Orioles for the start of their three-city West Coast trip.

The Orioles play a weekend series in Seattle before flying to San Diego and Oakland.

Mullins will stay with Double-A Bowie tonight for a fourth game. He’s 3-for-15 with the Baysox.

A second groin injury for Mullins this season is forcing the Orioles to be more careful with the workload. Perhaps ease him back into his usual role, seek more rest days.

“This last one was a little different in that, it started in a different spot and then it kind of moved,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Definitely want to keep him as healthy as I possibly can. So, probably talking to him every day, day games after night games, things like that. Might have to give him some rest to make sure he’s fresh.

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Updates on Urías and Hicks (plus lineups)

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Ramón Urías is out of the lineup tonight with a bruised heel. However, Urías said he’s feeling better and should be available off the bench.

Urías hit his heel with his bat during last night’s game and was removed after the sixth inning.

“It feels good,” he said. “Just a little sore today.”

Jordan Westburg is the third baseman tonight. Colton Cowser is playing center field.

Second baseman Adam Frazier is back in the lineup after jamming his right thumb during the last game in Toronto.

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Krehbiel optioned to make room for Webb

jacob webb pitching angels

The Orioles optioned reliever Joey Krehbiel to Triple-A Norfolk after last night’s game and activated reliever Jacob Webb, who was a waiver claim Monday from the Angels.

Krehbiel made two appearances with the Orioles and retired all five batters he faced.

Webb, who’s wearing No. 66, was designated for assignment Saturday after posting a 3.98 ERA and 1.358 WHIP in 29 relief appearances. He walked 20 batters and struck out 34 in 31 2/3 innings.

The Braves drafted Webb in the 18th round in 2014 out of Tabor College in Kansas. Prior to this season, he had appeared in 78 games over three seasons and had a 2.47 ERA and 1.304 WHIP in 76 2/3 innings.

Reliever Reed Garrett wore No. 66 earlier this season. It previously belonged to Tanner Scott and T.J. McFarland.

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Tossing out a few Orioles surprises after 113 games

Ryan O'Hearn

The Orioles will try to get back to 28 games above .500 tonight, perhaps stretching their lead to three over the second-place Rays, who gained a little ground last night.

Trying to contend again and grab a wild card berth has been replaced by winning the division and posting the best record to seize home field advantage.

Could make a fascinating book.

An entire chapter, maybe more, could be devoted to what many of us didn’t see coming.

For instance:

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Tucker's grand slam off Bautista leads Astros past Orioles 7-6 (updated)

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Among the many impressive accomplishments by the Orioles in 2023 is their handling of a starter who pitched a no-hitter in his previous outing. A trait that didn’t figure to surface twice.

They show no fear of also being on the wrong end of history. And they don’t tolerate any drama.

That last part didn't arrive tonight until the top of the ninth inning, against a closer who hadn't surrendered a run since June 24. Because baseball never lets itself become too predictable.

The Yankees’ Domingo Germán no-hit the Athletics on June 28, faced the Orioles on July 3 and surrendered three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. The Astros arrived today for a three-game series and sent Framber Valdez to the mound, a week after he became the first left-hander in franchise history to toss a no-hitter.

Adley Rutschman led off the bottom of the first inning with his 66th walk to surpass last year’s total, and Ryan Mountcastle drove an 83 mph cutter 472 feet to left-center field, beyond the bullpens, for the longest home run by an Orioles player in the Statcast era.

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Orioles pregame notes on Frazier, Mullins, Hicks, Webb and more


Orioles second baseman Adam Frazier has his right thumb taped after jamming it on a diving play in the final game in Toronto. He remains out of the lineup.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Frazier is available off the bench tonight. He might not have started anyway with the Orioles facing another left-hander, Houston’s Framber Valdez, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing.

“He’s been getting treatment since then, but he feels way better today,” Hyde said.

“He should be in there tomorrow.”

Center fielder Cedric Mullins remains with Double-A Bowie, starting in center field tonight in Richmond. His rehab assignment is nearing a conclusion.

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Orioles lineup vs. Astros (plus notes)

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Adley Rutschman is leading off and serving as designated hitter tonight, as the Orioles begin their three-game series against the Astros at Camden Yards.

The Orioles are facing another left-hander tonight, Framber Valdez, which obviously impacts how manager Brandon Hyde writes out his lineup.

Jorge Mateo is in center field, and Austin Hays returns to the lineup as the left fielder.

Gunnar Henderson is playing shortstop and batting fifth. He leads the Orioles with 62 runs scored and can become the first rookie to finish first in that category since Cal Ripken Jr. (90) in 1982, per STATS.

Willie Tasby led the Orioles with 69 runs in 1959 and Tito Francona was first with 62 in 1956.

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Because You Asked - Folie á Deux

Jackson Holliday futures game

The All-Star break didn’t shatter the Orioles’ momentum toward their first playoff berth in seven years.

They are 16-7 in the second half. Their lead over the Rays grew to three games. Their 70 wins matched the Braves’ total yesterday.

Any drama left in the season appears to involve possible promotions, fitting pitchers on the roster who are returning from the injured list, and whether the Orioles win the division and receive a first-round bye in the playoffs.

That last one is a biggie.

If the season ended today, the Orioles would kick back and wait for the winner of the Rays-Astros wild card series. The Rangers would play the Twins or Blue Jays.

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Orioles claim Webb on waivers (plus other notes)

Jacob Webb Angels jersey

The Orioles are making an adjustment to their bullpen prior to Tuesday night’s series opener against the Astros at Camden Yards.

Right-hander Jacob Webb has been claimed on waivers from the Angels. A corresponding move is pending because Webb hasn’t reported to the club.

A spot on the 40-man roster opened with pitcher Austin Voth transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Voth is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk, where he tossed a scoreless and hitless inning yesterday. He hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since June 13 due to right elbow soreness, so a move to the 60-day IL isn’t impactful for his return.

Webb, who turns 30 on Aug. 15, was designated for assignment Saturday after posting a 3.98 ERA and 1.358 WHIP in 29 relief appearances. He walked 20 batters and struck out 34 in 31 2/3 innings.

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