Orioles place Means on injured list and recall Heasley

means

CHICAGO – John Means is returning to the 15-day injured list.

The Orioles announced today that Means has been diagnosed with a left forearm strain, the same ailment that delayed his 2024 debut.

Reliever Jonathan Heasley was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to replace Means on the roster.

Means tossed three scoreless innings yesterday in St. Louis but was flexing his arm and experiencing a noticeable decline in velocity across the board. The game was interrupted by rain but Means wasn’t returning for the fourth.

This is the latest setback for Means, who returned from Tommy John surgery last September, made four starts and missed the Division Series due to the forearm strain.

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This, that and the other

John Means

The Orioles have talked about going to a six-man rotation, certainly by the brutal stretch in June with only one day off. In the meantime, Cole Irvin pitches out of the bullpen and waits to find out if he’s bouncing between roles again.

Too many starters? We heard it before Kyle Bradish and John Means were reinstated from the injured list. Tyler Wells and Grayson Rodriguez were sidelined by inflammation in the elbow and shoulder, respectively. These things, yes, have a way of working themselves out.

Means made his fourth start yesterday and tossed three scoreless innings against the Cardinals with only one hit allowed. He threw 51 pitches and Irvin replaced him after inclement weather forced another interruption.

Toasted ravioli and rain delays. It’s what St. Louis does.

Was a storm the only reason Means came out of the game? Unfortunately, no.

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Orioles acquire Blake Hunt from Mariners for Mike Baumann and Michael Pérez

Mike Baumann white

Teammates knew that reliever Mike Baumann wouldn’t clear waivers after the Orioles designated him for assignment. He’d most likely be traded rather than relinquished for no return.

They were right.

The Orioles announced late tonight that they’ve traded Baumann and Triple-A Norfolk catcher Michael Pérez to the Mariners for catcher Blake Hunt. Hunt was optioned to Norfolk.

Hunt, 25, is batting .293/.372/.533 with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, 20 RBIs, six walks and 15 runs scored in 23 games with Triple-A Tacoma. He’s also been hit by four pitches.

He knows how to get on base.

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Santander in right field for final game of Cardinals series, regular season sweepless streak on the line

cowser @ BOS

The Orioles completed their suspended game today with a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals, setting up this afternoon’s series finale before the charter flight to Chicago.

A win is needed to prevent the sweepless streak in the regular season from ending at 106 series.

Nolan Gorman hit a two-run homer off Keegan Akin in the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Akin inherited a runner from Jacob Webb.

Ryan Mountcastle singled today to interrupt a 1-for-26 slump. He’s on the bench for the second game.

Left-hander Nick Vespi was added as the 27th man. The Cardinals added right-hander Chris Roycroft.

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Quick Q&A with Trey Mancini

Trey Mancini

Most of Trey Mancini’s swings are now done with a tennis racket. He’s living in Miami with wife Sara Perlman, his last baseball game played in spring training with the Marlins before they granted his release on March 23. Interest from other teams hasn’t really percolated and he’s fine with any outcome.

The Cubs are paying Mancini through the rest of the season after signing him to a two-year, $14 million deal in January 2023. They released him seven months later after he batted .234/.299/.336 with 12 doubles and four home runs in 79 games, and he spent a week in the Reds organization, appearing in five games with Triple-A Louisville and going 6-for-19 with two doubles and two home runs.

That release was followed by a minor league deal with the Marlins in January, a 9-for-35 spring with a double and home run, and the opt-out after being told that he wouldn’t make the club.

Mancini, 32, has a World Series ring with the Astros but his finest seasons and fondest memories are with the Orioles, who drafted him in 2013 and brought him to the majors three years later. They traded him at the 2022 deadline while in contention, an unpopular move with fans but not unexpected with free agency pending.

Nothing is more important than what follows here: Trey Mancini has been cancer-free for four years.

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Mountcastle returns to Orioles lineup, Santander moves to the bench

Ryan Mountcastle

Ryan Mountcastle is in tonight’s lineup at first base, as the Orioles try to even their series in St. Louis.

Mountcastle came off the bench last night. He hadn’t been in the lineup for two of the last three games.

Kyle Stowers is in right field. Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter.

Anthony Santander, playing with a bruised left knee, is on the bench.

Jordan Westburg is batting cleanup again.

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Borgschulte on Orioles offense, Hays, Mateo and Henderson

Gunnar Henderson

Constant fluctuations in run production are expected over the course of a 162-game regular season. The dam bursts and is rebuilt.

The Orioles were shut out against the Yankees on May 1 and scored seven runs the following day. They beat the Reds 2-1 in Cincinnati, erupted for 11 runs in the next game and lost 3-0 in D.C. They totaled seven runs in a three-game stretch, opened the weekend Mariners series with a 9-2 win and were no-hit last night through five innings before Gunnar Henderson's three-run homer off Sonny Gray.

The club ranked 21st in the majors in runs scored this month with 64 heading into last night’s game in St. Louis after ranking fourth in the majors and first in the American League with 132 in April.

“We’re just continuing to work through it,” said co-hitting coach Matt Borgschulte. “We just want to continue to take good at-bats and put pressure on the pitcher and hopefully continue to grind out some more good at-bats like we did (Saturday) night and first game of the series.”

Austin Hays was putting together better at-bats right before his left calf strain in Kansas City. He had hits in five of six games heading into last night.

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Orioles and Cardinals lineups for series opener in St. Louis

mansolino, westburg @ CIN

Ryan Mountcastle is out of the Orioles lineup again tonight to begin a three-game series in St. Louis.

Mountcastle sat out Saturday's game and played first base yesterday. He had two doubles and a triple on May 11 but has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. He hasn’t drawn a walk since April 24.

Anthony Santander, who’s receiving treatment on a bruised and swollen left knee, is the designated hitter.

Jordan Westburg is batting cleanup for the second time in his career.

Cedric Mullins is in center field. Mullins stole his 100th career base yesterday and needs three more to tie Corey Patterson for eighth in club history.

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Irvin: "Whatever the team needs of me I’m going to do"

Cole Irvin

Cole Irvin understands the situation. The sub-3.00 ERA and the scoreless streak that reached 22 2/3 innings don’t make him immune to a sudden switch in roles.

Irvin would have started Wednesday afternoon against the Blue Jays if inclement weather hadn’t forced a postponement the previous night. He’s skipped in the rotation and sitting with the relievers.

The Orioles are listing Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish and John Means for the series in St. Louis. Grayson Rodriguez and Corbin Burnes would work on normal rest if they start the first two games in Chicago.

Irvin could hop back into the rotation, which is going to expand to six starters with one off-day in June. In the meantime, he’s finding ways to prevent any rust from accumulating, getting in his throwing without letting it impact his availability.

“We need another bullpen guy,” he said yesterday morning. “Unfortunately, we lost Big Mike (Baumann) and we need Grayson back and he’s healthy. Just a numbers thing, you know? I’m going to do my job the way I was doing it at the beginning of the year, the way I did it last year. Like, whatever the team needs of me I’m going to do. So, just keeping it simple, don’t think about it too much other than I have a job to do now out in the bullpen.”

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Henderson hits another leadoff homer and Burnes strikes out 11 in Orioles' 6-3 win (updated)

Gunnar Henderson

Gunnar Henderson has got the routine down to where he could perform it in his sleep. But it makes more sense at the ballpark.

The loud contact leading off the first inning. Touching the bill of his helmet as he approaches second base and looks at the bullpen. The hop after stepping on home plate and slapping of hands above his head. The crouching low-five to the No. 2 hitter. The upright and aggressive double-smack with the next batter in front of the dugout.

Jordan Westburg greeted Henderson first today and Ryan O’Hearn was next in line. The major league co-leader in home runs got his 15th today and fifth to start off the first inning. It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound. Henderson is in attack mode and flashing power that’s Derby worthy.

Henderson’s third homer in three days pointed the Orioles toward a 6-3 victory over the Mariners before an announced crowd of 30,494 at Camden Yards. They went 5-3 on the homestand, with a game rained out, and are 29-15 as they board a flight to St. Louis.

Corbin Burnes held Seattle to one run over six innings, scattering seven hits and tying his season high of 11 strikeouts from Opening Day. He struck out two in his last outing, a career low as a starter.

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Santander provides update on injured knee (plus other notes, starters in St. Louis)

Anthony Santander

Anthony Santander can hit if he’s sent to the plate. His swollen and bruised left knee can handle it. But playing the outfield is on hold.

Santander is receiving treatment on the knee after he slammed it into the right field wall in the third inning Wednesday afternoon while chasing Bo Bichette’s fly ball that deflected off his glove and resulted in a two-run double.

The knee already was tender, and Santander aggravated it in the eighth inning while running the bases. He was replaced in right field in the top of the ninth and served as the designated hitter the past two games.

“The knee’s feeling OK,” he said. “It’s still swollen and bruised. A couple more days it’s gonna be fine.”

Santander said the soreness has been “the same” since Wednesday.

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Rutschman and Santander sit in series finale against Seattle

Adley Rutschman

Adley Rutschman gets a rare day off this afternoon as the Orioles conclude their series against the Mariners at Camden Yards. They also have reached the end of their three-opponent homestand.

Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter. Colton Cowser is in right field while Anthony Santander receives treatment on a bruised left knee.

Austin Hays stays in the lineup in left field. Jordan Westburg is batting second for the first time in his career.

Ryan Mountcastle returns to the lineup. He hasn’t drawn a walk this month.

Corbin Burnes is working on an extra day of rest. He has a 2.68 ERA and 1.006 WHIP in nine games despite averaging 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings, the lowest of his career.

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Hyde has reminder of unpleasant pitching problems that no longer exist

Brandon-Hyde

The lineup card is kept in Brandon Hyde’s office, commemorating his first win as a major league manager back on March 30, 2019 in the Bronx. Only his second game after being put in charge of guiding the team through a rebuild.

Hyde takes the occasional glance and can smile and cringe within seconds. He developed an unbreakable bond with those players but wouldn’t want to relive such a dark period in franchise history. Wouldn’t want to keep trying to wake up from the same nightmare.

Dwight Smith Jr. was in left field, Rule 5 pick Drew Jackson in center, Joey Rickard in right and Renato Núñez in the cleanup spot as the designated hitter. Richie Martin played shortstop. Jesús Sucre was the catcher.

The starting pitcher pops more than any other name, especially in comparison to the 2024 Orioles.

Nate Karns lasted two innings and Hyde used five relievers, beginning with Jimmy Yacabonis, to lock down a 5-3 victory. Mike Wright Jr. got the last two outs for the save.

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Rodriguez shines before bullpen stumbles in Orioles' 4-3 loss (updated)

Grayson Rodriguez

The three weeks that passed since Grayson Rodriguez’s last start probably made today’s delay more tolerable. He had to wait almost three hours, the threat of rain more impactful than actual precipitation. But he was back in the rotation, short leash and all.

The only radar that interested him was clocking his fastball.

Rodriguez didn’t allow a hit until Julio Rodríguez’s infield single with one out in the sixth and didn’t surrender a run, but the bullpen buckled in the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the Mariners before an announced crowd of 19,286 at Camden Yards.

Gunnar Henderson hit a two-out, opposite field home run off Andrés Muñoz in the ninth, his 14th of the season to lead the majors, but the Orioles fell to 28-15 and trail the first-place Yankees by two games.

Rodriguez settled for a no-decision rather than earning his fifth win because a 2-0 lead evaporated after he left.

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Hyde on Baumann being DFA'd: "It's been a gloomy morning"

Mike Baumann white

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had another difficult conversation this morning in his office, informing Mike Baumann that the popular reliever was designated for assignment to create room for starter Grayson Rodriguez.

Baumann wasn’t removed from the roster due to poor performance. The bullpen lacks flexibility with minor league options and Baumann had to go.

Hyde had to be the bearer of bad news, one of the most unpleasant aspects of his job.

“It’s been a really tough morning,” Hyde said. “Mike has been with us for a while. You think about the first half he had for us last year, how many games he helped us win, how good he was. Threw the ball really well last night. And on top of all those things, just the incredible person he was, unbelievable teammate, first-class pro in every single way. So well liked by the guys in our clubhouse.

“It’s been a gloomy morning.”

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Orioles DFA Baumann and are starting Rodriguez this afternoon (with lineup)

Grayson Rodriguez

The Orioles reinstated Grayson Rodriguez from the injured list today and he’s starting against the Mariners at Camden Yards.

Mike Baumann was designated for assignment to make room on the active roster. The 40-man roster is down to 38 players.

Rodriguez hasn’t started since April 29 due to right shoulder inflammation. He avoided an injury rehab assignment.

The right-hander has never faced the Mariners.

Baumann tossed a scoreless inning last night and didn’t allow a run in three straight appearances and five of six, but the bullpen is low on optionable pieces. The Orioles can attempt to trade him or hope that he passes through waivers and is outrighted.

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More leftovers for breakfast

westburg walkoff v ARI

Austin Hays is more than an Orioles teammate to Cedric Mullins. They’ve built a close friendship over the years, climbing up the organizational ladder to the big leagues as homegrown products. They’ve stood in the same outfield with Anthony Santander at Double-A Bowie and talked about being together in Baltimore.

They’ve gone through so many ups and downs, individually and as a club. They lift each other.

Hays knows that Mullins will get hot again after beginning last night with five hits in his last 59 at-bats.

Asked what Mullins must do to get his season back on track, Hays smiled and said, “Just stay positive.”

“He’s still got six homers, he’s got (six) bags, his RBIs are there,” Hays said. “Just had a rough patch where the ball’s not falling. You just stay positive, you just continue to work on the right things. We know how this game goes. It’s a long season and things turn around quick. You have one good week, you’re MLB Player of the Week and all of a sudden your stats look pretty good again and you’re talking about how positive things are going.

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Orioles use two big innings and solid start from Means to defeat Mariners 9-2 (updated)

means pitching black

John Means hadn’t faced the Mariners before tonight since throwing the sixth no-hitter in Orioles history back in 2021. Dylan Moore pulled his first pitch down the left-field line for a double.

Even the mere hint of a repeat wasn’t happening.

Jordan Westburg belted a leadoff home run Wednesday in his first career game atop the order, and Gunnar Henderson did the same tonight after returning to it.

A much more reasonable replication.

The Orioles inflicted damage over and over against Bryce Miller. The first six batters reached against him and the first five scored. Nine came to the plate. And Means found his rhythm.

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Orioles pregame notes on rotation, Mullins, Hays and more (updated with Mayo injury)

mullins white

Grayson Rodriguez will rejoin the Orioles without going on an injury rehab assignment.

The exact date of his return wasn’t shared this afternoon during manager Brandon Hyde’s media session, but a six-man rotation is in the works.

John Means is starting tonight against the Mariners in order to avoid an extended rest. Cole Irvin, who was supposed to start Wednesday against the Blue Jays before the previous night’s postponement altered the rotation, is in the bullpen tonight.

Means faced the Diamondbacks on May 11, which puts him on five days’ rest.

The Orioles must play 30 games in the next 31 days and 43 in the next 45 barring any weather interruptions.

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Stowers in left field tonight for series opener against Seattle

means pitching white

Gunnar Henderson returns to the leadoff spot for tonight’s series opener against the Mariners at Camden Yards, with Jordan Westburg moving down to seventh.

Westburg hit leadoff for the first time in his major league career Wednesday while Henderson occupied the cleanup spot.

An opposing right-handed starter has returned the club to its usual order.

Kyle Stowers gets the start in left field, Colton Cowser is in center and Ryan O’Hearn is in right. Anthony Santander, who bruised his knee Wednesday, is the designated hitter.

Cedric Mullins, in a 5-for-59 slump, was on the field today for earlier batting practice. He joins Austin Hays on the bench.

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