This, that and the other

Tyler Wells can’t say with any amount of confidence that he’s going to pitch again this year. He’s encouraged by the improvements he’s noticing in his lower left side, which has him trending in the right direction. A popular term in the clubhouse whenever a player has avoided a setback.

But pitch again in 2022?

There are health and innings factors to consider.

Wells sustained his injury during a start on July 27, wincing in pain after throwing a slider to Tampa Bay’s Yandy Díaz in the fifth. The team announced that Wells experienced lower back discomfort, but he also felt it in his side, which usually signals an issue with the oblique that’s much more serious.

“I feel much, much better,” he said yesterday.

“The first few days were kind of rough, just kind of moving around and stuff. After that, everything started to heal up well, and right now I’m moving really well, my body’s able to handle that. So, I’m feeling very positive so far.”

The Orioles haven’t set a date to get Wells throwing on flat ground, let alone a mound.

“We talk with the trainers every day, and we’re taking it like a day-by-day basis and kind of monitoring it that way to see how my body handles the load from before with the rehab and stuff,” he said.

“I don’t really know what they have planned for me, but right now, I would say we’re on a good schedule based on how I feel.”

Wells never experienced pain in his lower back or side. This is a new situation with no previous history to tap into.

“It was a freak injury,” he said. “I wasn’t really sure what to classify it as, but it didn’t feel too good in the moment.”

Wells also is new to starting in the majors, and the Orioles have been careful with his innings buildup. He made 20 starts, and his 94 2/3 innings are 37 2/3 more than his rookie total in 2021.

The Orioles didn’t want to shut him down early, which is why they’d pull him back after a longer outing. They could do it now rather than try to get him back in the rotation or bullpen for the stretch run.

“I would assume that depends upon the timeline,” he said. “Like I said, we’re taking it day-by-day right now, so I don’t really have much of an answer right now. But feeling much, much better.”

* Rylan Bannon hit the waiver wire without any fanfare, which is how these things work. He clears and is outrighted off the 40-man roster or is claimed and heads to a new organization.

That’s when the announcement is made.

Bannon actually is going to a new/old organization, with the Dodgers claiming him yesterday. They included him in the five-player package for Manny Machado in 2018.

Dean Kremer and Yusniel Diaz remain in the organization. Kremer is in the Orioles rotation and Diaz received his first major league at-bat in Texas, striking out, before returning to Triple-A Norfolk.  

Reliever Zach Pop is in the Blue Jays bullpen for the series at Camden Yards after they acquired him from the Marlins at this year’s deadline. The Diamondbacks selected him from the Orioles in the 2020 Rule 5 draft and immediately dealt him to Miami.

Bannon was batting .229/.347/.407 with 14 doubles, a triple, 11 home runs, 58 RBIs, 45 walks and 87 strikeouts in 326 plate appearances with Norfolk. He made his major league debut this season and went 2-for-14 in four games, beginning with a sensational diving play at third base and a single on the first pitch thrown to him in his first at-bat on May 12 in St. Louis.

Bannon became only the third Orioles player since 2000 to collect a hit on the first pitch seen in his major league debut, following Rhyne Hughes on April 24, 2010 in Boston and Willie Morales on April 9, 2000 versus the Tigers.

A cool story, but Bannon was optioned, recalled later and didn’t get into a game while the team was in Chicago and he had family in the stands.

Bannon, 26, couldn’t compete for a utility job because he doesn’t play shortstop. The Orioles are loaded with infield prospects. He just got squeezed.

The impressive home run binge last summer was intriguing and he finished with 15, but he also batted .177/.297/.370 in 84 games.

Also intriguing is what the Orioles plan to do with the opening on their 40-man roster. A waiver claim or a promotion.

Outfielder Kyle Stowers and infielders Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg aren’t on the 40-man.

* Catcher Adley Rutschman didn't have a hit last night, but he drew two more walks.

Rutschman has 34 walks in his first 62 career games, the third-most in Orioles history.

Glenn Gulliver drew 41 in 1982-83, and Curt Blefary had 37 in 1965.

Rutschman has reached base at least twice in 15 of his last 17 games, and he's emerging as one of the favorites to be voted Most Valuable Oriole, or at least appear on the three-man ballot.

The winner must be on the team. Can't be someone traded.

*The Orioles are taking their team photo later today, which always provides some interesting additions and subtractions following the trade deadline.

First baseman Trey Mancini and closer Jorge López won’t appear in it, but outfielder Brett Phillips and reliever Louis Head will be there.

Reliever Beau Sulser just missed out, with the Orioles optioning him after Sunday’s game.

Opening day starter John Means stayed in Texas, where he lives, after the Orioles flew home.

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