This, that and the other (updated with roster move)

CHICAGO – Having off today allows the Orioles to reset their bullpen and provide rest that hasn’t been easy to dispense.

Manager Brandon Hyde has cringed at times while picking up the bullpen phone to get a reliever up that he wanted to avoid using. And he will draw a firm line.

Asked yesterday whether he considered using Félix Bautista for a third day in a row as the game moved into extra innings, Hyde blurted out, “Absolutely not.”

Common sense comes in handy. The season is 16 games old, Bautista got a late start in camp, and the Orioles aren’t going to risk losing their closer or anyone else to injury.

You can push a guy to a certain extent, but not over the edge.

Orioles relievers covered four innings yesterday to run their season total to 65 2/3, third-highest in the majors.

Don’t feel sorry for them. They wait for the phone to ring and get ready when their name is called. Guys rarely insist or admit that they’re unavailable.

“On my behalf and on everyone else’s behalf, I don’t think we view it that way, as a burden,” left-hander Cionel Pérez said via translator Brandon Quinones. “At the end of the day, we go out there and try to do our job and try to be ready and available for whenever they want to put us in the game. We just try to do our part. As relievers, we’re just trying to look for the most opportunities as possible to go out there and pitch in a game. We always try to stay ready.”

Pérez entered the first two games of the series and pitched on three of the last four days. He wasn’t sure whether Hyde would need him yesterday but would have gotten up if told.

Though Pérez hadn’t been charged with a run against the White Sox, he gave up two hits and walked two batters in an inning. His shining moment came Saturday when he stranded two runners in the eighth inning by retiring Andrew Benintendi on a fly ball to left.

With arms raised and the ball still in the air, arcing toward Austin Hays, Pérez spun and let out a yell in celebration.

“It was definitely an important moment,” he said. “I’ve definitely had a couple outings where I haven’t gotten the job done and it hasn’t gone great, but it was a small victory for me. I was able to get the job done and that’s why I showed a little bit of emotion.”

Pérez has a 4.70 ERA in eight games compared to 1.40 last season in 66, and a 2.478 WHIP compared to 1.162. His dominance last summer in high-leverage situations, being a left-hander and being out of options, keep the leash long.

“So far it’s been a bit of a difficult season, to say the least, but it’s something that I’m working on with the pitching coaches every day, going through a couple things,” he said.

“It’s interesting because I think the biggest focus, the biggest thing I need to work on right now is pitch location more than anything else, and it’s funny because a lot of times in my career they told me that I needed to throw more strikes, and right now I’m throwing more strikes than I ever have before in my career. So now, it’s kind of like, ‘Do I need to dial it back some?’ It’s like that discussion that we’re having with the coaches every day with (Chris) Holt and (Darren) Holmes.”

* The roster activity on Tuesday is going to be interesting.

Left-hander Keegan Akin is returning from the paternity list and a spot must open for him in the bullpen. Yennier Cano is in the majors because of Akin’s absence, but swapping back isn’t the automatic move.

Cano inherited two runners from Pérez in the seventh inning Friday night, fielded a high bouncer and started a double play. His turn to celebrate. And he retired the side in order in the eighth on two grounders and a strikeout.

Needed again the following day, Cano retired the side in order in the ninth with two strikeouts to send the game into the 10th.

“He’s throwing the ball great,” Hyde said.

“That’s what we need. We need bullpen guys to step up the way he has been and pitching in huge spots right away against the toughest part of their order, also.”

Does he stay or does he go?

Spenser Watkins was recalled after the Orioles optioned left-hander Cole Irvin Thursday and still hasn’t pitched. Maybe he stays. Maybe he goes Tuesday or Wednesday, when Kyle Bradish is activated from the injured list. Maybe it just depends how some other starters fare.

Logan Gillaspie has allowed four earned runs and five total with eight hits, three walks, five strikeouts, a wild pitch and a hit batter in five innings. He’s been put in plenty of tough spots, and his eight appearances are tied for the team lead.

I’ll say it again: It seems like he’s warmed in every game, though I’m sure that’s not true.

* Adley Rutschman singled and walked twice yesterday, and he’s batting .344 with a 1.055 OPS while appearing in every game. He’s reached base safely in a career high 13 in a row.

Rutschman also expertly guided Grayson Rodriguez through yesterday’s start after the four-run first.

“He’s incredible, he’s Adley,” Watkins said.

I really like the last part. The simple and shortest explanation for what the catcher is doing is that he’s Adley Rutschman.

No more really needs to be said, but for the sake of a full quote, there’s more:

“I’ve gotten a chance to watch him for three years and where he was three years ago, he’s leaps and bounds, and we thought he was good back then,” Watkins continued. “So, it’s incredible to watch him grow and see how professional he is and how he goes about his business, as well as, what a great person he is. A good connection in the clubhouse and just really fun to watch him go out and play every day.”

* Orioles infielders weren’t upset about leaving Guaranteed Rate Field.

The surface wasn’t kind to them, to put it mildly. Heard some complaints, or at least observations, about how the ball came off the dirt – sometimes a big hop and sometimes skidding.

It was especially noticeable Saturday when three throws bounced past first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. He’s gotten really good at making those picks, but the ball wasn’t cooperating.

Playing it off his chest might have been the best solution.

* Ever wonder what happened to pitcher Tommy Wilson, the right-hander acquired in a trade with the Mariners for cash considerations after the Triple-A phase of the 2021 Rule 5 draft?

Also, the only phase, with the lockout forcing the cancellation of the major league one.

Wilson got my attention because he’s the son of actor Thomas F. Wilson, who played Biff Tannen in the “Back to the Future” movies. But later, because he hasn’t thrown a single inning in the Orioles’ system.

Sarcasm alert: If you stop pestering me, I’ll explain what’s happening with Wilson.

He’s still in the organization and down in Florida, trying to get healthy. I’m told it’s shoulder fatigue or soreness.

That’s pretty much it for an update.

We may have to settle for the cool story about his dad.

Update: The Orioles reinstated Akin from the paternity list this morning and optioned Spenser Watkins.

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