This, that and the other

Mike Baumann’s world of baseball firsts spun again Saturday evening. It dumped him on the mound when he assumed that he’d watch the last three outs from the bullpen.

The phone wasn’t supposed to ring. He wasn’t supposed to pitch.

Cionel Pérez faced two batters, gave up a triple and single, and exited with soreness in his right oblique. The Orioles led 13-2. The only drama should have been whether the time of game would stay under three hours.

Baumann was allowed to take as long as necessary to warm up. He motioned that he was ready, threw a wild pitch and surrendered hits to three of the next four batters.

A scoring change removed an error on Baumann for a missed catch and attached it to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle on Nolan Schanuel’s infield single.

Baumann let an inherited runner score and was charged with one run. He struck out two batters, and his 29 pitches thrown will keep him unavailable for a few days.

“That was my first time,” he said yesterday morning.

“Just try to treat it like a normal routine from what I do in the bullpen. I was advised to take a little extra, too. What I need to get ready. It’s unfortunate when you’ve got to come in. You feel for your teammate coming out of the game with an injury, so my mindset was to try to pick him up. He does a great job of picking other guys up. I just hope he’s OK.”

Pérez could miss significant time with an oblique strain. These injuries usually take a while to heal.

The left-hander went on the injured list July 4 with forearm soreness. That one wasn’t nearly as bad.

Manager Brandon Hyde can’t provide a timeline for Pérez’s return.

“He’s on the IL,” Hyde said, “and hope he gets back as soon as he can.”

Who knows with an oblique?

Jonathan Heasley was recalled yesterday instead of Nick Vespi, who made the Opening Day roster with Jacob Webb on the paternity list. Maybe the Orioles decided that a third lefty wasn’t that important against the Royals, who are in Baltimore for a three-game series that likely will be rain soaked. Maybe they wanted to set up a revenge series.

Probably not the latter.

“He’s pitched in the big leagues, got some big league time with Kansas City,” Hyde said. “I’m not really sure what the role is going to be as of right now. Hopefully, he can get some outs for us and give the ball to some back end guys.”

* The Triple-A Norfolk Tides also won’t go undefeated this season, following 12-8 and 12-6 wins with yesterday’s 17-5 loss to Durham.

Colton Cowser broke camp with the Orioles after seeing his friends sent down. He’s tracked their early success.

“Oh I have, I have,” he said yesterday morning.

Is he impressed? Cowser smiled and reacted like he knew what they’d do.

“Kind of expected it, so I’m not really surprised at all,” he said. “It’s a really talented lineup. I’m not surprised by it at all.”

The Orioles’ depth borders on the absurd. They scored 25 runs, their pitchers struck out 35 batters to tie the club record for a season’s first three games, and they don’t have Kyle Bradish or John Means in the rotation or Félix Bautista in the bullpen.

Jackson Holliday, Heston Kjerstad, Kyle Stowers, Coby Mayo and Connor Norby are in Triple-A, with nothing else really to prove at that level.

“It’s really impressive,” Cowser said. “Like we’ve said all spring, it’s a luxury for the organization to have this much depth. I know that those guys and everyone in the organization are staying ready for the opportunity. I think it’s a really good sign seeing that early success.”

* Cedric Mullins lined an RBI double to right field Saturday in a nine-run sixth inning, reached second base and motioned toward the dugout. An experimental celebratory gesture, to be clear.

Mullins turned his hands like he was gunning a motorcycle engine. Players lining the dugout railing loved it.

“That was something we just started randomly doing,” he said. “It’s not the finalized form. It’s still in the works. But right now, we’re just going with what we feel.

“A couple guys are doing, I have no idea. Pulling the throttle. I have no idea. I saw (Jorge) Mateo put an “O” up one time and I was like, ‘Ah, maybe.’ Just kind of letting the creative juices go.”

Asked to describe what he did, Mullins said, “I don’t even know. Just the rev. I’ve seen a couple guys do it. I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s see if it catches on.’ You never know.”

The water works are over, though Mr. Splash still hosts a party in the section next to the bullpen area.

Players come up with something fresh every season, like the homer hose, home run chain, championship belt and Call of Duty binocular.

Extra-base hits in 2019 were celebrated by players pulling the cord on an imaginary push lawnmower. They moved on to a fake bazooka later in the season.

Mullins was perplexed when I mentioned the lawnmower.

“I don’t know if I was there for that one,” he said. “I don’t remember that one.”

No wonder. Mullins appeared in 22 games in April, was optioned and didn’t return to the majors. He missed the fun.

He’s going to be in the middle of it in 2024, whatever the team chooses.

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