Watkins on injury, Sulser on joining Orioles and more

NEW YORK – Spenser Watkins is on the 15-day injured list with a bruise at the top of his right forearm, forcing a weekend change in the Orioles rotation.

Manager Brandon Hyde needs two starters for Saturday’s doubleheader in Boston. Watkins no longer is an option for either game.

“It’s pretty sore,” said Watkins, who faced only three batters and left after Ji-Man Choi’s line drive struck his arm. “We’ve got a great training staff here that put me through the ringer so far, so it’s feeling a little bit better but still stiff, as you would assume.

“I didn’t really know what the move was going to be. They didn’t really give an inclination one way or the other. But they’re going to make the best move for the team and go from there.”

The Orioles don’t know if Watkins will be ready after 15 days.

“It’s pretty swollen, it got him in a tough spot,” said Hyde. “Fortunately, the X-rays were negative, but we’ll see how he is every day and he’ll get treatment and kind of go from there.”

Watkins lasted only 13 pitches before a 106 mph liner hit him, an unfortunate development that could have been much worse.

“A couple inches lower, it can catch more bone, or a couple inches higher, it catches the elbow,” he said. “I’m thankful that it’s just that and it’s not something that’s going to affect me more in the future.”

The Orioles were aggressive on today’s transactions wire. Watkins goes on the IL, reliever Mike Baumann and infielder Tyler Nevin are optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, and pitchers Marcos Diplán, Logan Gillaspie and Beau Sulser are recalled.

“We had to make some moves to be able to have some guys pitch tonight,” Hyde said. “Our bullpen did such an amazing job yesterday and guys picked up the slack. Some guys threw in the game yesterday that I didn’t want to throw and ended up going multiple innings on top of that. We felt like we needed to bolster the bullpen after yesterday. Tough series Rays, tough series Yankees before that. Now we’re back with the Yankees, so we needed some bullpen help.”

Nevin was in the clubhouse today, but he’ll fly out of New York in the morning. There’s no taxi squad for this series.

“That was not fun,” Hyde said of optioning Nevin. “Unfortunate. Hoping he’s back really, really soon. Really happy with the progress he’s made. He’s made huge strides defensively, the approach at the plate’s improving, love the way he was swinging the bat. I’m sure you’ll see him back up here very soon.”

Sulser can become the 41st player used by the Orioles this season. He was a May 14 waiver claim from the Pirates, joining the same organization that traded his older brother, Cole, to the Marlins near the end of spring training.

“He had a lot of very good things to say, but also who to stay away from, who to talk to,” Sulser quipped.

“No, he just gave me the rundown, but it was all very positive. He loved playing here and they treated him really well, so I’m just excited to be here.”

Both brothers attended Dartmouth University and paid their dues in the minors – Cole for six seasons and Beau for five. They also have similar medical histories.

“We both had Tommy John (surgery) in college, we both were fifth-year senior draft picks, went to the same school, both pitchers. Spent five to seven years in the minor leagues,” Beau said.

“Watching him do it, it would have been real easy to walk away with a mechanical engineering degree from Dartmouth, getting his second TJ in pro ball in Single-A, walk away and go make some real money. Watching him grind through that to achieve his dream just made me want to do the same and keep going until they obviously tell me not to.”

Beau is a psychology major.

“Not nearly the same,” he said.

Beau became the teacher when he showed Cole how to throw a split-changeup after the Orioles urged their reliever to expand on the fastball and slider.

“We started talking about it,” Beau said. “It’s a pitch I’d been throwing for seven years or eight years. The first offseason I taught it to him, he started throwing it better than I did, so that was frustrating obviously from my point of view, but I’m happy for him. It’s worked out and now it’s his best pitch.”

Asked today what he knows about Beau Sulser, Hyde smiled and said, “Dartmouth, like his brother. Must have had a high SAT in high school.”

Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter for the second straight game but is going to catch the last two games of the series.

“We’re going to monitor him defensively behind the plate,” Hyde said. “He’ll be catching the majority of the games. But after three days in row (with Norfolk), off, catch, then go in the game again yesterday at the backend of the game, we’re going to give him today a little bit of a breather, let him DH, and he should be in there the next two nights behind the plate.”

For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Austin Hays LF
Trey Mancini RF
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Adley Rutschman DH
Rougned Odor 2B
Ramón Urías 3B
Robinson Chirinos C
Chris Owings SS

Jordan Lyles RHP

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Orioles put Watkins on IL and recall Diplán, Gilla...

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