CLEVELAND – Tyler Wells’ teammates missed his pitching while he was gone, and also his personality.
A plus changeup to the pressure of a division race.
“He’s a nice, loud guy. You know when he’s in the room,” said John Means, smiling at the description.
“It’s fun having him back and we’re all happy to have him here.”
Manager Brandon Hyde was asked about Wells during his pregame media scrum in the visiting dugout. He also went where Means had gone.
“Great to see him,” Hyde said. “He’s all smiles, he’s happy to be here, he’s talking.”
You can’t have a soundtrack to the Orioles’ season without the last one.
Wells is a reliever again, with Hyde hoping that the popular right-hander can get outs in the “back half” of the game. And lighten the workload of other pitchers who need to be refreshed.
“He’s shown that he can pitch really, really well at this level,” Means said. “He’s going to maybe add some length to the bullpen or one inning. We can definitely use him.”
No one could argue. Six more relievers were handed the ball last night to run the total to 32 in the last six games.
The wait was short for Wells. He entered with one out in the fourth and retired all six batters he faced on 19 pitches. His fastball topped at 94.5 mph.
Hyde said Wells “ran out of gas” this season, which created issues with his command and prompted the club to option him and put him back in the bullpen. But don’t make assumptions about his future role based on his current situation.
Hyde also said it’s open-ended, but talked up Wells’ accomplishments as a starter in the first half. How long he led the majors in WHIP.
“He showed that he can start in this league and have a lot of success,” Hyde said.
The Orioles apparently will try again to build him up as a starter rather than ditch the idea. Wells doesn’t know if that’s confirmed.
“Not to my knowledge,” he said. “I think right now we’re just kind of focused more on the postseason outlook and how the rest of the season’s going, and I think after that we’ll probably address it privately.”
Wells has made 11 relief appearances among his 61 minor league games and seven came this summer with Triple-A Norfolk. He can do it. He will do it. He tossed five scoreless innings on April 3 in Texas after replacing injured starter Kyle Bradish.
He's good at it.
“Yeah, I mean, starting’s kind of in my blood,” he said. “It’s what I’ve done my entire minor league career, and then being up here, I found good success with it. It’s where I feel pretty comfortable, but I always want to do what’s best for the team, and being able to go there and kind of pick them up right now is one of those times.
“Obviously excited about the opportunity and excited to get back in there like I was in ’21. But as far as the future goes, I still enjoy starting. But I obviously want to help the team win a World Series, and that’s my main goal.”
Wells had the chance to check out some of the young hitting prospects with Norfolk, including Connor Norby, Coby Mayo, Jackson Holliday and Heston Kjerstad before the outfielder was promoted.
“They’re impressive," he said. "They go out there every day, they just have fun. The winning celebrations down there are awesome and the guys really enjoy it. I think that everyone down there, they’ve got a very good approach at the plate, and I think that a lot of those guys are probably going to end up being impact guys later on. Especially with them being so young, too. I think that’s the more impressive thing.”