ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tyler Wells is making his first start in the regular season today since Aug. 31, 2018 with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, when he allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde won’t let him go that far.
Wells is on a gradual progression as a starting pitcher, and his innings will be controlled. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019, didn’t pitch in 2020 with the minor league season canceled and worked in short relief last summer as a Rule 5 pick.
John Means completed four innings Friday and Jordan Lyles went five yesterday. Wells is on a different schedule.
Asked whether Wells is stretched out enough to maybe work five innings, depending on pitch count, Hyde said, “Probably not. I think it’s more three to four. We’ll see how it goes.
“We’re going to monitor his innings all year, and it’s just going to be one of those things this year because he hasn’t thrown many innings the last handful of years. Coming off a bullpen-type year last year. We see him as a starter in the future. We’re looking down the road with him, and just don’t want to stretch him out too much this year.
“It’s going to be tough to take him out if he’s pitching well in the third or fourth inning, but I’ve got to think big picture.”
The Orioles don’t want to shut down Wells in September, which is why they’re going with a tandem arrangement.
“We’d rather keep him all the way through,” Hyde said.
“We’d like to have him pitch as much as he can for as long as he can go. … You’re going to see him throw three or four innings, probably, on most nights so we can keep him for the full year.
“We believe in the guy. We think he’s going to be a starter for us in the future, and so getting him ready for that, that’s what we’re doing this year.”
Hyde knows which pitcher he’ll use for length behind Wells – he isn’t tipping off the Rays – but the game could dictate whether a one-inning reliever is inserted between them.
“We have length guys down there,” Hyde said. “The guy I’m going to use will go for a while.”
The decision also could provide more clarity on Tuesday night’s starter against the Brewers, who remains TBA.
Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann starts Monday afternoon against Milwaukee right-hander Adrian Houser. Left-hander Eric Lauer starts for the Brewers on Tuesday, with Wednesday listed as TBA.
John Means starts Wednesday for the Orioles.
Anthony Santander is the designated hitter after being hit on the left knee yesterday by Drew Rasmussen’s 86 mph slider.
“It’s just sore,” Hyde said. “Fortunately, it didn’t get him right on the knee. It got him above it. It’s just more of a soreness in the bottom of his quad than it is his knee.”
The Orioles are eager to fly home after the game. Hyde would like to open a season at Camden Yards, which hasn’t happened in his four years as manager.
“Leaving spring training, you’re excited, you’re ready to go,” he said. “A road opener’s great, but I think there’s something special about the home opener. Definitely special, and looking forward to tomorrow.
“Hopefully, next year or the year after, Game No. 1 is at home.”