Showalter on Cobb, Harvey and Mesa (O’s lose 9-4)

TAMPA - Alex Cobb worked out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex today and eventually will be throwing at extended spring training and with a minor league affiliate. The Orioles intend to carry 12 pitchers on opening day, including five starters, but Cobb will have to stay back.

“Roger (McDowell) and I are going to sit down with him,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He had a pretty whirlwind day today. Roger talked to him a little bit. But we’re going to sit down with him tomorrow and map out the schedule we’re thinking about and get his input and see what he thinks.

“I’ve got an idea what I think it’s going to be, but he won’t start the season with us active.”

The fifth starter competition will continue to play out and tonight’s game against the Yankees features two of the candidates in Miguel Castro and Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes Jr.

Mike Wright Jr. also remains in the mix, but the temptation to keep Hunter Harvey was stifled with today’s decision to option him to Double-A Bowie.

Harvey was a longshot to stick with the club, but Showalter said Harvey’s removal from the camp roster was “somewhat” tied to Cobb’s arrival.

“I also want to stretch out and see if I can get a little extra, if the Yankees will cooperate, with Castro and Cortes. But he needs to get going. He’s going to be in Bowie to start the year,” Showalter said.

“We talked a lot in our meeting today upstairs about how we were going to use Hunter this year, the innings and what have you. See where the season takes him and he’s available down the road.

Hunter Harvey throws black.png“He’s in a real good place now. He was impressive this spring. A three-pitch mix. I think everybody loves his makeup. This guy’s got a different look and a different feel about him when he gets between the lines. He’s not intimidated. He’s got a chance to be pretty good.”

The Orioles are positioning Harvey to make his major league debut over the summer. As long as he’s healthy and productive.

“I did see enough to have a feeling for when he could,” Showalter said.

Lowering his voice and breaking into a grin, Showalter added, “If we hadn’t found Cobb, you would have seen him real quick.”

“There’s a lot of people who were probably thinking what I was thinking and kind of glad in a way on a lot of fronts. I really didn’t want to have to make that decision, because we all knew in our heart it was best for him to pitch above the Single-A level.

“That’s the difference between him and (Dylan) Bundy. And Dylan was out of options when we took him, but Dylan had pitched above the Single-A level. But very similar makeup to Dylan.”

The Orioles designated Rule 5 pick José Mesa Jr. for assignment today to make room for Cobb on the 40-man roster. Mesa allowed five runs and 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings, with seven walks and five strikeouts, and his velocity was down throughout camp.

Mesa has to clear waivers and be offered back to the Yankees before the Orioles are allowed to option him.

“He started throwing a little bit better toward the end, but we kind of got to that point where ... and we needed a roster spot for Alex and we knew he was probably going to be going back at some point,” Showalter said.

“There’s a chance we’re going to need more roster spots. But I can see why he was taken and would love to have him in the system, but the major league club’s not here to develop minor league prospects. He’s a good, young prospect and wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching in the big leagues. They evaluated him well.”

Jonathan Schoop’s two-out homer tonight off right-hander Luis Cessa in the top of the first inning gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Castro loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half on walks to Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez and Giancarlo Stanton’s single, and Didi Gregorius stroked a two-run double to left field.

Castro’s fastball is touching 95 mph on the stadium radar gun. But too many Yankees are touching the bases.

Update: Castro allowed three more runs in the second inning, the last unearned after Tim Beckham’s throwing error, and the Orioles trail 5-1. Castro loaded the bases again with one out and Greg Bird delivered a two-run single.

Update II: Castro allowed five runs (four earned) and five hits in three innings, wtih three walks and two strikeouts. He’s surrendered nine earned runs and 10 total in 9 2/3 innings in three Grapefruit League games.

The Orioles scored twice in the fourth inning on Danny Valencia’s sacrifice fly and Austin Hays’ single to cut the lead to 5-3. Trey Mancini led off with a double and Schoop walked.

Update III: Aaron Judge homered off Jason Gurka in the bottom of the fourth to expand the lead to 6-3.

Update IV: Craig Gentry singled off David Robertson in the fifth and scored on Luis Sardiñas’ double to reduce the lead to 6-4.

Update V: Judge hit a three-run shot off Cortes in the eighth to give New York a 9-4 lead.

Update VI: The Orioles lose 9-4.

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