NEW YORK - As the Orioles tweak their bullpen again, they also have a decision to make regarding their rotation.
How to create room for Alex Cobb, who figures to debut on April 14 or 15 in Boston.
Mike Wright Jr. wanted to avoid the added pressure of pitching for his job. Just concentrate on getting outs and not obsess over a decision that isn’t his to make. But his outing today leaves the wrong impression.
Wright lasted only two-thirds of an inning and was charged with five runs (two earned) and five hits. The Yankees sent 10 batters to the plate, with Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo striking out leadoff hitter Brett Gardner to end the torture.
The first run scored on Wright’s error after he fielded Neil Walker’s tapper in front of the mound and threw wide of second base while attempting to start a double play. He bypassed the out at home as Gardner raced down the line.
Tyler Austin walked to load the bases and two runs scored on Miguel Andújar’s single. Austin Romine had an RBI single with two outs and Ronald Torreyes doubled to left field to increase the lead to 5-0.
Wright threw 39 pitches in the inning and his ERA rose to 7.94.
The last Orioles starter to be knocked out in the first inning was left-hander Wade Miley, who allowed six runs and six hits in one-third of an inning on Sept. 14, 2017 at Yankee Stadium. He threw 19 pitches.
The Orioles wasted singles by Trey Mancini and Adam Jones in the first inning, with Danny Valencia striking out, but they scored in the second on Tim Beckham’s leadoff double and Anthony Santander’s single.
Left fielder Jace Peterson let the ball drop and Beckham ran through a late stop sign from third base coach Bobby Dickerson. The throw beat Beckham, but he sneaked his hand past Romine.
Araujo has struck out three of the four batters he’s faced. Santander made a leaping catch at the fence in right field to rob Walker of an extra-base hit.
Meanwhile, right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, optioned this morning to Triple-A Norfolk, will start Tuesday for the Tides against Charlotte at Harbor Park.
The Orioles sent down Yacabonis and recalled left-hander Tanner Scott on the first day that teams could summon players on the 40-man roster without the corresponding move involving the disabled list. Yacabonis was recalled yesterday while outfielder Colby Rasmus went on the DL with a strained left hip.
The Tides’ game against Gwinnett was postponed last night due to inclement weather and Scott, with unexpected idle time on his hands, received the news of his promotion from manager Ron Johnson.
“I was sitting in my apartment,” he said. “We had a rainout so he called me. ‘You’ve got to pack and go.’ So I’m happy to be here and hoping to stay.”
Yacabonis was one-and-done and Scott’s latest stint in the majors doesn’t come with promises. He’s part of an eight-man bullpen that won’t sustain throughout the season. Manager Buck Showalter will continue to avoid certain relievers today following Friday night’s 14-inning affair.
Walks have been a serious issue with Scott in the past, but he’s improved his control and gained the Orioles’ trust, as evidenced by his spring work. He’s not trying to reach triple digits with every fastball. Location rules over velocity, which is still impressive.
“It wasn’t a change,” he said. “I’m always going to work to get better. I just figured it out. I believed in my stuff and then the next thing you know, when you believe in yourself, the results get better.”
Scott is making a return visit to the Bronx, where he also was recalled in September. His major league debut came in Boston.
“It was kind of funny that the first time I was called up we were in New York, and then now,” he said. “It’s awesome, it’s a great experience.”
Scott was supposed to be used as a starter at Norfolk, but the Orioles decided to keep him in a relief role.
“I’m a reliever, so whatever they want me to do, I’ll do,” he said.
“I like being a reliever, but whatever keeps me here, I’m open to. Whatever.”
Update: The Orioles trimmed the lead to 5-2 in the third inning on Beckham’s two-out RBI single after singles by Jonathan Schoop and Jones.
Update II: Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer in the fifth that reduced the lead to 5-4 and knocked Jordan Montgomery out of the game. Araujo tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
Update III: The Yankees scored a run off Miguel Castro in the fifth on Romine’s two-out RBI single after replay awarded Jace Peterson an infield hit, but Craig Gentry singled in the sixth, stole second and scored with two outs on Manny Machado’s single to reduce the lead to 6-5.
Update IV: Anthony Santander’s first major league home run, a two-run shot in the seventh, gave the Orioles a 7-6 lead.