The Orioles are closing out the last few weeks of their season with a patchwork rotation, providing a few of their younger pitchers with an opportunity while also monitoring their innings and deciding who might be next in line.
They also aren’t certain when Alex Cobb will be ready to start again after working only two innings last night, the blister on his right middle finger cracking open and forcing his departure.
One beneficiary is Luis Ortiz, who came to the Orioles in the Jonathan Schoop trade with the Brewers and makes his first major league start Friday night against the White Sox at Camden Yards.
Ortiz’s only appearance came in relief Friday night at Tropicana Field. Manager Buck Showalter wanted to ease him into the rotation, for however long his time there lasts.
“I don’t want him getting too far away from pitching, and it kind of fits in a lot of areas for him,” Showalter said. “He’ll have plenty of time to prepare and do everything possible to put his best foot forward.”
Cobb is expected to be pushed back again while getting more treatment on the finger from head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and his staff.
“I’ll have a better response after I’ve talked to he and Brian,” Showalter said. “Obviously, six days off didn’t work too well, so four would be a push, you’d think on the surface. It’s going to sound crazy, but if we get 60-degree high, no humidity on Sunday, it might be a different gig. And it’s also a day game. So actually, it depends on how much you think the conditions have something to do with it over the baseball.
“It seems like we’re getting more and more of those. Just because they’re not public because people kind of keep them in the background where people don’t know about it, it goes on a lot.”
Left-hander Josh Rogers is out of the rotation after logging a combined 151 1/3 innings between Triple-A and the majors. He made three starts with the Orioles.
“I’d kind of like to see Josh a couple times out of the ‘pen in a perfect world,” Showalter said. “We’ll see. But I want to give him some extended time off before we do that.”
Showalter met with Rogers yesterday and mapped out the plan, which no longer includes making starts. Rogers was charged with six runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Rays to raise his ERA from 4.35 to 8.49 in 11 2/3 innings.
“He called me in yesterday,” Rogers said, “and he just said I’m kind of at my innings limit, and feel like I’ve made three starts and two of them were pretty good, and obviously the last one was not good. But he said he hates for me to kind of finish on that note, but at the same time it’s like they want to make sure I’m OK, looking at the big picture hopefully for next year. Staying healthy. And he can just tell that I haven’t been as sharp and my fastball doesn’t have as much life.”
Rogers totaled 91 2/3 innings last year at the Single-A and Double-A levels in the Yankees system. He’s made a sizeable jump this summer.
“I’ve thrown a lot of innings this year, especially coming off last year,” he said. “Made 27 starts. I’m going to go out to the bullpen, he said, and if I get an inning or two out of there it would be great. If not, I’m happy with the experience and just learn as much as I can.
“To be honest, at this point I feel like I’ve had two with some type of success and then one with not. Just trying to learn as much as I can, and if I pitch, I pitch and if not, I won’t. I’ll be excited to pitch again and I’ll be ready to pitch again, but at the same time I’m just going to try to take in the experience and take all the positives from this year, regardless of what happens, if I pitch again or not. Just going to take the positives into the offseason and come back ready to go. “