Orioles manager Brandon Hyde this morning handled the painful task of calling Mike Wright into his office with news that the right-hander had been designated for assignment. The club selected reliever Gabriel Ynoa’s contract from Triple-A Norfolk.
“It’s been a tough morning,” Hyde said. “We needed innings and we needed a fresh arm in here, and that was the decision we came up with. But it was hard to give Mike the news this morning. We’re hoping that he clears, we’re hoping that he stays in the organization. I just want what’s best for him. If he gets another opportunity with a big league club, that would be great. If not, I’d love to, hopefully, see him back here at some point.”
Wright surrendered two home runs last night over 3 1/3 innings after replacing starter Alex Cobb, letting two inherited runners score and charged with four runs of his own to leave his ERA at 9.45 and his WHIP at 2.025. He worked back-to-back days on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Rays and threw 49 pitches last night.
“I’ve put him in some really tough spots where he’s had to eat innings, we’re down a bunch, we needed to somehow get through the game,” Hyde said. “I rode him hard this week, so that’s why this morning was so difficult, because I try to put guys in position to have success and I want to try to take care of every player, and sometimes you’re not able to. And I felt bad about this week for Mike for sure.
“It’s just one of those days.”
Hyde didn’t mince words with Wright, who handled the situation like a professional.
“It’s just honest,” Hyde said. “You get right to the point. You don’t skirt around it. You just tell him what’s going on, and he’s earned that. We owe him that. We just talked directly to him, what’s happening.”
The Orioles have been reluctant to part with Wright for fear that he’d blossom somewhere else, like Jake Arrieta did with the Cubs. He’s out of minor league options, which led to his designation today.
Asked what’s missing with Wright, Hyde said, “For me, it’s command. It’s not stuff.”
“I thought when we saw him really good, going back to the game in New York (March 30) when he closed the game out, 96-97 mph and the cutter was off the plate and guys had bad swings on him,” Hyde said. “That’s the guy that I think has had success in the big leagues. But what I saw besides that were just a lot of misses in the middle, and you miss in the middle, especially in this ballpark, you’re going to have trouble.
“It just seemed like he had trouble with command. It wasn’t walks, it was not being able to put guys away. That’s pretty much been our staff right now as a whole is just having trouble being able to put guys away and staying off the barrel with two strikes, especially. It’s something I talk about every single day it seems like, but that’s where we’re at.”
Wright gained confidence over the spring with a new regime and approach, the data provided to him perhaps unlocking his full potential. But the former third-round pick hasn’t been able to reach it.
“I thought he had a really good spring training,” Hyde said, “and I was hoping that outing in New York was going to be a confidence-booster for him. A lot of times, for me, when you can’t execute, there’s mechanical things, but there’s also a confidence level of being able to locate and being able to get big league hitters out, get off the barrel. So I was hoping that outing in New York, when he got thrown in there in that save situation and he succeeded, his confidence level would raise and he would take off from there, and it just didn’t seem to happen.”
Gabriel Ynoa had his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk and is available to pitch today. He hasn’t been used in five days.
“Ynoa slides into a long-man role, a guy who can give us innings,” Hyde said. “He was starting in Triple-A, is able to kind of bridge the gap for us as a multi-inning guy.”
Nate Karns is back at Camden Yards this morning after pitching one-third of an inning last night at Triple-A Norfolk and surrendering a three-run homer.
The Orioles won’t decide their next move with Karns until their medical staff checks on him. He has to get rid of the discomfort in his right forearm that’s still lingering.
The original plan called for Karns to twice throw one inning with Norfolk and expand to two innings.
“We’re checking him out today and see how everything’s going,” Hyde said.
The Orioles have surrendered 57 home runs to pass the 1996 Tigers (50) for the highest total before May 1. Thirty-nine have been hit in nine games at Camden Yards.
The ball is “flying league-wide,” Hyde noted. But he isn’t ready to use the baseballs as an excuse.
“I have no idea,” he said. “The ball is flying everywhere, but I’m not a scientist and I’m not that smart. All I see is what we’re giving up, which is a lot. I look on TV, there’s a lot of balls going out. But we’ve got to hold ourselves accountable and do a better job of staying off the barrel somehow. We’re using the same ball as the Twins are using today, so just got to do a better job.
“This is a really good park to hit in and it’s already warm and it’s April, so yeah, I think it’s a lot of factors.”
Here are the listed starters for the series against the White Sox at Camden Yards:
For the Twins
Jorge Polanco SS
Willians Astudillo C
Nelson Cruz DH
Eddie Rosario LF
C.J. Cron 1B
Jake Cave RF
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Ehire Adrianza 3B
Byron Buxton CF
Kyle Gibson RHP
Update: Dwight Smith Jr.’s three-base error in the first inning led to two unearned runs off Dylan Bundy. Willians Astudillo plated Jorge Polanco with a double and he scored on C.J. Cron’s two-out single.
Update II: Jake Cave’s RBI single in the third gave the Twins a 3-0 lead.
Update III: Dwight Smith Jr. lined a two-out, two-run single into center field in the bottom of the third.
Update IV: Byron Buxton scored in the fourth on Astudillo’s sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead. Buxton reached on a double after Smith misjudged his line drive.