Means added to Orioles rotation (and other notes, O’s down 11-3)

Orioles left-hander John Means has been chosen to start Tuesday night’s game against the Athletics at Camden Yards, with manager Brandon Hyde providing a little more clarity today to his pitching plans.

The TBD has been scratched.

Andrew Cashner starts Monday’s series opener, with Alex Cobb going Wednesday and Dylan Bundy Thursday. Means is replacing Nate Karns, who’s working exclusively out of the bullpen now rather than continuing in the opener role.

Dan Straily, signed on Friday to a major league deal, is available in the bullpen today and could back up Means on Tuesday. He’s going to join the rotation at some point, perhaps when Means’ turn comes up again.

“I’m going to give Straily some outings before we slide him into the rotation,” Hyde said. “Still trying to kind of figure that out as we go.”

Means-Set-Spring-sidebar.jpgMeans has struck out nine batters in 5 2/3 innings this season, with only one run allowed over his three appearances. He’s started 114 games in the minors but none in the majors among his four outings.

Hyde limited Means to three batters last night, resulting in two strikeouts, because of the pending start.

The outing won’t necessarily duplicate the opener format. The leash is longer.

“I’m going to let Johnny pitch and I’ll be smart about it,” Hyde said. “I’m looking forward to watching his start and take him as far as he can go. Obviously, he’s been outstanding. Pitch a variety of roles for you. So we’re going to give him a start on Tuesday and see how it goes.”

Karns pitched twice as the opener and came out of the bullpen last night. Plans to make him a regular starter were scrapped in spring training, the club going with a more cautious approach after an elbow injury cost him the entire 2018 season and recovery time following his first exhibition appearance took longer than desired.

“I think that once we felt in spring where maybe stretching him out isn’t the right thing to do and maybe for his arm health shorter spurts might be the best way to go, especially breaking camp, kind of seeing how he was recovering,” Hyde said.

“We feel like now is just the time to put him in the bullpen and let him be a regular bullpen arm. And he’s comfortable doing both things. But once you get above the two-, three-inning deal with him, you’ve got some recovery time. And now that we’ve got five starters, we feel comfortable with him being in the ‘pen and just being more of a useable bullpen piece.”

Karns threw 16 pitches last night and is available this afternoon to work back-to-back rather than needing a rest day.

Rule 5 shortstop Richie Martin is on the bench again today. He’s 2-for-22 with 11 strikeouts, though able to influence games with his glove.

“It’s still early,” Hyde said. “We talked a lot with him in spring training about really making his defense a priority. And it’s a big jump from Double-A to the big leagues and he’s done that. He’s played great defensively, done a great job of not taking his at-bats to the field.

“He’s off to a slow start offensively. We’re going to stick with him. I’m going to try to find the right spots for him. We knew there was going to be an adjustment period. It’s not that easy and we’re facing some really good pitching. He’s just off to a little bit of a slow start. But his work ethic is incredible. Mentally, he’s really tough. He’s got a great relationship with our hitting guys and I know they have a lot of things in place that they’re working on every single day.

“But I’m just really happy about his defense and being the anchor in the middle of our field, a defense that’s playing really well right now. I want Richie to really focus on that and whatever he can give us offensively is a big bonus. I do believe he has the ability to hit and it’s just going to be a learning curve for him in the big leagues.”

Hyde spends each morning checking minor league box scores and the reports submitted by the managers. He tracks certain players at the top two affiliates who could fill specific needs on his club.

“Helping here and interest in our organization,” he said. “It’s something I did in Chicago, too, where you just want to know what’s happening, who’s playing well. It’s interesting to read a manager’s summaries of the games from the night before, so that’s something I follow pretty closely.”

The Orioles will be faced with an intriguing decision after Austin Wynns is cleared to leave extended spring training. He’s catching six innings Monday and nine Wednesday, and they need to figure out where to play him.

Hyde is pleased with the defense provided by Jesús Sucre and Pedro Severino. The Triple-A Norfolk roster includes catchers Chance Sisco and Carlos Pérez. Where does Wynns fit?

“I think Austin’s pretty close to getting out of Florida,” Hyde said. “I’ve been really happy with what’s happened here. I think our guys are catching fantastic. You saw Severino last night, the intensity he has behind the plate. His passion to help out the pitcher, to get guys through innings. We haven’t allowed a basestealer yet all year. There’s a lot of really good things.

“We back-picked again last night in a big spot. Our guys are playing free, they’re playing with energy. Some tough blocks with (Miguel) Castro before the homer. Both of those guys have done a nice job and I like our catching depth, obviously. Chance had a really nice spring training, Carlos has got major league time and then Austin’s coming off. So yeah, we’re going to have some decisions to make, but it’s good decisions and we feel comfortable with a lot of these guys coming to the big leagues.”

For the Yankees
Brett Gardner CF
Aaron Judge RF
Luke Voit 1B
Gary Sánchez DH
Gleyber Torres SS
D.J. LeMahieu 2B
Clint Frazier LF
Gio Urshela 3B
Austin Romine C

Domingo Germán RHP

Update: Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier homered in the second inning to give New York a 2-0 lead.

Update II: Gary Sánchez hit a two-run homer off David Hess in the third inning for a 4-0 lead.

Update III: Frazier’s two-out single in the sixth off Mike Wright scored Torres and increased the lead to 5-0. The Orioles still don’t have a hit off Domingo Germán.

Update IV: Sánchez hit a two-run homer off Wright in the seventh to give New York a 7-0 lead. Hanser Alberto singled in the sixth to break up the no-hitter.

Update V: Straily made his Orioles debut after replacing Wright in the seventh and he let an inherited runner score for an 8-0 lead. Straily was charged with his own run later in the inning on Gio Urshela’s single for a 9-0 lead.

Update VI: The Orioles scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh on a passed ball, wild pitch and Alberto RBI single.

Update VII: Sánchez has his first career three-homer game, with his two-run shot off Straily in the eighth giving New York an 11-3 lead.

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