What Cobb’s return means for the rotation (and other notes)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Brandon Hyde checked on Alex Cobb yesterday, received the information he wanted and proceeded with his pitching plans for the weekend and beyond.

Cobb’s back is fine. The spasms are gone. And he’s coming off the injured list Friday to start against the Twins at Camden Yards.

Cobb-Home-Opener-sidebar.jpgThe rotation lines up as Cobb, Dan Straily and Dylan Bundy for the weekend series, followed by David Hess and Andrew Cashner for the first two games against the White Sox in Baltimore.

Hyde hasn’t indicated that he’s going with a six-man rotation. Left-hander John Means, whose turn on Friday is taken by Cobb, would have to bump someone to stay in it.

Means held the Red Sox to one run over five innings in Sunday’s start at Fenway Park to lower his ERA to 1.98 in five appearances.

A pleasant problem for Hyde?

“It is, it is,” he said.

“We’re considering our options. John Means has been throwing the ball great. I see him as a starter. He’s earned his first couple starts to be in the rotation at some point.

“We’re going through it right now on what we’re going to do about that and kind of setting it up from there. But John Means is a big part of us going forward, and if he’s not in the rotation right away it will be at some point this summer.”

If not right away.

Means could be used out of the bullpen as a third left-hander while Richard Bleier is on the injured list. Bleier’s return, which isn’t imminent, might push Tanner Scott down to Triple-A Norfolk.

The rehabbing Orioles remained at Tropicana Field yesterday, with Bleier and Nate Karns throwing bullpen sessions during batting practice and Mark Trumbo playing catch and continuing the strengthening exercises for his knee.

Trumbo adds a nice veteran touch to the clubhouse.

“Mark’s obviously a great leader and somebody that a lot of our guys look up to, and they should,” Hyde said. “He’s had a really nice career and done a lot of really nice things in this game. To have him around, yeah, it’s awesome to see him.”

Pitcher Dean Kremer remains at extended spring training after reporting to camp with a strained left oblique. The Orioles reassigned him on March 3 in the first wave of cuts.

Kremer is building up innings and arm strength to get back into a rotation. He led the minors last summer with 178 strikeouts, including 53 in 45 1/3 innings with Double-A Bowie following his acquisition from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade.

You can’t rush an oblique injury. A player isn’t day-to-day with it. Kremer and catcher Austin Wynns are just two of the latest examples.

The Orioles activated Wynns from the injured list yesterday and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk, where he joined catchers Chance Sisco and Carlos Pérez.

Sisco is 7-for-43 (.163) with a double and 15 strikeouts in 11 games. He’s thrown out one of the three runners attempting to steal.

Sisco slashed .382/.533/.765 with a double, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 15 exhibition games, but the Orioles optioned him and kept Pedro Severino as the backup to Jesús Sucre.

Outfielder Austin Hays is making nice progress in his recovery from a sprained left thumb. I’ve heard that he’s no longer wearing a splint and is in a hitting progression.

The Rays are sticking with an opener tonight to close out the series, sending right-hander Hunter Wood to the mound for the first inning.

Wood has pitched twice this season, coming out of the bullpen and tossing four scoreless innings. He lasted three in Chicago and one in Toronto.

The Orioles are familiar with Wood. He’s made four appearances against them, opening twice, and allowed five runs and 10 hits with 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

Joey Rickard is 2-for-2 with a triple and two RBIs against Wood. Wynns is 2-for-3 with a home run, but he isn’t here.

Hyde, pitching coach Doug Brocail and field coordinator Tim Cossins have been ejected in three of the last four games.

Someone keep an eye on Howie Clark.

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