Brooks latest to enter Orioles bullpen

The 2019 season starts up again tonight with the Orioles inserting Aaron Brooks into their bullpen as the latest adjustment to a unit that’s trying to gain more consistency in the second half.

The Orioles are carrying a four-man bench and seven relievers - Brooks, Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier, Paul Fry, Miguel Castro, Jimmy Yacabonis and Shawn Armstrong. But two open dates on the schedule next week, countering Saturday’s doubleheader, could allow for some creativity from manager Brandon Hyde.

Brooks replaces David Hess, who was optioned again after Sunday’s game.

Twenty pitchers have been used in relief this season, along with first baseman Chris Davis, infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Jesús Sucre.

The rotation isn’t set, at least publicly.

John Means is the only confirmed starter for the doubleheader. Asher Wojciechowski and Gabriel Ynoa are options for the other game, with one of them also needed Tuesday night against the Nationals unless the Orioles make another roster move.

Brooks hasn’t thrown more than 36 pitches or worked more than two innings since June 8 and hasn’t exceeded three innings since May 11. He’s also been more effective this season as a reliever.

It’s difficult to give him a start right away unless conceding a bullpen game.

Bundy-Pitch-Black-sidebar.jpgThe Orioles begin the second half tonight with Dylan Bundy taking the mound against the Rays at Camden Yards. He can stay in turn and close out the two-game series against the Nationals Wednesday night.

The rotation adjustment has allowed Bundy to start the first game coming out of the break. The extended rest didn’t bother him in Toronto, where he held the Blue Jays to one run and three hits over 6 2/3 innings last Friday night in a 4-1 win.

Bundy already has made two starts against Tampa Bay this season and surrendered three runs in 12 1/3 innings. He tossed 7 1/3 scoreless to pick up his first win on May 4 at Camden Yards.

Avisaíl García is 6-for-12 with a double and home run lifetime against Bundy. Kevin Kiermaier is 4-for-14 with two home runs.

Daniel Robertson is 1-for-11 with seven strikeouts, but he’s on the injured list.

The Rays are starting Yonny Chirinos tonight and Brendan McKay and Charlie Morton in Saturday’s doubleheader. They haven’t listed a starter for Sunday.

McKay is the two-way player from the University of Louisville taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft.

Chirinos has a 3.15 ERA and 0.990 WHIP in 18 games this season, including 12 starts, totaling 100 innings. He shut out the Orioles on one hit over five relief innings on April 17 and surrendered three runs in 7 1/3 innings in a May 4 start in Baltimore.

Dwight Smith Jr. hit a solo homer off Chirinos.

* Alabama prep shortstop Gunnar Henderson, the Orioles’ second-round pick, made his professional debut yesterday in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts versus the GCL Twins, who scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 3-2 win.

Catcher Adley Rutschman also is on the GCL roster as he continues to work out in Sarasota, but he hasn’t been cleared to play due to a mild bout of mononucleosis.

Rutschman was expected to debut later this week, but he’s likely now to begin his professional career the following weekend with a brief appearance in the GCL.

The first overall pick is going to play in only one or two games before reporting to short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He could move up later to Single-A Delmarva.

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