The Orioles must be expanding on their relaxed facial hair policy.
They can’t seem to shave their injured list.
Reliever Josh Lucas was activated, optioned, designated for assignment and outrighted. He probably felt safer on the IL.
John Means was reinstated back on June 28, the collective sigh of relief from the organization causing the flags to flutter above the bullpen area. But the rotation has lost Dylan Bundy to right knee tendinitis, forcing another roster move in a season loaded with them.
The Orioles have used 48 players this season, eight short of the club record set last season. Pitcher Tayler Scott was the latest to debut last night.
The 60-day IL holds four Orioles: pitchers Alex Cobb, Nate Karns and Josh Rogers and outfielder Mark Trumbo. Karns remains on his second injury rehab assignment, moving up from Single-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie. Trumbo isn’t playing, but he stays a possibility for the second half until we’re told otherwise.
Cobb (hip) and Rogers (elbow) are done for the year. Cobb is likely to be ready for opening day 2020, but Rogers will miss a chunk of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Outfielder DJ Stewart is rehabbing with Triple-A Norfolk, his climb back to the majors slowed a bit Friday night after fouling a ball off the same ankle that he sprained in Texas. I was told that he came out of the game as a precaution and he started in left field last night.
Karns didn’t get the desired results in Friday’s start at Frederick, retiring only two batters and allowing three runs with two hits and three walks. He told manager Brandon Hyde yesterday morning that his arm felt good, which trumps anything shown in the box score, but results eventually matter.
He’s got to be able to get hitters out, as explained in Captain Obvious’ baseball newsletter.
A scout from outside the organization who attended the game said Karns’ fastball was 87-90 mph with “well-below average command,” which explains the walks and premature exit.
Karns mixed in some off-speed stuff, but it always goes back to fastball command. Name a pitcher who isn’t a knuckleballer and he’ll probably mention it.
The veteran may not be ready to rear back and throw with maximum effort. The scout observed that Karns appeared to be “pushing the ball.”
This is a process that can’t be rushed. And it’s about getting through the outings without any physical setbacks. In that regard, Karns is doing all right.
He’d be an asset in the bullpen as someone who’s had some success in the majors, can go multiple innings and can get strikeouts.
It’s easy to forget that Karns didn’t allow an earned run in his four appearances. Perhaps it’s because he totaled only 5 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits with three walks. And because his last game with the Orioles was April 8 when he retired the side in order in the ninth.
Andrew Cashner would have started this afternoon if not for yesterday’s trade to the Red Sox and he seems to be in good health after experiencing some soreness in his hip and being pushed back due to a blister on his right middle finger.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Means when asked about the trade going down a few hours before his start. “He’s kind of our fearless leader, so to have a guy like that who is kind of your voice is kind of tough.”
Means is now in a position to offer advice to young pitchers who also will be given a chance to contribute in 2019 and perhaps beyond.
“Just kind of come up here and don’t act like you have to do anything more than you were doing,” he said. “A lot of guys come up here, including myself last year. You come up here, you feel like you have to change something. It’s the big leagues, so you’re facing the best hitters in the world day in and day out. But honestly it’s the same game, it’s the same type of day and you come in with your best stuff.”
Cashner will make his Red Sox debut on Tuesday and they come to town for a weekend series, which could line him up to start next Sunday.
It won’t rival Manny Machado’s return, but I’d still expect the crowd to greet him warmly. Especially because he loved being an Oriole and wasn’t rushing to get out the door.
Cashner wasn’t going to refuse a trade and sit out the rest of the season, but going to a contender and remaining a starter made it a little easier to leave.
It seemed unlikely that the Orioles would have traded Cashner and Bundy and left their rotation in complete shambles unless overwhelmed with an offer, but both starters are gone for different reasons.
Only Bundy is returning, with Hyde expecting him to miss Wednesday night’s start against the Nationals at Camden Yards and then come off the IL.
The Orioles would be thrilled if someone else didn’t occupy his spot on the shelf.