BOSTON - Left-hander Ty Blach is starting Sunday at Fenway Park, his second opportunity with the Orioles. The rotation is set now with John Means, Dylan Bundy and Aaron Brooks handling the next three games against the Royals at Camden Yards.
Gabriel Ynoa was a candidate for Sunday, but becomes a bullpen option for manager Brandon Hyde.
Hyde has a new reliever in his bullpen after the Orioles recalled Hunter Harvey today from Triple-A Norfolk. And it could be an assignment that stretches through the end of the season.
“We’re excited to have Hunter,” Hyde said. “Throwing the ball great in Norfolk. Obviously, it’s a power arm that threw the ball well in spring training. He’s been healthy all year long and that’s what we were hoping to see: Him establish his health and throw the ball well. And he’s done that and now he’s up here.”
Hyde understands that Harvey brings a special story with him to the majors. This isn’t a routine call-up.
“Obviously, it’s a former first-round pick that has had a tough time in the minor leagues with injuries and stayed healthy this year,” Hyde said.
“It was really awesome seeing him. I managed his brother (Chris). I know his dad (Bryan). When I saw him he was just kind of checking out Fenway, which is always a cool feeling. And he’s got an absolutely outstanding hairdo going right now, too. It’s a Show hairdo. So we’re welcoming him with open arms.”
Harvey cleared all the reliever hurdles to get to the Orioles, including working on consecutive days this week in Pawtucket.
“He posted numbers,” Hyde said. “He had one or two bad outings in Norfolk that kind of spiked his numbers a little bit, but kind of a short sample. If you look at everything else, he really dominated with strikeouts. He kept his velo up. And he went back-to-back this week to kind of get him ready for this environment.
“He’s throwing 99 his second time out. He feels good, he looks great and looking forward to seeing him on the mound.”
Harvey’s stuff really played in relief, with shorter bursts and a different mindset.
“I just think the stuff ticks up when it’s a sprint instead of a longer outing,” Hyde said. “I think he’s kind of made that way a little bit. He just wants to go and blow people away and get outs. His dad did it really well for a long time, and hoping he can follow in his footsteps.”
The Orioles can determine later if Harvey’s future is in the bullpen.
“I’m just glad he’s here, and we’ll figure it out,” Hyde said, smiling. “Right now he’s going to be in our bullpen, and what the future after this holds, we’ll discuss. But I’m just glad he’s here and he’s going to be in our bullpen.”
Also in question is how long Harvey, 24, remains in the majors this year.
“Anything can happen, especially in our situation with the pitching revolving door that we have,” Hyde said, “but I’m hoping he is.”
Health always is a factor. The Orioles won’t take any unnecessary risks with Harvey, the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Bandys High School in North Carolina.
“I’m still going to be careful with how I use him and I’m obviously going to try to put him in positions to have success,” Hyde said. “I want to see him do well. Just really happy to have him.
“I think I had his brother two years, and they’re very, very similar in that they’re just really good guys. Got to know Hunter pretty well in spring training. You pull for a guy like that who’s been through so much. He’s had to deal with a lot of adversity, and to be able to go through all the stuff he’s gone through and to make it and, hopefully, make his pitching debut in Fenway Park, that will be special.”
Meanwhile, Chris Davis had a guest at batting practice - 9-year-old Henry Frasca, a Red Sox fan who wrote Davis a letter during the first baseman’s season-opening 0-for-33 streak that became a national story.
The boy offered encouragement to Davis, who carried the letter in his pocket on the day that he finally collected a hit in an April 13 game at Fenway Park. Davis went 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBIs.
Davis invited Frasca to Fenway Park upon the team’s return to Boston. Frasca chatted with Hyde during batting practice and headed to the outfield to shag fly balls.
Update: Brock Holt led off the fifth with a home run off Asher Wojciechowski to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Jackie Bradley Jr. tripled and scored on a wild pitch.
Update II: Rafael Devers hit a two-run homer off Paul Fry in the seventh for a 4-0 lead.