The Orioles recalled Shepherd again today as Evan Phillips’ bullpen replacement and he’s hoping to do more than dig into the pregame and postgame meals.
“It would be special,” he said this afternoon while standing at his locker at Yankee Stadium. “My last time up here was a great experience for me and I’ve been ready to get in a game and help this team out, so it would be very special.”
Shepherd tried to ignore how many teammates at Triple-A Norfolk were getting multiple opportunities with the Orioles. He had his own business to attend to and wanted to avoid any distractions.
“I think for me, my main focus is just taking everything a day at a time and working on the things I need to work on to come up here and be successful. I think my focus tends to go more toward that,” he said.
“It happens a lot and it’s hard not to notice it. Like I said, I try my best just to focus on the things I can control, knowing the things I need to get better on to allow me to be successful when I do get that opportunity.”
Manager Brandon Hyde wants to be able to hand the ball to someone coming out of the bullpen and avoid having to immediately reach for the phone and get another reliever warm. Anyone who’s able to produce outs, keep the pitch count at a reasonable total and end the parade - and the daily transactions.
Shepherd needs to separate himself from the Norfolk pack that hasn’t stayed off the shuttle.
“We’ve got a really good staff down there,” Shepherd said. “It’s just little things for me. I’ve been working a lot on getting through the lineup the second and third time. I mentioned that last time. My main focus there is really emphasizing a lot of secondary pitches to allow myself to do that. I try to stay focused on that.”
Shepherd is rested, on normal rest if used tonight, and he’s a hot hand with only one earned run allowed and 14 strikeouts in his last two starts covering 12 1/3 innings.
How’s he doing it?
We’re taken back to his explanation about the secondary stuff and pushing through the troublesome spots in the order.
“It’s what I’ve been talking about,” he replied. “It’s just been something I focused a lot on this year and trying to overcome that and I think it’s showed up a little bit in those last two starts. Definitely the numbers are a little bit better.”
Shepherd would be the 53rd player used by the Orioles if he pitches, three short of last year’s club record.
Meanwhile, infielder Rylan Bannon, acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, has moved up from Double-A Bowie to Norfolk. Infielder Jomar Reyes was promoted from Single-A Frederick to Bowie.
Pitcher Tanner Chleborad was placed on the voluntary retired list.
For the Yankees
DJ LeMahieu 1B
Aaron Judge RF
Gio Urshela 3B
Gary Sánchez DH
Gleyber Torres 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Cameron Maybin LF
Austin Romine C
Mike Tauchman CF
Domingo Germán RHP