The news yesterday that DL Hall is going to miss the remainder of his season at Single-A Frederick with a mild strain of his left lat muscle shouldn’t cause a massive panic.
The key word here is “mild,” which is confirmed by the Grade 1 diagnosis.
Resist the urge to replay all the images of past injured pitching prospects. But try to say it three times fast.
An earlier occurrence would have gotten Hall back on the mound this summer, but the Keys don’t have many games remaining and there’s no reason to push one of the top young prospects in the organization.
Hall is only 20 and climbing the ladder. He should be in Double-A Bowie’s rotation next summer.
“DL has had a terrific season, highly successful from a statistical and developmental standpoint, and he has shown three plus pitches all year long,” said executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.
“He’s one of the higher-ceiling left-handed pitching prospects I’ve been around.”
(Hit the pause button and consider those words, coming from someone who worked in the Cardinals and Astros organizations.)
“We’ll be careful to go with the best plan to get him ready for Double-A Bowie next year,” Elias said.
* The Orioles are trudging through the final weeks of the season with a collection of pitchers who are trying to become established in the majors. Some of them are going to be in camp next spring. Others are likely to become 40-man roster casualties with the club needing to create space for prospects who must be protected before the Rule 5 draft in December.
There’s been an understandably large amount of focus on the young arms, but the Orioles are in the unique position of having players catching them who also are trying to become established.
“Not only catchers, we have players all over the field trying to establish themselves,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “There’s all sorts of challenges. We’re inexperienced on the mound, we’re inexperienced in the field, we’re inexperienced behind the plate. And when you’re facing veteran clubs that make a ton of money for a reason and are primed to go deep in the postseason, you’re going to potentially have some rough nights.
“We’re doing the best we can.”
“I feel like our catchers have improved over the course of the year and gaining some really valuable experience,” Hyde said. “The way you get better is by playing teams like this and to take some punches along the way and have that drive you to improve and want to be where they’re at.”
The expanded roster next month probably will include Austin Wynns, giving Hyde more options and making it less risky to use a catcher as the designated hitter.
Sisco’s availability for tonight’s game is in question after he was hit in the groin area by a foul ball in yesterday’s 13-7 loss to the Red Sox. Wynns has joined the team in Baltimore, just in case, and probably will go on the taxi squad.
* Hyde still expects to have Mark Trumbo on his roster next month.
Trumbo is working out and trying to get back on an injury rehab assignment, the most recent at Triple-A Norfolk halted after two games due to more soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
The Orioles need Trumbo to begin playing again in the minors, his last at-bat coming on June 24. A date hasn’t been set, but perhaps he can provide an update later today.
There aren’t many games left down on the farm. The Tides, Bowie, Frederick and Single-A Delmarva are done with the regular season on Sept. 2. The Shorebirds qualified for the South Atlantic League playoffs.
The Orioles want to reward Trumbo for his hard work in attempting to come back after a grueling surgery and rehab. Trumbo wants to play and feel like he’s earned at least some of his salary for 2019.
Hyde will figure out how to make it work and spread out the at-bats.
* Hyde said he was pleased with left-hander Ty Blach’s outing yesterday, which looked worse in the box score than on the mound.
Blach left with a 6-3 lead and runners on the corners in the sixth, and two inherited runners scored. The game spiraled out of control and the perception of Blach’s start might be influenced by it.
“Yeah, every once in a while,” he said. “You control the things that you can control as a pitcher. Go out there and try and execute as many pitches as you can. That’s how you have to evaluate it.
“I felt good. I felt like I was executing a lot of pitches, keeping them off-balance, getting weak contact. Just left a couple of balls in the middle of the plate and made too many walks.
“I think we mixed pretty well with a good fastball-and-changeup combination, being able to utilize the changeup, keep guys off-speed, then being able to move guys’ feet a little bit. I think I was successful.”
Mitch Moreland’s popup that fell in left field for a single and led to two runs scoring completely swung the game - if you believe in momentum - in the Red Sox’s favor. You could sense what was coming next.
“Once it fell in,” Moreland said, “it turned into a snowball fight.”
* Shortstop Richie Martin has stayed in the majors after the Orioles selected him in the Rule 5 draft, but whatever happened to pitcher Taylor Grover, taken from the Reds organization in the Triple-A phase?
Grover, 28, underwent surgery last month to repair a Grade 3 tear in his lat. His season lasted 12 games at Double-A Bowie, where he posted a 5.27 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 13 2/3 innings.
He allowed one earned run in his last seven appearances over 8 1/3 innings, and I’ve heard that his fastball was clocked near 100 mph, which is impressive under ideal circumstances, let alone when the pitcher has a torn lat.
Grover didn’t pitch after striking out the only Hartford batter he faced on June 2 to earn a hold. His season started late due to an oblique injury, but he was dominant at extended spring training. I’ve heard that he struck out 22 batters in eight scoreless innings.
Grover, the 10th-round pick of the Red Sox in 2013 out of the University of South Carolina Aiken, gained plenty of attention over the summer after a video posted on Twitter showed off his 102 mph fastball in independent ball. The Reds signed him two weeks before the Rule 5 draft and left him exposed.
What will the Orioles do with Grover, who’s already working out following his surgery?
He’s set to become a minor league free agent, but they paid him a $10,000 bonus and covered the cost of his surgery. There’s an investment here. And a fastball that, Grover’s been told, could climb a little more now that he’s undergone the procedure.
Controlling it is more important than adding a few miles per hour, but he’d certainly appear to be worth another look next spring. A fully healthy version.