Harvey on being shut down and his relief role (O’s down 8-4)

Hunter Harvey understands why the Orioles shut him down for the rest of the month. Why he’s going to watch instead of pitch.

Doesn’t mean he has to like it.

“It stinks,” he said this afternoon, “but I know their reasoning and, all in all, I think it’s been a good year, so I’m happy with it.”

Harvey has pitched only once since Sept. 2 due to some mild soreness in his right biceps. The Orioles already were taking a cautious approach by refusing to use him on back-to-back nights.

“It feels good,” Harvey said. “It’s getting better every day. There was nothing ever really wrong. Just normal season stuff.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said Harvey wasn’t bouncing back from the soreness, which explained why the rookie stayed in the bullpen again last night in an 11-10 loss to the Blue Jays.

Harvey said he never grew concerned over it.

“I pitched in Detroit, everything was fine, velo is still fine,” he said. “I never thought it was bad.”

Harvey-Looks-Up-White-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles set a goal of getting Harvey through a season healthy and he managed to work 82 combined innings between the minors and his seven appearances in the majors. His highest total since 2014 at Single-A Delmarva.

“Mentally, it’s going to help out a lot,” he said. “The last couple years, it’s been a month or two in and something gives out, so to make it this far in September is huge for me.”

How did Harvey stay off the injured list and avoid losing a big chunk of the summer?

“Finally just got out of that crazy little snowball I was in,” he said. “I worked hard again this past offseason, just trying to prepare, get my body right, and it finally just held up.”

Harvey won’t make drastic changes to his routine after he returns home. It worked last winter and there’s no reason to adjust it.

“Very similar to last year,” he said. “Just getting ready for spring and getting my body ready to go a full season.”

Most likely out of the bullpen, which Harvey has stated is a preference. The Orioles will make a decision later, but they also seem to like him more as a late-inning reliever.

An electric arm to spring on opponents for an inning.

“As of right now, until I’m told otherwise, yeah, that is my mindset,” he said.

“I loved it. It’s been awesome. When we moved to the bullpen at first it was like, ‘Let’s try to figure this out,’ and it ended up working out pretty good.

“Hopefully it’s the same. Like I said, I haven’t been told anything, but hopefully it’s the same.”

Said Hyde: “I think it’s something we’re still talking about and we’ll continue to talk about it early on in this offseason. But he looks so good in that relief role and it’s hard to ignore that. And it’s hard to ignore how comfortable he looked pitching late in the game. His stuff is just exceptional, so I think we’ll consider everything, but he looked great in that late-inning role.”

Restricting Harvey to shorter appearances also might reduce the odds of a physical setback.

“It was big because it let me pitch this far,” he said. “I didn’t know that it was going to get to the big leagues like that. I never thought that would be how it was going to happen, but it worked out for the best.”

Harvey’s desire to stay in his current role also could influence the Orioles as they make a final determination. They’re also going to consider how Dillon Tate expressed a preference to become a reliever.

“We want them to be comfortable, we want to do the best thing for the player,” Hyde said. “Dillon mentioned it in spring training and felt like there was still some development going on there with the rest of his pitches. We wanted to get some innings. As well as Harv, also.

“When you’re a reliever in the minor leagues, it can be kind of tough to develop your pitches because you have short spurts instead of a start where you could have multiple innings to pitch to hitters, and then have work days in between. And when you’re a reliever, not so much.

“We consider everything and both Dillon and Hunter have taken to the relief role really well.”

The seven appearances for Harvey resulted in one run and three hits allowed with four walks and 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Opponents batted .136 against him. And the fastball stayed in the 98-99 mph range, the Tommy John surgery failing to impact his velocity.

Those games provided the necessary verification that Harvey’s stuff works up here.

“It’s nice,” he said. “Just making it through a full season for me was the biggest thing and pitching up here, it’s nice to get my feet wet.”

* Hyde isn’t ready to name his opener for Friday night’s game against the Mariners. He needs to know which relievers are used tonight and which remain available.

“I’ve used a lot of guys back-to-back nights the last couple nights,” Hyde said. “There’s some guys unavailable tonight. So we’re going to try to win the game tonight and see who starts tomorrow.”

* Hyde began his morning by taking a tour of the Ravens facility in Owings Mills, watching practice and having lunch with head coach John Harbaugh. He wore a white, long-sleeve Ravens shirt to his pregame media session.

“After a tough night last night, I got to be extremely lucky and got invited to Ravens camp this morning by coach Harbaugh and the rest of his staff,” he said. “Just wanted to say thank you. That was an incredible experience. Great people over there.

“I got to spend time with coach Harbaugh this morning and what a special guy. And class. Really had a great morning after a tough one last night. A nice bounce back.”

Here are the listed probables for the Mariners series:

Friday: TBD vs. Félix Hernández
Saturday: Asher Wojciechowski vs. Justus Sheffield
Sunday: John Means vs. Marco Gonzales

For the Blue Jays
Bo Bichette SS
Cavan Biggio 2B
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B
Justin Smoak DH
Randal Grichuk CF
Reese McGuire C
Rowdy Tellez 1B
Derek Fisher RF

Wilmer Font RHP

Update: Trey Mancini had an RBI double in the third inning but Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.

Update II: The Orioles tied the score in the fifth on singles by Hanser Alberto and Mancini and Anthony Santander’s fielder’s choice grounder.

Update III: The Jays scored six runs in the seventh while sending 10 batters to the plate. Tate was charged with three and Tanner Scott two.

Mancini’s RBI double in the bottom half cut the lead to 8-3.

Update IV: Austin Hays homered in the eighth to reduce the lead to 8-4.

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