ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Brandon Hyde and Rays manager Kevin Cash aren’t ready to list their starters for Tuesday’s doubleheader at Tropicana Field.
There’s too much uncertainly to finalize pitching plans.
Hyde knew he’d need a spot starter and Hurricane Dorian created a complication by forcing the teams to play a doubleheader in order for the Orioles to fly back home a day earlier.
The bullpen obviously comes into play. Hyde is waiting to find out who’s available after today’s series opener.
The Orioles are bringing up more players for their expanded September roster and could find a starter within the group.
Dean Kremer isn’t a consideration. He’s starting today for Triple-A Norfolk to close out the season and headed to the Arizona Fall League.
“We’ve got TBA throwing Game 1 and Game 2. So do they,” Hyde said.
“We’re waiting to see after the game today. We were going to have a spot starter tomorrow anyway and now with a doubleheader and our starter who was going to start Wednesday now having to be pushed back to Thursday, it’s a TBA both games.”
Catcher Austin Wynns is joining the Orioles for the doubleheader, as expected. The Virginian-Pilot reported that the lockers of pitchers Chandler Shepherd, Ty Blach and David Hess are empty today, which signals that the Orioles also are recalling them.
I’ve also heard that outfielder Mason Williams could have his contract selected from Norfolk, which would require another move to open space on the 40-man roster. Williams is the designated hitter today for the Tides.
Austin Hays will be assigned to the Surprise roster in the Arizona Fall League in order to get more at-bats and continue his development. He won’t join the Orioles this month, but they’re hoping that he’s part of their opening day roster in 2020.
The Orioles keep monitoring the path of Hurricane Dorian and obviously share concerns about the safety of everyone who could be impacted, including residents of Sarasota, Fla.
“Absolutely,” Hyde said. “It’s awful. I still have friends and family on the East Coast of Florida. There’s obviously a close relationship with the Sarasota people on the West Coast, so our hearts and thoughts are with everybody being involved. It’s just a miserable situation.”
Mark Trumbo is off the 60-day injured list and serving as the designated hitter, making him the 56th player to appear in a game to tie the club record set last summer.
“It’s a big deal for a lot of people,” Hyde said.
“It was awesome texting him this morning and just to have him here in uniform and in the lineup is a great feeling,” Hyde said. “Mark’s put a lot of time and effort and work into coming back from this tough knee injury and everybody here has seen the work he’s put in.
“He’s been a great teammate in the clubhouse a lot this year and supporting our guys in the dugout. Also a big deal for our training staff that’s put in a lot of time and I know it’s a great feeling for everybody involved who got him back on the field and in the lineup.”
The Orioles don’t have a set plan for Trumbo, with decisions based on how the knee responds.
“It’s going to be day-to-day,” Hyde said. “He’s not going to be able to play every day, so we’re going to pick our spots and see how he responds the next day. It’s just going to be a check-in session every day.”
Said Trumbo: “We’ve had a couple conversations. You’ve just got to ... it’s really up in the air, but I’d like to play as much as I can and as much as they want me to. Being available every day is something I’ve always tried to be able to do. Now it’s a little bit different, but I’ll do what I can.”
Trumbo will be used mainly as the designated hitter with perhaps some innings in the outfield.
“Probably not a lot,” Hyde said. “We’re going to see how he feels and if he feels good to go, possibly might DH or maybe play the corner once in a while. I don’t think he’s going to be playing the majority of the time.”
Trumbo said he won’t play much first base.
“Outfield just seems a little bit easier right now,” he said. “First base is a lot of bending and a lot of little movements that just seemed like a little bit much when we were doing it in some of the rehab games before.”
Trumbo is in the final year of his contract and perhaps the final month of his career. He was happy to put on the uniform again with a spot in the lineup.
“It feels pretty good,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming. I had pretty high hopes going into the surgery and there’s been a few road blocks along the way. Some stops and starts. All the while I kept thinking that once we got far enough out would kind of come around and I think at this point it’s cooperating enough that I can get out there.
“It’s really nice for everyone who’s been involved in this, from the training staff to the offseason work that we did, so it’s a good day.”
Trumbo could have shut down and let the rest of the season play out without him, but he kept pushing to return.
“I’m getting paid to play and I think that always weighed on me pretty heavily,” he said. “It’s something I feel I owe it to the team to get out there and do what I can. But at the same time I wanted to do it when it was realistic and I could actually play multiple days in a row and do some of the things that you need to do to be on the team. That’s why September I thought made more sense than earlier just because there’s some unpredictability in how I can bounce back day to day. We’re hoping for the best right now.
“Some days are better than others. Some days are really good. If I do a lot or if I’m heavily involved I can kind of predict the next day there will be some soreness and some swelling. But we’ve got a great team here to try to manage the symptoms and with any luck we’ll have a lot of productivity.”
There were multiple setbacks along the way, but nothing that pushed Trumbo into retirement.
“The timeline is actually a year to a year and a half,” he said. “I’ve given it a shot. The five-month mark, the seven-month mark, and all the while knowing it might have been a little bit of a longshot. So the frustration, it was there, but not boiling over or anything.
“Realistically it’s going to take as much time as it needs, so I think we’re still in kind of that mindset, but it’s cooperated enough that I’ve played five in a row with Norfolk and we’re going to hope for the best here. But I enjoy playing and that’s what’s kept the momentum going.
“This is what I’ve done for a long time and it’s what I’ve been fairly good at, at least, so that’s my mindset.”
Everyone in the Orioles organization is celebrating Double-A Bowie’s inclusion in the Eastern League playoffs. The Baysox clinched the Western Division second half title.
“It’s awesome to see a lot of those guys really play well,” Hyde said. “Postseason baseball in the minor leagues is a lot of fun. I saw a little video of them clinching last night, which is really cool.
“It’s an accomplishment getting to the postseason. A lot of players there did some nice things and really got better over the course of the year, so congratulations to the coaching staff and the players there and hope they make a long run in the playoffs.”
Update: Austin Meadows hit a two-run homer off Asher Wojciechowski in the third inning for a 2-0 lead.
Update II: Tommy Pham’s two-out, two-run double in the fifth upped the lead to 4-0.
Update III: Hanser Alberto led off the sixth inning with his 11th home run.
Update IV: Trumbo had a two-run double later in the inning and scored the tying run on Pedro Severino’s single.