The rotation guessing game can’t be played without the constant moving of pieces.
My logic came from the idea that the team would want to separate rookies Kremer and Keegan Akin, but the latter has to earn the job and he struggled last night.
Would the Orioles stick Bruce Zimmermann in the fifth spot rather than use him in bulk relief and piggyback mode early in the season? If you’re counting Akin, that would be three rookies and three left-handers in a five-man rotation.
It isn’t a sin. Just saying ...
Heck, we still don’t know whether the Orioles will use six starters breaking camp. And whether Jorge López gets the nod over Zimmermann, though his numbers this spring are better in relief, if that actually matters. And whether Félix Hernández is absolutely, positively out of the running due to his sore right elbow.
Seems likely to me, but it isn’t official. Hernández could be carrying a “get out of alternate camp site free” card.
López and Zimmermann could co-exist in the rotation, at least to begin the season. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias could claim or sign a starter late in camp who opts out or is cut. He hasn’t hidden the possibility.
Harvey makes a final tune-up start Sunday against the Pirates. López is on the mound tonight versus the Yankees, seemingly a lock to head north because he’s out of minor league options and can cover innings in the rotation or bullpen.
Wade LeBlanc’s decision to opt out accelerated the movement of the game pieces.
“It’s one potential starter not there, so one less,” manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday in his Zoom call, breaking down the math with a smile for the media.
“So you say there’s a chance?”
* Outfielder DJ Stewart isn’t ready to get back into the Orioles lineup and he’s running out of games.
What about his chances of making the club?
Asked yesterday if Stewart would begin the season on the injured list with a strained hamstring, Hyde said, “I do not know that.”
With only three games played this spring, and none since March 5, Stewart seems likely to stay back.
“He’s progressing, he’s about 90 percent right now,” Hyde said. “He’s doing well, he’s doing all the stuff on the back field, he’s just not quite 100 percent and with a hamstring you want to be 100 percent before we put him in live game action. So, until he’s there, and he’s very, very close, then I’ll put him out there.”
* Trey Mancini started at first base last night, collecting a two-run single, and will be the designated hitter tonight in Tampa.
“I’ve been playing these guys pretty much two out of three, if you noticed,” Hyde said. “Most of these guys have been playing back-to-back with a day off. We’ll continue that.
“I’m going to see how they feel this last week, try to catch up on at-bats, whoever needs more at-bats, but I feel like these guys are ready to go, I feel like their legs are underneath them. Now it’s about staying healthy and just getting quality work in this last week.
“I feel like a lot of these guys are really close.”
* Former Orioles pitcher David Hess was reassigned yesterday to the Rays minor league camp.
Hess had a rough spring, allowing 14 runs and 14 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three batters and surrendered five home runs.
The Yankees reassigned Asher Wojciechowski a day earlier after he allowed five earned runs (six total) and six hits with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Three former Orioles are opening day starters this year: Dylan Bundy (Angels), Kevin Gausman (Giants) and Eduardo Rodriguez (Red Sox).
There were rumblings about Steven Brault starting the first game for the Pirates, but he sustained a lat injury against the Orioles.
* Former Orioles manager Dave Trembley is back in the dugout after a recent stint as Braves farm director and minor league field coordinator.
Trembley was hired as manager of the Bristol State Liners in the new version of the Appalachian League, which is now a wooden bat amateur league for college freshman and sophomores.
The opportunity was presented to Trembley a few weeks ago. He wanted to get back in the game and teach young players.
Experience coaching and managing at many levels and a passion for the game made him a good match.
You can read more about it here.