Pitching changes can be expected throughout the summer

The type of transaction that sent Zac Lowther back to the alternate camp site yesterday would become a signature move for the Orioles except that a lot of other teams are going to claim ownership.

Roster churn is providing as much background noise as batting practice music. The Orioles aren’t a full month into their season and they’ve been cranking out transactions like disc jockey tunes.

There’s the necessity created by injuries, but also some deep-tissue massaging of the roster.

They could have kept Dean Kremer rather than option him for a bullpen arm, especially with a fifth starter needed, at the latest, one day before his eligibility to return. They could have stuck with Wade LeBlanc and rolled the dice that they wouldn’t need a long reliever the following day with ace John Means on the mound.

Flaa-Throws-Orange-ST-Sidebar.jpgThey could have kept Lowther, LeBlanc’s replacement, rather than optioning him yesterday and selecting Jay Flaa’s contract.

A rookie swap that again was based on the desire to have a fresh arm and avoid taxing some of their relievers.

Manager Brandon Hyde knows who’s truly available and who’s only making the claim. And he isn’t going to risk an injury.

Lowther is a starter and shouldn’t be expected to pitch on back-to-back days. Nor should the Orioles consider it with one of their top prospects. Whether he’s capable is irrelevant. There’s no reason to start messing with Lowther.

He was in Baltimore as long relief insurance and pitched only because the Orioles erupted for five runs in the eighth inning and gave him a soft landing spot.

Lowther could have treated it like a side session and made Wednesday’s start that likely goes to Kremer. But the Orioles aren’t ready to shove him in their rotation with no Triple-A experience - though they’re more inclined in 2021 to skip the highest level with some players - and they seem committed to Kremer despite optioning him under what they described as unique circumstances.

Flaa probably will go back to the alternate site as Wednesday’s corresponding move. When they make another pitching transaction.

Shawn Armstrong, Cole Sulser, Travis Lakins Sr., Mac Sceroler, Kremer, LeBlanc, Lowther, Flaa. Paternity leave, injuries and other reasons. Here today, gone tomorrow, waiting to come back.

There are a few more days left in April.

“We’re going to be using a lot of pitchers this year, and you look around, it’s pretty much league-wide right now of the amount of pitching transactions there are just to stay fresh,” Hyde said via Zoom, addressing the Flaa/Lowther exchange.

“Right now (in) our bullpen, a lot of these guys have pitched quite a bit the past week and to get a fresh arm up here was important. I see us using a lot of pitching from Triple-A this year and, yeah, it’s just going to be that kind of year.”

* Outfielder Ryan McKenna was optioned to the alternate site late last night. The Orioles are going to recall an infielder while Freddy Galvis is day-to-day with soreness in his left groin area.

The Orioles have a three-man bench. They can’t be down to two.

Pat Valaika and Richie Martin are the leading candidates because they play shortstop. I’ll guess Valaika. But I’m not working with inside information.

* Left-hander Josh Rogers started yesterday in an alternate site game against the Nationals in Bowie. He worked four innings and allowed two runs and three hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts.

Rogers underwent a second procedure on his left elbow in July 2019 and is trying to get back to the majors. He explained it to me last summer.

“They took a tendon from my right hamstring and they moved it to where the ligament in my elbow goes, but they also inserted an internal brace inside of my arm with the ligament through the bones,” said Rogers, who came to the Orioles in the 2018 deadline trade with the Yankees for closer Zack Britton. “I have the tendon from my hamstring in my arm and also an internal brace. It’s one of Dr. (Keith) Meister’s new things he’s been trying and we decided to go for it.”

Rogers was invited to spring training, labeled as one of the camp reserves. He appeared in one exhibition game and allowed a run in his only inning.

The Orioles lost 5-3 for the first time yesterday to the Nationals in the last game played at Prince George’s Stadium until the Double-A season begins. Austin Wynns, Rylan Bannon and Seth Mejias-Brean had the only hits.

* Should a pitcher be credited with a no-hitter if it happens in a doubleheader that lasts only seven innings?

Diamondbacks left-hander Madison Bumgarner created the debate Sunday in Game 2 against the Braves.

Major League Baseball has credited Bumgarner with a complete-game shutout. That’s all.

Where does Hyde cast his vote?

“Spicy question there,” he said. “I’m going to go no-hitter. It’s a complete game, it’s a shutout? Then it’s a no-hitter for me.”

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