Left-hander Keegan Akin is starting Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the Rays at Tropicana Field, the last road game before the Orioles enjoy an off-day and then host the Nationals over the weekend.
Akin is 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA and 1.800 WHIP in 13 games, including eight starts. He faced the Royals on Friday and allowed six runs and eight hits with three walks in three innings.
Thomas Eshelman stays in the bullpen for long relief.
“Tough decision,” manager Brandon Hyde said on his Zoom call. “Love the way Ryan McKenna was playing. Hopefully, we’ll see him back up here soon because he’s really helped us in a lot of ways. The offensive numbers might not stand out, but I think he’s been taking really good at-bats in inconsistent playing time. Love the defense that he gives us, the baserunning he showed in Kansas City, the speed he has on the bases. He’s becoming a good baseball player.
“I talked to him for a while this afternoon just because I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen since he’s been here. I love the competitiveness in his at-bats, he’s gotten some big hits for us and the defense is really good. So, it was a touch decision, but pitching-wise we’ve got Means going tonight that is coming back off a rehab, so he’s going to be not normal in length. Keegan Akin tomorrow that, we’ll see how far Keegan can go, as well. Just the way our rotation is right now, we feel like we could use an extra arm in the bullpen.”
The Orioles also are more comfortable sending down McKenna because the health of the other outfielders has “rapidly improved” the last couple of weeks, Hyde said. They want McKenna playing more often in Triple-A and staying ready in case he’s needed again.
“It wasn’t fun sending him down,” Hyde said.
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Austin Hays LF
Trey Mancini 1B
Ryan Mountcastle DH
Anthony Santander RF
Ramón Urías SS
Pedro Severino C
Pat Valaika 2B
Kelvin Gutierrez 3B
John Means LHP
Shortstop Freddy Galvis and reliever Hunter Harvey are rehabbing and working out in Sarasota, Fla. Galvis is expected to begin receiving live game reps next week. The Orioles are aiming for late July or early August rehab games for Harvey.
Third baseman Maikel Franco informed the Orioles that his right ankle felt good after today’s rehab game with the Florida Complex League “orange” team. He had three plate appearances, drawing a walk and hitting a sacrifice fly.
The Rays haven’t listed their Wednesday starter but it’s expected to be Michael Wacha unless they call up a pitcher.