Keegan Akin has a left adductor strain that requires a surgical procedure. He’s on the 10-day injured list, but could be moved to the 60-day if the club needs space on its 40-man roster.
“He’s piled up a ton of innings,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “and he’s going to have a procedure done in the core region that we want to get ahead of and have him ready in plenty of time for spring training.”
Akin was set to make two more starts if healthy. He leaves on a high note with one run allowed and six strikeouts over five innings Wednesday night against the Phillies.
The Orioles gave Akin 24 appearances, including 17 starts, and he went 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA and 1.579 WHIP in 95 innings. He didn’t break camp with them because of his command issues in exhibition games and later missed a chance at a promotion after cutting his finger in a kitchen accident. He also went on the COVID-19 list in July, but tossed six hitless innings against the Blue Jays in Game 2 of a Sept. 11 doubleheader.
“I thought Keegan had a rocky start, but improved over the course of the year,” Hyde said. “Credit to him is that he has been pitching with fatigue, the core thing was something he’s been dealing with for a while now and posted for us. Give him and our medical staff a ton of credit for getting him out there every fifth day for us.
“We feel like now is the right time to kind of shut him down and get him ready for next spring. But especially the last couple times he took the mound, I thought the off-speed stuff improved, especially after the first or second inning. I think he learned a lot this year, dealt with some adversity. It was more of a normal year than what he experienced last year. He was able to pitch against AL East teams as well as teams from outside our division and learn how hitters are going to react to his stuff, understand what he needs to improve on going into next year. So I think there’s a lot of positives from kind of an up and down season for him.”
Catcher Nick Ciuffo finally made it on the 28-man roster after serving on the taxi squad for multiple trips, including the most recent in Boston and Philadelphia.
Ciuffo signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Dec. 21 after appearing in 16 games with the Rays in 2018 and three in 2019 and going a combined 8-for-43 (.186) with one home run - a three-run shot off the Orioles’ Dylan Bundy on Sept. 7, 2018 at Tropicana Field.
“One, we’re very short with left-handed hitters,” Hyde said. “And two, (Ciuffo) has been here so much this year and caught a million bullpens and has been an ultimate team guy. To him not be activated ever this whole season, we all felt like the right thing to do was to put him on the roster and have him be officially part of the team for a while.”
The Orioles have used 60 players this summer, and Ciuffo and reliever Joey Krehbiel could push the total to 62.
Mike Baumann was optioned last night after throwing 70 2/3 innings in the minors and 10 with the Orioles. The club is being cautious after the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season and a strained flexor mass in his right arm that sidelined him again earlier this year.
“We felt like after last night’s game was the right time to shut him down, and happy with the progress he made this year. Finished the season healthy and get him ready for next spring,” Hyde said.
“It was fun to see him. I like the presence on the mound. I think it’s going to be a mid-90s fastball. As he got a little bit more comfortable, I thought you saw him throw a few more breaking balls. I like his pitch mix. Last night wasn’t his best night out that he had for us, but he’s going to be a guy who’s going to throw strikes and pound the zone and attack hitters. I like his aggressiveness. So we have high hopes for him.”
Hyde said it’s too early to know whether Baumann will compete for a rotation spot next spring.
Anthony Santander is out of the lineup for the third day in a row with a sore left hamstring. He worked out again this afternoon.
“You might see him tonight, hopefully,” Hyde said.
Zimmermann started Game 1 of Triple-A Norfolk’s doubleheader last night and allowed two runs and four hits in four innings, with no walks and six strikeouts. He could pop into the Orioles rotation next week.
“Good reports, some positive reports,” Hyde said. “He faced a pretty good Charlotte team with some big leaguers in there. You might be seeing him here shortly, too.”
“Side session (yesterday) checked out well and I haven’t heard any different,” Hyde said, “so as of right now, he’s starting tomorrow.”