Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb had a bullpen session in Sarasota, Fla., on Friday ahead of another extended spring start Monday, meaning he won’t make his debut with the major league club until at least April 14.
Cobb was optioned to the minors on Opening Day to get him more game action to build up his innings after he signed a four-year, $57 million deal in late March. And while he went five innings in a simulated game Wednesday, the Orioles mulled whether he needed to go beyond that before making a start in the majors.
Especially this week, manager Buck Showalter left his schedule unclear, with a major league debut on April 9 or 10 a possibility. Instead, Cobb will face the Minnesota Twins' extended spring training club at noon Monday at Ed Smith Stadium.
"I don't know if it's temptation," Showalter said. "We talk about it every time we talk — he's here for the long haul. I think rushing him back — heck, he may need another one. It may be another one after that. Listening to him talk, he wants to pitch for us yesterday. He knows when it's right. He said it's very close.
"You don't say, 'We're going to lean on you on this,' and then all of a sudden change it. You could probably push it and have him pitch on [April 9], but you might not like the long-term results on that one. It's like I told him today. He could come back on [April 14 or 15] and it's not going to be perfect every time out. He knows when it's right. He said it's close. I'm going to believe him."
The Orioles rotation has been up and down so far this season, with two good starts from Dylan Bundy, one good one in two tries from Andrew Cashner and a solid effort from Mike Wright Jr. Kevin Gausman had a poor season debut before pitching Friday, and Chris Tillman gets the chance to rebound from a rough season debut on Saturday.
For all the maneuvering it has taken to get to this point, though, Showalter said it won't be complicated once the time comes to activate him.
"Don't overthink this — when he's ready, he's coming," Showalter said. "It's as simple as that. When he says, 'I'm ready, let's go,' he's coming."
Givens trying to get on track
Following two scoreless appearances to open the season, reliever Mychal Givens has allowed runs in two straight games after giving up a run on two hits and a walk Thursday in a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees.
"Just trying to find his step to start the season," Showalter said. "A little quick. He's got a quick hip right now. He's got that turn, and sometimes, he gets like a ... Merry-Go-Round instead of a Ferris wheel, as Jim Palmer puts it well. He kind of gets side to side instead of down the hill. He'll be OK. But Mike knows there's cause and effect to everything. It's not like you just dial up, you go pitch that inning and you pitch that inning. There are some people in the other dugout who are trying to make it hard on you."
The Orioles used all three of their top relievers Thursday, with Darren O'Day recording four outs after Givens before Brad Brach clinched his first save of the season.
Trumbo on track
Showalter said designated hitter/outfielder Mark Trumbo homered in an extended spring game Thursday while playing first base, and his rehabilitation plan is mapped out until Monday before the team re-evaluates.
"He's going to play right field tomorrow," Showalter said. "He'll take Sunday off. He'll play Monday at first base, then we'll revisit what's next."
Showalter said Thursday that Trumbo would likely go on a rehab assignment with an affiliate, and both parties were going to be careful not to rush him back.
Around the horn
With right-hander Michael Kelly assigned to Double-A Bowie after he was outrighted on Thursday, top prospect Hunter Harvey will now likely be part of a six-man rotation to start the season there, Showalter said. Other starters on the roster include John Means, Keegan Akin, Christian Binford and Jordan Kipper. ... Showalter praised the performance of last year's third-round draft pick, Michael Baumann, in the season-opener for Low-A Delmarva. He struck out 10 in five innings.